Bordering the iconic Boston Public Garden is the Newbury: a stalwart Bostonian building (formerly the Taj Boston) whose sweeping staircase twists up to residential-style rooms and suites, furnished in light woods, dressed in soothing creams and herringbone details, and with walls featuring artwork from some of America’s iconic creators – though your eyes will likely be drawn towards those views over the oldest public park in the country. The speakeasy-style Street Bar, the glass-enclosed Contessa rooftop, and the intimate Library keep things sociable inside, and outside you’ve got the brownstone boutiques, bistros and art galleries of Newbury Street to entice you.
Double rooms from £672.16 ($811), including tax at 16.45 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $35.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates don’t include breakfast, but you can choose to order it at the Street Bar, Contessa rooftop or to your room. Bostonian breakfast dishes include blueberry pancakes; lobster benedict; and thick-cut challah French toast.
A particularly high-calibre triad of designers were involved in the 2021 renovation: public spaces are by Jeffrey Beers; rooms and suites by Alexandra Champalimaud; and the Contessa restaurant by Ken Fulk. The original bones of the hotel – which was once The Ritz, and then The Taj Boston – including marble columns, grand staircases and cosy fireplaces, have been matched with leather and velvet furniture in rich tones, dark wood flooring and paneled walls. A warm palette has been used throughout the residential-style rooms.
At the hotel
Street Bar, Contessa rooftop restaurant, Library, Salon (for afternoon tea), 24-hour gym, parking. In rooms: WiFi, TV, Nespresso machine, robes and slippers, custom Byredo toiletries. Rooms either have park views or overlook the streets of Back Bay. Some rooms (40 in total) have wood-burning fireplaces (attended to by, well, an attendant) and a menu of wood options with different scents.
Our favourite rooms
For more space, go for the Park View King room – plus, that iconic public garden and downtown view. It’s hard not to be wowed by the Mansion: a huge 15th-floor suite with panoramic views, walk-in closet, powder room, butler’s pantry, and dining room for six. The white marble bathroom has a rainforest shower and deep soaking tub with a bamboo shelf and slots for books – plus premium bath salts and pumice stones.
You certainly need not pack any books: the library is fully stocked with literary reads curated by the Boston Public Library, and you’ll find a copy of Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings in your room. You can even bring the narrative to life with a themed afternoon tea in the hotel’s Salon: a delicate feast of scones and finger sandwiches overlooking the treetops and boutiques of Newbury Street.
There are 12 ADA compliant guest rooms available throughout the hotel, across a range of room categories.
You can bring a maximum of two dogs per room – all that’s required is a $100 cleaning fee per stay. Local dog walking or sitting services and available, just ask the concierge. See more pet-friendly hotels in Boston.
The hotel has connecting rooms that are great for families, and kids will be given their own robes. A kids menu is available – as is a diaper genie, microwave and small fridge. A rollaway or crib can be added to rooms; just let the hotel know in advance.
The Newbury Boston is part of EarthCheck’s sustainable certification program. The hotel works hard to conserve water, recycle where possible, use energy efficient lighting and reduce the use of plastic. They partner with Clean the World and use sustainable and locally sourced ingredients wherever possible, even creating a home for 12 apiaries of bees to pollinate the area – this honey is used in dishes served in the hotel’s restaurants.
Easy: the blush velvet banquette right in the corner of the L-shaped restaurant – among the bustle, and with room for six.
The building may have once housed the Ritz, but these days it’s far less formal. The restaurant is a flurry of elegant unflashiness and chastened chic.
The sultry, glass-wrapped rooftop of Contessa serves classic trattoria cuisine: burrata, truffle-dotted beef carpaccio, squash carpaccio, braised veal and octopus agrodolce. Brunch is a big affair: panettone french toast, carbonara scramble and smoked salmon carpaccio are to be expected. Don’t miss the crema di Boston – a cream pie bomboloni – for dessert. Cocktails hark back to the 1920s: spritz, vesper, negroni and bellinis are familiar names, or try the Boston sour – whisky and egg-white martini topped with lambrusco. The space has a retractable roof, making it open-air in summer and a sky-scraping snow-globe in winter. The marble bar, fringed lamps and teal accents were inspired by old-world Europe but the setting is all Boston: high above Back Bay’s sun-soaked streets.
Locals already flock to speakeasy-style Street Bar: a heritage-filled haunt with an expansive list of martinis, shaken and/or stirred. Try a Harvard, Alaska, Singapore Sling, Bobby Burns or Hanky Panky, and make sure to line your stomach with the locally-inspired, high-end bar snacks available. The storied all-day menu features spicy pink lobster chowder, devilled eggs, oysters, and of course: a lobster roll. It’s available 11.30am–9pm, extended on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with a late-night menu until 11.30pm. Drinks are served until 10pm throughout the week; until 12 am Thursday–Saturday.
Breakfast is served until 11am in both restaurants. Grab lunch at Contessa from 11.30am–2.30pm; dinner 5–10pm; or brunch (Saturdays and Sundays only) 10am–3pm.
Room service is available around the clock, with a specially-selected menu of the most suitable under-duvet dishes chosen from Street Bar and Contessa.
The Newbury straddles some of the city’s ritziest addresses in the historic shopping district of Boston’s Back Bay.
