Four Seasons Boston Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Downtown and Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Best service in Boston
  • Right on the Public Garden park
  • Beautiful pool with park views and food service
  • Great 24-hour fitness center
  • Free, 24-hour business center
  • Free coffee and muffins in the lobby each morning
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel

Cons

  • No full spa on-site
  • Pricey valet parking

Bottom Line

One of the city's top hotels with amazing service, a parkfront location, a great health club with a beautiful pool, and an iconic restaurant, the 273-room Four Seasons offers luxurious and spacious rooms with stunning granite bathrooms. But there's no full spa on-site.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

An atmophere of classic luxury supported by a friendly, impeccable staff elevate this Back Bay hotel to the top of its category.

The lobby's classic, if not exciting, design
The lobby's classic, if not exciting, design

"Life doesn't need to be so hard," the Four Seasons Boston seems to whisper. From the moment guests arrive at the hotel, beautifully situated across the street from the Public Garden and surrounded by luxury stores, their needs are anticipated. Want to take a run? A thoughtful jogging map is already in your room. Thirsty? Someone is already handing you a bottle of water. Need a ride? The concierge is more than happy to arrange for the house car to take you.

Everything, from the television channel guide to the upscale comfort food at the Bristol Lounge, is just a little bit better, a little easier to operate, a whole lot tastier, at the Four Seasons, and yet, the hotel's charms are subtle. It doesn't have a grand lobby like the Fairmont Copley Plaza or strikingly modern guest rooms like the Mandarin Oriental, but it does have the best service in the city, a classic restaurant, and a gorgeous pool with floor-to-ceiling views of the Public Garden.

About that pool -- it's not the average indoor hotel swimming pool where you do laps amid the unpleasant scent of chlorine. This is an indoor pool of a different ilk, a relaxing spot to grab some free coffee and fruit in the early morning, perhaps even put on a robe and slippers as guests are urged to do by the considerate attendant. It's a place to wile away the morning reading on a lounge chair.

The hotel underwent a massive, $50-million renovation in 2006, though that's not immediately apparent. It doesn't feel as modern as the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common nor is it brand-new like the Mandarin Oriental. Rather, its elegant design strives for a sense of timelessness, not big thrills. But ultimately, it's the Four Seasons' thoughtful, unfailing service that elevates it above its competitors. The service creates a remarkably consistent, relaxing experience. If only life outside of the Four Seasons could be so easy.

 Service

The best service in the city

Room service
Room service

With a highly professional, friendly staff that anticipates guests' every need, the Four Seasons offers the best service in the city. As you might expect, there are high-end service features here, as at its competitors, like a free house car and 24-hour room service. But the Four Seasons excels in the small details. As I was finishing up my last mile on the treadmill in the gym one evening, an attendant placed a bottle of water in my cup holder without my requesting it. Later that evening, when I was working in my room and needed a mouse pad, someone was at my door with it in under three minutes, and asked if there was anything, anything at all, they could do for me. The hotel staff is wonderfully attentive, never snobbish, and they make sure guests know about the amenities available to them, from the house car to the robe and slippers in the pool locker room; too often, this is not the case at other hotels.

  • House car available to take guests anywhere within two miles of the hotel (most of Boston), and it can be reserved for a specific time via the concierge; hours are quite generous.
  • Concierge on duty Monday to Friday
  • Twice daily housekeeping and turndown service with bottled water and printout of the day's news stories
  • 24-hour in-room dining

 Location

On the edge of the tony Back Bay area and downtown, overlooking the beautiful Public Garden

The hotel is centrally located on the edge of the Theater District, an up-and-coming area, and the Back Bay, an upscale commercial and residential area where skyscrapers tower above centuries-old churches and expensive brownstone homes. The Back Bay is a popular area for business travelers -- the Hynes Convention Center is here -- but it also has some of the city's best shopping, from quaint Newbury Street boutiques to the massive Prudential Center mall. Major attractions, like the Public Garden, the Boston Common, and the start of the Freedom Trail, are within a few blocks; other tourist hot spots, like the North End and Faneuil Hall, are 15 to 20 minutes away via public transportation. The Stuart Street Playhouse, an art house movie theater, is a short walk from the hotel, while the nearby Theater District has a number of old, restored theaters that host acts ranging from comics to indie rockers. The South End, a more lively bohemian area with trendy bars and eateries, is a quick 10-minute walk away.

