Review, Commonwealth Hotel, Boston, MA
500 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Would you like to have an invisible butler completely dedicated to your comfort and well-being? A personal Jeeves who makes sure that you never stand on tiptoes to hang up your bathrobe or assume a yoga pose to plug in your computer. Next time you visit Boston, check into the Hotel Commonwealth. I promise you will feel as though your room was designed to work exclusively for you.
Located in Boston’s West End, the hotel is around the corner from Fenway Park and a short walk from trendy Newberry Street, Boston University and other attractions. The Commonwealth bills itself as Boston’s finest small luxury hotel. Their brochure promises, “…to exceed the expectations of every guest by offering instant comfort, gracious hospitality and superb but unobtrusive service.” It is a tall order. But, this property delivers.
Comm. Ave, as it’s known to Bostonians (And, apparently they need you to call it that too. I was corrected several times.), is a stately tree-lined boulevard flanked by historic brownstones. The hotel’s style, Brahmin interpreted by Tim Burton, plays a quirky riff on the New England ambience. There’s a red, green and gold Christmas tree color palette. It sounds hideous, but it works. Traditional furnishings are juxtaposed with more contemporary pieces. The high-backed red brocade chairs in the lobby and twisty metal light fixtures create an atmosphere that is welcoming and fun. Colorful contemporary art contributes to the overall funky elegance. The Bradleys, Adamses and Cabots might be horrified. But, I was charmed.
Having just returned from a less than fabulous hotel stay in San Francisco, I wasn’t looking forward to my trip to Boston. But, my room at the Commonwealth included amenities that took the edge off three cold and rainy days devoted to pleasing my finicky boss. Cozy terry slippers and a robe waited in the closet along with an umbrella that was a real God send. Several books were also thoughtfully provided. There were two substantial arm chairs with a giant leather hassock for resting tired feet, two TVs, an ample desk with a reliable, free wireless connection, a well-stocked mini-fridge (every road warrior’s wet dream) and the requisite high-end bedding. Turndown service includes a chocolate cookie.
I like a bathroom you can live in and had hoped for something more spa-like. L’Occtaine products made up for the missing soaking tub and separate shower. The fixtures, while not luxurious, are more than adequate. The only off-note was a make-up mirror placed at an angle that made it unusable.
Unfortunately, I was not able to try Great Bay or Eastern Standard, the hotel’s two restaurants. I did treat myself to a full-Monty room service breakfast on my last morning. Fluffy scrambled eggs, bacon that was several cuts above Oscar Mayer along with hand-cut home fries and a bakery quality English muffin, were delivered promptly.
A commitment to services pervades this property. The staff does not parrot phrases from a training manual. They seem to be genuinely willing to make your happiness their priority.
In case you haven’t already guessed, this is not the Budgetel. Extreme cosseting has a steep price tag. Mine was $445 a night plus taxes. I wasn’t paying the bill, but I would gladly make my wallet squeal for the chance to spend some quality down-time at the Commonwealth.