Hotel Review – The Lenox, Boston, USA
The Lenox Hotel has one of the best locations in Boston, on the corner of Exeter and Boylston Streets in Back Bay. Shopping, dining and many of the main attractions of this beautiful city are walking distance. In fact, Boston is a very walkable city, with everything within cooee.
The elegant Lenox was built in 1900 by the owner of the legendary Waldorf Astoria in New York, Lucius Boomer. When it was built it was the tallest building in the city and was named after the wife of King George 111, Lady Sarah Lennox. It is classically beautiful, built in a Beaux Art style, and attracted a host of celebrity guests with the most notable being Judy Garland, who lived at the hotel for three months in 1965. The hotel paid homage to her by creating the opulent Judy Garland Suite.
Lucius Boomer introduced a host of ‘firsts’ in the hotel business world including the six-day work week, a floor reserved for women guests, a floor with Spanish-speaking clerks and maids to cater to guests from Latin America, and the employment of women as front desk receptionists and clerks. Boomer later built the 42- story, 2,200 room Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in 1931, the Bellevue Stratford in Philadelphia, the Willard in Washington, the Windsor in Montreal and the Sherry-Netherland in New York.
In 1907, Italian tenor Enrico Caruso made world headlines when he pulled up alongside The Lenox Hotel on a public rail in his private, plush railroad car. The Lenox housed U.S. Navy personnel during World War II. The legendary coach of the Boston Celtics, Red Auerbach, lived at the hotel for 13 years and was known for his poker games.
The Lenox has also had a very long history with the Boston Marathon, going back to 1901. That was the first year photographs of the marathon were taken – line drawings were used in previous years. The hotel is the heart of the famous race, with the finish line just metres away. You can see the line all year round as it is painted right across Boylston Street. Being so close, the hotel was front and centre in the aftermath of the tragic bombings at the finish line in 2013, with emergency service personnel and investigators using it as a base.
Parts of the Boston Strangler movie, starring Tony Curtis, were filmed here and in an interesting aside, close-ups of the hands of the ‘strangler’ actually belonged to the hotel’s sales manager! In 1970, Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw stayed at the hotel while filming the tear-jerker Love Story.
The property was purchased by the Saunders Hotel Group in 1963 and worked over the next decade to restore all 214 rooms and the facade.
The property has had a recent $50 million renovation which further enhanced the elegance of the property as well as boosting its position as a global pioneer in luxurious urban ecotourism. The Saunders Hotel Group was the first to introduce the idea of guests choosing to save water and electricity by not receiving clean towels every day.
Rooms and interiors
The hotel oozes style from the moment the beautifully-uniformed doormen welcome us through the revolving door into the charming foyer. This area is quite beautiful and is not of a cavernous nature – more like a welcome to a very stylish home. There is a fireplace with some comfortable lounges and armchairs for those times you are waiting for other people in your party, a concierge desk to help with information on the many activities and things to do around Boston, and the reception desk.
We are in an Executive Corner Fireplace Room and love its high ceilings, vintage crystal chandelier, the amount of space, and the views from the windows overlooking the Back Bay neighbourhood. And yes, the fireplace is fantastic. A simple call to housekeeping had the chief fire lighter bounding into our suite within minutes, with all the accouterments he needed to make like Survivor and start a fire. Such a treat.
The room has a large desk for that work I don’t get quite to and a huge TV, which I do find time for. The bedding is beautiful and sleep is not a problem in the pillow-top king-size bed.
The mini bar contains several recycled water bottles that are perfect to take around town with you. These bottles have been made by JUST Water, and are made from sustainably sourced paper and sugarcane product, and has a small carbon footprint – it results in 74 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a traditional plastic bottle. You can refill them from the water jugs in the hallway – just one of the environmentally friendly practices the hotel adheres to. We love the complimentary copy of the Boston Globe every morning (we could have chosen something else but hey, we are in Boston and it is the BOSTON GLOBE)!
The bathroom is roomy and offers luxury Beekman 1802 amenities.
The nightly turndown service comes with a little sweet treat, and should we have wanted to indulge, 24-hour room service was available.
The hotel has several options for dining or drinking in-house. As we arrive in late on our first night, we duck into City Bar off the foyer for a drink and a casual dinner. The bar has a lovely ambience and the menu is overflowing with choices for tired travellers. The cocktail list is impressive too and I find a lovely sauvignon blanc that completes my meal. For a bigger experience, head next door to Sólás, a more upmarket take on an Irish pub but just as much fun. The City Table restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
There are so many things to love about The Lenox but the one that I love is that it has what must be the perfect location in the city. I have to admit that I am not really a lover of walking but walk out the front door here and you are ensconced in the best of Boston. We stroll up Boylston and back down Newbury Street with its incredible shopping and gorgeous brownstones. We walk up through Boston Common and sign up for a walking tour that takes in the sights of the Freedom Trail. We walk up past the Fens with its fantastic neighbourhood gardens lovingly tended by locals and then head into the famous Fenway Park for a tour of what is arguably the most famous baseball field in America. We walk along the harbour, through the impressive Boston Greenway and explore the new Boston Public Market and the historic Quincy Market near Faneuil Hall. It is so easy to walk. Everywhere. And when we walk back towards our home away from home, the friendly doormen are on hand with a smile to usher us inside.
What I loved
What didn’t I love! I loved everything about the Lenox and everything about Boston.
You might also like to read: