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Taj Boston
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Reviewed March 5, 2010

Just returned from a stay at the Taj....a great hotel to stay at!!..Great location..one block from subway(green line) which will take you most everywhere..also across from Boston Common and a short walk to Chinatown and a movie theatre. The rooms are top notch....very nice bed and TV...elegant room and bathroom...size of room is quite nice.
Nice exercise room and room for free computer use!!!
Would return again for sure!!!!

Stayed: March 2010, traveled on business
1  Thank sak01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2010

Last week I completed a 28 year pilgrimage to 17 Arlington Street which certainly remains one of Boston's most esteemed addresses today. Overlooking the Public Garden and Boston Common, this hotel remains the very foundation for luxury hotels in America and around the world. To learn more about this legendary hotel, visit http://corporate.ritzcarlton.com/en/About/OurHistory.htm.

My last visit to the “then” Ritz Carlton was February 1982 when I was transferred by my company to the west coast and I had no opportunity to return to Bean Town until after the Big Dig was completed.

My personal acquaintance with this hotel began in the fall of 1976 when I treated myself to supper in "The Cafe" as a reward for having recently graduated from college and arrived in Boston to begin my professional career. Here I was welcomed and treated as a “Gentleman” and over the next few years I continued the tradition of having supper on Friday evenings in The Cafe.

After a few weeks I am certain curiosity got the best of the hotel manager and he was curious as to why a scrawny kid was having dinner in his restaurant. Certainly I did not fit the mold as to who was a Ritz Carlton guest. It was certainly evident I did not earn my money the old fashioned way, by inheriting it. Finally one evening the hotel manager approached my table; he introduced himself and welcomed me to his hotel. As it turned Mr. Bennett, the General Manager, grew up not more than thirty miles from where I spent my youth and we had attended the same college, and needless to say, we developed a bond and from that point on I was a “somebody” when I entered the Ritz and Mr. Bennett knew how to put on the Ritz.

James V. Bennett was the quintessential hotelier of his day. He lived and breathed ever y moment of his waking hours in this hotel. After all, he lived in an apartment on top of the hotel and could be seen at any time visiting with staff and inspecting the hotel. Jim always appeared in a smartly tailored Brooks Brothers suit, a fresh boutonniere in his lapel, a crisp white shirt, conservative silk tie, shined shoes, and manicured hands warmly and genuinely greeted his guests by name. In those rare times

Mr. Bennett was assisted by the impeccably coiffured Miss. Eleanor O'Niel who knew the likes and dislikes of every hotel guest and had their preferences and personal telephone number committed to her memory. Eleanor’s sister, Ruth, just happened to Mr. Yawkey’s secretary, owner of the Boston Red Sox. While Jim and Eleanor were conservative and formal, Ruth was at the other end of the spectrum, full of spirit and knew every statistic of every Red Sox ball player in her day by heart. She referred to the ball players as her “boys”.

For the sake of disclosure, I became a regular to The Café and often I was invited to join Mr. Bennett, Eleanor and Ruth O’Niel for Friday supper. On occasion during the summer months Ruth would reach into her handbag and ask me if I could make use of some tickets, tickets that just happened to be along the third base line at the legendary Fenway Park. But I can assure you these tickets did not sway my opinion of this hotel.

In those early days of my love affair with this grand hotel, one could not help notice nearly every staff member wore a pair of white gloves and the elevators were operated by staff. The elevators had little needlepoint upholstered benches so “Ladies” could be comfortable while traveling in the elevators. Fresh flowers were ever present, the brass and marble floors were highly polished and one could use either as a mirror.

The table linens were crisp, tables immaculately set, and silver sparkled as if you were the first person to ever touch the flatware. The menus were professionally printed daily. And when you paid your hand-calligraphied guest check or room bill, your change was always new crisp, clean uncirculated bills and coinage.

Back then the food was classic French, paying homage to the founder of Ritz Hotels, the incomparable Cesar Ritz and his business partner, legendary Chef Auguste Escoffier. One lesson Mr. Bennett instilled in me was his basic rule of quality,”You can judge a hotel by its croissants at breakfast and the pate at dinner.” It took some time; but, I now know what he meant and that rule remains applicable in my book.

So what was different 28 year later? Not much.

As I noted, I had not been back into this hotel for over two decades. I was aware the hotel had been closed and totally renovated. The heads at Marriott Hotels, made the decision to open a new shinny glass and more contemporary Ritz Carlton on the opposite side of the Boston Commons, in the middle of what was once known as the “Combat Zone”, a rather unsavory area in Boston for many years. For several years both Ritz’s co-existed.