Touch down at Boston Logan International Airport, a 10-minute drive from the hotel (traffic dependent). American Airlines, British Airways, Delta and Virgin Atlantic arrive into Boston every day from the UK and most large US airports.
You’ll hear locals refer to the affectionately shortened ‘T’ – Boston’s subway system. The closest stations to the hotel are Arlington (green line), Park Street (red line), and Back Bay (orange line). It makes sense to buy a CharlieCard even for short stays: load a seven-day LinkPass ($19) for unlimited travel on the service. For longer-distance US travel head to South Station, an 18-minute walk from the hotel. You’ll find links to New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia.
Driving isn’t advisable here – finding your way is challenging – but the city is very walkable, and easily accessible by subway, too.
Worth getting out of bed for
Step straight out to Newbury Street: home to art galleries, alfresco cafés and ice cream parlours (J.P. Licks is a local favourite). Just a few blocks away are some of Boston’s loveliest Victorian brownstone and red-brick addresses, and you can easily walk to the start of the historic Freedom Trail, too. The path connects 16 of Boston’s monuments and heritage sites, including Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere’s house, and the country’s oldest public park. Speaking of, the adjectives ‘first’, ‘oldest’ and ‘original’ crop up a lot in nearby Beacon Hill: a neighbourhood of 18th and 19th-century red brick houses, lined up on narrow hilly streets. Visit literary institution Brattle Book Shop and browse shelves holding more than a quarter of a million books, maps, prints and postcards. There’s a dedicated rare-book room at the back with the store’s most valuable treasures. Cross the Charles River into Cambridge (look out for the lovely Esplanade Park as you do so) and stroll Harvard University’s walkways. It doesn’t take a genius to appreciate the coffee at Peet’s (as featured in Good Will Hunting), before a nosey around the vintage boutiques and bookshops lining the streets around the campus. If that has you feeling studious, head to Omni Parker House, a historic guesthouse whose basement museum documents its famous former guests (Mark Twain) and staff (Ho Chi Minh). Don’t forget to try the Boston cream pie at its restaurant, Parker’s: a sponge filled with custard and topped with chocolate, served steps away from the spot that President Kennedy proposed to Jackie. Or, for the ultimate in celeb-spotting, say hello to Romeo and Juliet… the resident swans at artfully landscaped Boston Common. Finally, head toBeehive on Tremont Street for a live jazz session, the House of Blues for a gig, or to the Institute of Contemporary Art for work by up-and-coming artists, right by the harbour.
The area’s gastronomy is renowned – think Boston baked beans, New England clam chowder, lobster rolls and Boston cream pie. If you like seafood, try the city’s local specialities: oysters, fresh steamed lobster and cod – perhaps harbour-side at the Seaport District. Daily Catch is a Sicilian seafood spot with just 20 seats. It’s been a family-run spot since 1973, serving up bowls of fresh calamari and squid-ink linguine. Barbara Lynch’s No. 9 Park is well-loved for its freshly prepared Mediterranean dishes – try steak tartare, prune-stuffed gnocchi and octopus: or if you can’t decide, opt for a five- or seven-course tasting menu. Find fruits de mer a plenty at Select Oyster Bar: a neighbourhood seafood spot in Back Bay.
Tatte’s pastries and cakes are renowned – be charmed by the old-world interiors of the Charles Street branch. Head to the city’s North End for family-owned Modern Pastry and its cannoli, carrot cake, and ricotta pie. Cambridge institution Christina’s is a good stop off between the academics for ice cream lovers: they hand-crank scoops every day with a huge menu of bold flavours, right between Harvard and MIT.
Alibi, housed in a former jailhouse, pours excellent cocktails: order a Double Jeopardy, Law & Order, or Early Release. Tip Tap Room pulls pints of craft beer hailing from the US and Europe, and plates up thick-cut steaks and burgers of every description (including antelope and Italian sausage). Lookout’s rooftop bar has views of Boston’s Financial District skyline, including the historic Customs House Tower: head here for late night drinks among the twinkling cityscape.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this grande dame hotel in Back Bay and unpacked their baked beans and CharlieCards, a full account of their historic US break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside The Newbury in Boston…
For all intents and purposes, Boston is the oldest city in America. And yet undeniably modern: thrumming with revolution, forward-thinking and barrier-breaking. You’ll be hard pressed to find a hotel better situated in this city than The Newbury: on one side, you’ve got Newbury Street, Boston’s answer to Madison Avenue – lined with boutiques and designers including Chanel and Cartier; on the other, the lovely Boston Public Garden – the oldest park in the country. Back Bay, Beacon Hill and the Freedom Trail are minutes away, and Cambridge and the harbour are within easy reach, too. But you needn’t stray far to get a glimpse of Boston’s history. The hotel pays homage to the neighbourhood: fusing community, culture and contemporary design in its iconic public spaces. There’s the heritage architecture of decades gone by, but the interiors are a 2.0 version of the tailored Bostonian aesthetic – sophisticated, not stuffy. Plus, all your high-end hotel comforts: crisp Frette linens, cushy king-size Simmons Beautyrest mattresses and Byredo Willow toiletries made expressly for the hotel as a tribute to the willow trees in the public garden.