Writing at my desk, nibbling on chocolates and watching the world walk down the Boston streets, it was almost too easy to forget the stress in my life. And then I had a massage and for a few hours, I truly escaped.
Without the time or money to jet away to the beaches of Mexico this year, I set my eyes on a local place that I could relax. Remembering last year's Staycation at the Seaport Hotel, I decided to create another local vacation here in Boston. But this time the kids would stay with their dad and I would whisk over to a spa. A few Google searches later and the Mandarin Oriental, located right on Boylston Street, quickly jumped to the top of my list of great local spas. Then, thanks to the generosity of the hotel, they offered me a price that made me grab a room and run over.
Truth be told, it was the most relaxing 24 hours I have had in a very, very long time. My room, number 631, allowed me to look down Fairfield Street and watch people meandering on Newbury and Boylston Streets. It even offered glimpses of the sailboast on the Charles. The floor to ceiling windows let in light and made it tempting to never leave the room. There were other touches that I appreciated: the double table was genius, allowing me to write and store my papers. The beautiful bed was graced with cozy linens from neighboring Frette. I chose to skip going on-line (the better to relax), but Wi-Fi was available, as was a great big TV and a wide range of DVDs.
Second to my writing couch, though, my favorite was the glorious bathroom with a deep tub and beautiful shower. I also loved the Blood Orange soaps, shampoos and conditioners from Red Flower. I took advantage of being able to walk right downstairs to dine at Asana (more in an upcoming post) and to frequent the spa and fitness facilities (next post, don't worry!).
(photo care of the Mandarin Oriental)The next morning, I cozied up on the couch, enjoying the pleasure of the complimentary New York Times and Boston Globe. While I was disappointed that there wasn't the now standard Keurig coffeemaker in the room, Starbucks was right outside.
I loved the breakfast that was delivered right to my room: a large bowl of Bircher's Muesli covered in fresh berries. I hadn't tried this before, and the dish was far more delicious than the description (cold oatmeal) sounds!
Overall it was clear to me that the Mandarin Oriental is about attention to detail. There was artwork throughout the hotel from David Hockney, Frank Stella, Robert Sieglman, Micahel Mazer and others. It created a sense of beauty without being ostentatious. In fact, that was another thing I loved about the hotel: it never felt pretentious. The soft colors, the fabrics and lighting all lent a calm throughout the hotel.
The staff was not only kind, but they took care of me, even when I wasn't quite aware of it. For a working single mom it was pretty heavenly.
The hotel is certainly convenient. I hadn't explored the Back Bay in years. I walked down Newbury and even across and over to the South End. I am not much of a shopper but I liked the idea that if I wanted to buy a book, pick up some make up or get more yoga gear I could do so without going outside as the hotel is connected to the Prudential Center.
A few last notes: parking is extra at $45.00 for 24 hours. On that note, let's be honest: the Mandarin Oriental is neither inexpensive nor in everyone's budget. But if, as life would be, you need to treat yourself alone or with someone else, I can't recommend it highly enough. I, for one, am already trying to figure out how to get back!
Mandarin Oriental, 776 Boylston Street, Boston 617-535-8888