Then a couple of years ago India based Taj Hotels expanded into America with the purchase of 17 Arlington Street. The lions head and cobalt blue entrusted to Ritz Carlton’s identity was erased. Ironically, the Taj Hotel Boston remains true to the original Ritz Carlton ideals, even more so than today’s Ritz Carlton Hotels. Call me old fashioned; but, I really enjoy the standards and traditions of elegant older hotels than many of today’s superficial polished chrome and glass hotels.

The Taj Hotel Boston remains a wonderful experience. Times and economics have forced change upon this Grande Dame, just like every other hotel in America and most of the world, but at this hotel it was not very distinguishable.

I was saddened to discover the regal “Dining Room” on the second floor was now used as a ballroom. I understand dining requirements have changed along with demand; but, nevertheless, generations will never have the experience of servers in white ties and tails swirling around this elegant space capped off with its sparkling crystal chandeliers with cobalt blue decorations. As sad as it was to see this space no longer used for dinner, I was delighted to see the elegance of afternoon tea in “The Lounge” remains to this day. If one is not staying at the Taj, one should make every effort to indulge in afternoon tea.

The accommodations were lovely. Though renovated just several years ago, the treatment reminded me of my stays back in the 1980’s. The crystal chandeliers in the corridors sparkled. The Frette bed linens and terrycloth bath lines were scrumptious. There was certainly no cutback or savings when it came to all the amenities offered in the bathroom. Even small packets of Woolite were on hand in case you needed to hand-launder your “delicates” in the privacy of your room.

Turn down was wonderful, complete with a linen floor mat so your bare feet did not have to touch the deep pile carpet before slipping into your Taj terrycloth slippers. The housekeepers were elegantly attired in classic black dresses with crisp white aprons. Even the housekeepers dressed for evening at this hotel.

The only concern I would address is the lack of attentiveness of the staff in “The Bar”. To be greeted at the door, seated and then forgotten, is not what Cesar Ritz or Jim Bennett would have ever tolerated. And I did not like, as well.

The bottom line is simply this, at least once in your life you should treat yourself to a stay at the Taj Hotel Boston. I dare say you might want to experience this classic hotel sooner than later so that you can be a more informed judge as to what quality and service represents in a luxury hotel.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled on business
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3  Thank RealTimeTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2010

This used to be the original Ritz Carlton and since it underwent a major renovation before the transfer, nothing has been changed. I enjoyed the decor, but there were many little workings that made the hotel strange. For example, the main restroom for the hotel was in the basement. You went through a room keyed door, which basically brought you into a closet where you went into the actual bathroom. Very poorly planned and odd. I felt like I could be murdered and no one would know. The dining areas had an unfinished feel to them. What I mean by that is it seems that they just put a couple guest rooms together and hailed it "The Lounge" or "The Cafe." Anyway, the lobby and majority of common areas were sparkling clean and appealing. The room itself was in great shape. The armoire consisted of a large flat screen TV and well-stocked mini-bar. There were lots of little touches and everything was monogrammed. Parts of the room and hotel are showing its age, but that's what makes historic hotels charming and it does not bother me. The closet in the entryway to the room was a little strange. It had a keyed bolt, which made no sense at all. So I could actually go in the closet and lock myself in. Panic room? I was surprised that the windows opened all the way. If I had been depressed I could have made a complete nose dive onto Newbury Street. Thankfully I was in high spirits. The bathroom was tiny and the door would not stay open unless you held it still. Molton Brown toiletries were appreciated, but the shower itself was a disaster since an inexpensive shower curtain was used... So as soon as you turned on the shower it blew in and wrapped itself around me the entire time. It was almost like wearing a giant ribbed condom in the shower. The room service attendants were polite and content. Housekeeping made a trip up during our dinner service, turned our bed, added chocolates and bottled water on the nightstands, which is a common occurrence in most hotels anyway. The doormen were disambiguated. Only one was pleasant, but as our experience with the elderly server in The Cafe, the older ones would not look or talk to us and acted completely aloof. Hello, you are a doorman! Nice facilities, but not what I expected, so not likely I would stay again. Great location on Newbury Street though. Boston Common and the Public Garden is across the street, Boylston is one block and Beacon Hill is two.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank dba80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2010

i recently stayed at the Taj located on newbury street and loved it! from the moment we pulled up and were greeted by the vallet attendents to the looby staff and maids, the glits and glammer was all over, it cathes your eye. the hotel is big with only 15 floors and a roof-top garden, a beautiful state of the art fitness center and a Chanel store located in the lobby!! the rooms were nice too with a HUGE bathroom and great beds. overalll. the hotel was Suberb and Serine

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank summerloved
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2009

rooms are very clean, nice bedding, friendly staff, great location. no coffee maker in the room, valet parking is $42 for overnight.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank pcjunky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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