For several years I have stayed at the FCP between Christmas and New Year's. Although I missed last year (2011) I was psyched to return this year (Dec. 2012) because of the hotel's top-to-bottom refurbishment.
The refurbishment, in my view, has taken away the stuffy old-Boston charm of the rooms (the rich blues, the striped fabrics) and replaced it with generic hotel-beige. I think the designer might have been striving for "spa-like, soothing neutrals," and perhaps this has been achieved--at the expense of the Copley's soul.
But the real knife-in-the heart renos are in the public spaces. Gone are the Oak Bar and the Oak Room. In their places is one cavernous room, stripped of the dark, clubby, romance of the old oak rooms. In this garishly lit cafeteria-sized behemoth are small tables with canvas director's chairs. Think seaside resort. Think California casual. Think Automat. Think anything you want--except "real Boston." The only remaining scrap of former glory is the "Library," which has been re-fitted with more chairs and is no longer the oasis within an oasis it had been.
I stay on the Gold Floor, which has also changed. The complimentary breakfast and appetizers are great as always, as is in the honor bar. And the sitting room is comfy as ever (though also fallen victim to the dreaded beige). But the special touches are gone. At the honor bar there is no longer a snack mix to enjoy with your drink. I was actually looking forward to sitting down with my martini and a small bowl of this addictive treat. No such luck. A small corner to cut--but one that folks like me really miss. Also gone are the terry slippers, which came in very handy during previous stays. It's the Gold Floor, for goodness sake! Keep the slippers! Finally, in the room there are no longer assorted magazines (just a glossy for the Fairmont chain) or tiny Italian hard candies. What all of this tells me is that the guest is not at the center of the FCP/Gold Floor experience any more--a few pennies extra profit is.
Having said all of this, I will be back. The staff is wonderful, and the Copley holds too many wonderful memories for me to just abandon it. But visitors to the city of Boston looking to wallow in the Boston-ness of it all have lost a treasured place to do that.