Legacy and Artistry at The Newbury Boston
By Emme Martin
Beneath the warm summer sun, Boston’s Back Bay awakens with its unique charm. As historic brownstones stand alongside Parisian-inspired townhomes, they offer glimpses into the city’s vibrant past. Strolling along cobblestone pathways, the distant hum of the T subway blends with the city’s energy, capturing Boston’s blend of tranquility and liveliness. The presence of Tiffany & Co. neighboring The Newbury Boston hotel adds an enduring touch of elegance. Drawn into The Newbury Boston for a night in June, I eagerly drank in the essence of Boston.
The moment I stepped into The Newbury Boston, I was embraced by a harmonious fusion of classic sophistication and modern elegance. Chandeliers cast a timeless glow, contrasting with the Nero Dorato marble floors. However, it was the subtle scent of birchwood that captivated my senses—a signal of the luxury awaiting. When I examined the chandelier, a creation by Andreea Braescu, its intricate details revealed a masterpiece. I later discovered its design was inspired by the ginkgo biloba tree, a symbol of the Boston Public Garden.
As I strolled through the opulent lobby, welcoming smiles greeted me. Hallmarks of the staff throughout my stay included a warm demeanor and assurance that my needs were important. Guided by Highgate and a member of The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), The Newbury Boston embodies refined luxury. Since its opening in 2018, The Newbury Boston has proudly been a member of LHW, reflecting the brand’s dedication to distinct design, enriching art, and culinary delights. Joining LHW signifies a commitment to excellence and uniqueness, with hotels meticulously evaluated on numerous criteria to ensure guest comfort and distinctive experiences. This alignment with LHW’s values ensures that The Newbury Boston continually offers a one-of-a-kind, luxurious guest experience.
The property’s legacy dates back to its time as the Ritz-Carlton in 1927, hosting guests ranging from world leaders to intrepid explorers. Its evolution from the forty-dollar suites of the Twenties to today’s refined accommodations reflects changing times and underscores the hotel’s dedication to upholding its storied heritage.
At the core of The Newbury Boston’s allure are visionary designers who breathed new life into its essence: Jeffrey Beers, Alexandra Champalimaud, and Ken Fulk. Their brilliance is unmistakable—each infused the hotel with vitality and left distinct imprints. Beers, celebrated for innovative glass designs and modern sensibilities, shaped the transformation of the property with this seamless melding of architecture and emotion. Champalimaud, a globally acclaimed designer, instilled character and tranquility into the guestrooms and suites. Meanwhile, Fulk, renowned for creative dynamism, reimagined the hotel with a fresh and invigorating perspective.
The Newbury Boston embodies refined luxury.
Delving deeper into The Newbury Boston’s charm, its art collection, curated by Mike Carroll and Lynne Kortenhaus, stands out. Inspired by Europe’s historic salons—hubs of vibrant discourse and artistic collaboration—the property immerses guests in an ambience rich with creative expression. Its common spaces showcase a mix of budding talents and esteemed artists, each pioneering in their techniques. For instance, photographs like All the Things and Letterfrack by Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn adorn the side entrance. Artwork is positioned with intent: Letterfrack, capturing a man embarking on a journey, sits near the exit, hinting at the adventures awaiting guests in Boston.
When you peel back the layers of the collection, its thoughtful diversity shines through, featuring sculptures, paintings, photographs, and other cutting-edge mediums, all designed to evoke a rich dialogue between guests. Among the standout pieces are portraits of cultural icons by celebrated photographer Yousuf Karsh. In a generous move, these evocative, beautifully captured photographs were a cherished gift from his estate, now seeing the light of day outside museums or private collections for the first time.
Adding to the hotel’s allure is a tranquil library nestled adjacent to the lobby. I came across one of my favorite art pieces, a striking wood-and-fabric neck mount named Sienna by Breon Dunigan, elegantly presiding over the fireplace. The mantle is encircled by a curated collection of books, cozy desks, and a snack bar, inspiring guests to immerse themselves in literature or find a moment of reprieve.
After appreciating the artistic narratives of The Newbury Boston, I briefly settled into my corner room. However, the rest of the hotel beckoned. Prompted by curiosity, I headed out again to discover more of what the establishment had to offer.
