My first trip to Boston coincided with my first summer in New York; I was 22 and new to the Northeast and took the Chinatown bus over to Massachusetts to visit friends. We did all the things you’re supposed to do when in Boston: the Freedom Trail, Fenway Park, Bunker Hill, the Harvard campus. And then I returned to gritty New York and wondered if I’d made a mistake: Was Boston where I was supposed to live? It was so clean, so manageable, so nice.
In the decade and change since that inaugural visit, I’ve been back to Boston a handful of times, usually in 48-hour chunks here and there. This past visit was no different; SVV and I chose to head up to Massachusetts the second the weather warmed and the Northeast would (hopefully) be in bloom. While we would have liked to have stayed longer, the city was indeed welcoming its first days of spring, in addition to preparing for something much bigger than our arrival just days later: the Boston Marathon.
Where to Stay in Boston
And as the Fairmont Copley Plaza is the official marathon hotel, we got a preview of the action just days before the runners arrived. Let me just say that if this is the type of place that runners get to stay before and after a race, then I clearly need to get back into distance running!
From the moment we were dropped off in Back Bay at the hotel’s front entrance where the canine ambassador Carly greeted us—she’s kind of a big deal—and the bellhop rolled our bags through Peacock Alley, I was reminded of why I’ve always been drawn to Fairmont properties.
I love me a proper hotel; bonus if it’s a Fairmont!
We arrived to find our room overlooked Copley Plaza, a fascinating network of crisscrossing businessmen, fitness buffs, tourists and hipsters. The Fairmont’s confluence of modern art and accents from the gilded age makes it attractive to both those who crave luxury, as well as seasoned travelers like us who desire something unique in a hotel. Plus, it’s got a century’s worth of history to boot, having first opened its doors in 1912.
Checking out the Fairmont Gold lounge
We stayed on the Fairmont Gold level, which is always my favorite way to stay at any Fairmont with its private lounge boasting free nibbles daily and an honor bar so you can fill your glass with whatever booze your heart desires without having to venture downstairs to the bar (though we did make that trip several times, as well). In the Gold lounge, there’s also a pretty extensive morning breakfast spread, which came in handy on our final day when we had an early train departing for New York.
Eating our way through the Fairmont Copley Plaza
Downstairs, there’s the OAK Long Bar + Kitchen with its kicking happy hour nightly that’s brimming with off-duty executives and hotel guests alike, all served by the bespoke bartenders, who are some of the best at their craft, whipping up unique drinks like the Smoked Chai Manhattan at the ready. For the road warriors who are more dedicated to working out while traveling than I am, there’s also a rooftop fitness facility, though I can’t say that I stepped foot inside of it—too few days, too many drinks to try at OAK instead!
Exploring Boston beyond the hotel
Yes, the Fairmont Copley Plaza was one of those places where we found it hard to draw ourselves out of the hotel confines, but eventually we did because a gorgeous 85-degree spring day in Boston awaited us.
Looking for more Boston travel tips? Start here:
- Planning a Girls’ Trip to Boston
- A Couple’s Guide to a Weekend in Boston
- One Day in Boston: A Cruiser’s Guide