The Whitney is in Boston’s most famous neighbourhood, Beacon Hill, known for its narrow, lamp-lit streets and red-brick townhouses.
The best place to touch down is Boston Logan International Airport, which can be reached directly from London Heathrow and most large US airports. The airport is just three miles away, so the drive should only take around 20 minutes, depending on traffic. The hotel can arrange private transfers.
Technically, Boston’s subway system is called the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority subway, but you’re much more likely to hear locals referring to the ‘T’. The closest station to the hotel is Charles/MGH (on the Red Line), which is a minute’s walk from the hotel. Amtrak trains from New York City, Washington DC and Philadelphia pull in at Boston’s South Station, which is also on the Red Line.
You won’t need your own car in the city, which has a solid public-transport network and plentiful taxis. If you do want to hire a car, the hotel has valet parking for US$56 a day.
Worth getting out of bed for
With Beacon Hill’s leafy, lamp-lined streets on the doorstep, you’ll likely be using the hotel as a base for forays into Boston’s cultural heart. That said, the Whitney has a garden to rival the finest Federal-style townhouses – a hedge-ringed hideaway with a sun-trapping terrace, manicured trees and borders overflowing with leafy greens and colourful blooms. In summer, there’s nowhere better to settle with a book or your sundowner (the red-brick walls take on a fiery glow at last light). If the mercury has slid to prohibitive levels, sink into one of the armchairs by the fireplace instead, nursing an Italian red or rye whiskey.
When you do head out, your first port of call should be the front desk, where you can get a full list of local boutiques and restaurants that offer discounts for for Whitney guests. As you roam Beacon Hill, keep an eye out for ‘lavenders’ – old windowpanes that have turned violet in the sun. The flaw was caused by an excess of manganese in batches of glass sent from Europe, but some of the royal-purple panes remain in place as a sign of age and authenticity. If the hotel’s fragrant garden has put you in the mood for more green, make your way down Charles Street to the Public Garden, the first public botanic garden in the US. When it was planted in the 1800s, some of the city’s more strait-laced ramblers found the mixture of plants a little avant-garde for their tastes, but today’s Bostonians embrace the colour with open arms. As you pass the pond, keep an eye out for Romeo and Juliet, the park’s resident swans. Next, glide through the doors of Brattle, one of the oldest bookshops in the country. Founded in 1835 and in the same family since 1949, this old-Boston institution stocks more than a quarter of a million books, maps, prints and postcards. The most valuable treasures – including first editions and ancient leather-bound tomes – are kept in a dedicated rare-book room. If you have time, you can follow the flow of knowledge across the Charles River and into the well-heeled town of Cambridge, home to Harvard University.
Spread between four historic buildings, Faneuil Hall is a mall with a story to tell. Opened in 1743, the hall originally had a large marketplace on the ground floor and an assembly room above, where Samuel Adams once made a speech in support of American independence.
Tatte is the brainchild of Tzurit Or, a former film producer who rekindled her love of baking when she moved to the US, spending up to 20 hours a day in her kitchen to satisfy demand at Boston’s markets. Today, she owns a string of bakeries across the city, where Boston’s best pastries, cakes and bread are sold against charmingly old-world interiors. The closest branch is 70 Charles Street. TipTap Room is the place for meat and beer, serving thick-cut steaks and burgers of every description, including antelope and Italian sausage. Pair with one of the many craft beers – hailing from across the US and Europe – on draft. For a truly local meal, try to squeeze into the Daily Catch, a Sicilian seafood spot with just 20 seats. The pint-sized eatery has been in business since 1973, run by Paul and Maria Freddura with the help of their seven sons. It’s little more than a kitchen, counter and blackboard chalked with specials, but locals are more than happy to queue all the same – particularly when they’re set on a bowl of calamari and squid-ink linguine. The ritzier North Square Oyster Bar is even more intimate, with just 10 leather-clad stools arranged along a counter of milky marble. Dine on scallops, lobster rolls and Boston mackerel, pairing with wines from organic and biodynamic makers.