Crafted precisely by the renowned Champalimaud Design, The Newbury Boston’s suites merge the warmth of home with enduring elegance. Each of the 286 guestrooms bathes in a serene palette of blues, grays, and creams, fostering serenity. Handcrafted wood, chic herringbone patterns, and marble flourishes anchor the design, infusing modern flair into the classic Bostonian style. The spacious layout, punctuated with window nooks overlooking the Public Garden, prompts a deep sigh of relief. Original artwork by Veronica Lawlor adorns the walls, while bespoke amenities, including Byredo Willow bath products and private access to The Library and Fitness Center, elevate the experience.
Guests can choose from the city’s most extensive collection of ninety luxury suites, with the added allure of forty-two fireplace suites for those seeking a cozy winter retreat and two presidential suites for an unforgettable stay. For an extra touch of indulgence, guests can request a dedicated fireplace butler, offering a selection of thoughtfully curated wood. From the quick-burning and warming birch to the long-burning and fragrant cherry, the lightly scented oak, or the classic New England maple, each wood brings its unique charm to the fireside experience.
Leaving my suite, I headed to the exquisite Mansion Suite for a refined afternoon tea. Notably, guests can also enjoy this service in their rooms—the epitome of sophistication and leisure. The in-suite afternoon tea boasts Jenwey Tea paired with dainty finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and springtime-inspired desserts—an ideal intermission before my Public Garden tour.
Tour of Boston Public Garden
In partnership with The Newbury Boston, the Boston Public Garden tour is a must. Under the guidance of Bridgett, a passionate member of the Friends of the Public Garden, we immersed ourselves in the lush beauty of the country’s first botanical garden. Bridgett masterfully recounted its inception in 1837 and how the park has preserved its initial design, envisioned by the then-twenty-six-year-old George Meacham. His winning entry in a blind competition boasted elegantly curved pathways, a tranquil pond, and carefully plotted flower beds. The tour delves into renowned landmarks, such as the George Washington statue, while highlighting the garden’s curated specimen trees imported from Europe and Asia, featuring species like oak, maple, beech, and ginkgo. The enchanting swan boats and beloved Make Way for Ducklings sculpture lend a fairy-tale feel to the garden. As a drizzle began, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up, eagerly anticipating the evening offerings of The Newbury Boston.
The Street Bar
Around The Street Bar table, a cherished rendezvous for locals and travelers alike, we enjoyed an ambience marrying luxury and comfort. Sipping the Public Garden Spritz, a nod to our earlier garden visit, I was pleased to know that part of its proceeds benefit the Friends of the Public Garden. The bar’s environment bridges eras and encourages spirited conversations. With classic leather barstools, a fireplace, and dark wood accents, the bar exudes the allure of the 1920s. Soft lighting casts an inviting glow, and The Newbury Boston’s artful curation again shines in the creative details and decor.
Collaborating with Boston’s own Ken Fulk, the restaurant Contessa effortlessly blends luxury and comfort, sophistication and modernity, all set against the enchanting backdrop of the Public Garden. As I settled into the elegant eatery, I was naturally drawn to its centerpiece—a stunning marble bar perfectly capturing the city’s cosmopolitan character. This bar exudes timelessness and stands as a central hub where Boston’s vibrant cocktail culture comes to life.
At Contessa, the culinary journey is guided by the vision of Chef Mario Carbone, a master in his craft. Every dish, from the captivating squash carpaccio to the tantalizing spicy lobster capellini, is an exquisite creation that pays homage to Italian flavors while embracing innovative twists. The restaurant goes beyond ordinary dining; it’s a pathway to uncovering Boston’s dynamic culinary heritage.
As the evening unfolded and we savored espresso martinis, the allure of The Newbury Boston continued to beckon, leading me to a final nightcap at The Street Bar. When I wandered back to my room, I discovered The Newbury Boston excels even in its turndown service, attending to every detail with the utmost care, including a premium bottle of Hot Toddy. It’s these thoughtful touches that contribute to the overall enjoyment of any stay here, making each moment a memorable one.
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The Leading Hotels of the World is a meticulously curated assemblage of distinctive, independent luxury hotels comprising over four hundred establishments in over eighty countries. Rooted in a legacy established by pioneering Europeans in 1928, the brand’s present-day operation remains in the hands of dedicated hoteliers. With an unwavering mission to unite independent hoteliers and inquisitive travelers, LHW embodies the essence of each destination, boasting diverse architectural styles, captivating designs, and cultural experiences elevated by passionate individuals. Notably, 85 percent of these establishments are family-owned, often spanning multiple generations. The brand adds approximately thirty new members annually, introducing exciting new openings across the globe, from Dallas to São Paulo.