  • The nearest stop on the T (Boston's subway system) is one block away at the Arlington Station on the Green Line.
  • Faneuil Hall, a historic marketplace and modern-day mall, is 15 minutes away via public transportation.
  • Half a block from the Boston Common, the country's oldest park and the start of the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile path that passes through 16 historical Boston landmarks
  • The Public Garden, a beautiful park featuring a lake with swan boats in the summer and ice skating in the winter, is directly across the street.
  • Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, is 1.8 miles, or about a seven-minute drive, away.
  • Harvard Square is across the Charles River, about 20 to 25 minutes away via public transportation.
  • Newbury Street, a lovely brownstone-lined shopping and dining corridor, is just a block and a half away.
  • Copley Square, a pretty public square with an interesting mix of architecture that's the site of the Boston marathon finish line, is three blocks away.
  • Ten- to 15-minute drive from Logan International Airport

 Rooms

Tasteful, luxurious, and thoughtfully laid out

Deluxe rooms are 400 square feet.
Deluxe rooms are 400 square feet.

With a light blue, gold, taupe, and white color scheme, and traditional furnishings, rooms offer classic, understated luxury, if not high design. There are thoughtful touches throughout, from channel listings to a clearly labeled cord for hooking up an iPod to the TV. Bathrooms are similarly stylish. Renovated in 2013, they feature granite floors and countertops with oversized showers in some rooms, or seperate showers and tubs in others. They uphold the rest of the rooms' classic, understated luxury.

Starting at 375 square feet, the entry level rooms, called "Moderate," are slightly smaller than the entry level rooms at the Mandarin (400 square feet) and the Ritz-Carlton (425 square feet). However, the hotel has just two Moderate Rooms; the vast majority of its guest rooms are 400-square-foot Deluxe Rooms. There are also a handful of Superior Rooms, in between Moderate and Deluxe, that are 380 square feet.

  • Moderate and Superior Rooms have one king bed; Deluxe Rooms have either one king or two double beds; beds are wonderful with Frette sheets, down pillows, and duvet
  • Deluxe Rooms with Public Garden views available, typically cost $50 a night more than regular Deluxe
  • Views from regular Deluxe Rooms are enhanced by a thoughtful roof garden planted atop the low-level building they overlook
  • 42-inch LG flat-screen TV and Zenith DVD player with access to children’s DVD library (big kid movies must be purchased on demand); dozens of movies available for purchase via NXTV on-demand system
  • Nearly 60 channels, including HBO and Bravo, and the on-screen program guide is easier to operate than the usual LodgeNet systems found in most hotels
  • No iPod docks, but a cord is provided (and well labeled) for playing iPod through the TV
  • Delightfully clear instructions are provided for everything from using the DVD player to jogging around the city.
  • Bathrooms (renovated in 2013) are fairly large with L'Occitane toiletries
  • Small potted plant is a nice touch.
  • Twice daily housekeeping and turndown service with bottled water and printout of the day's news stories
  • 24-hour in-room dining

 Features

One of the best pools in the city, a great fitness center, and a free business center

Amazing pool with food and drink service
Amazing pool with food and drink service

With a beautiful top-floor health club offering impeccable service, and a pool with beautiful views of the park, the Four Season's standout features elevate it above the competition. The 8th-floor fitness center has four Precor elliptical machines, six treadmills, two stair climbers, and three bikes, all with individual TVs and printouts of the channels available. There's also a great selection of free weights, medicine balls, fitness balls, a stretching mat, seven Cybex weight machines, both bottled water and fruit-infused water, chilled towels, and apples.

  • Beautiful, 44-foot-long pool has floor-to-ceiling windows along one wall with incredible park views and no nasty chlorine smell; it's a serene place for guests to relax; diligent attendants keep the space immaculate.
  • The health club, which is the combined pool and fitness center area, has lovely locker rooms with saunas, steam rooms, and massage rooms. Attendants provide guests with robes and slippers to spend the day relaxing around the pool or detoxing in the sauna.
  • Food can be ordered around the pool
  • Free 24-hour business center in the lobby has three computer stations (including one Apple), a large printer/copier, bottled water, and two boarding pass printing stations.
  • Jogging maps provided in guest rooms.
  • No full spa on-site, but a variety of massages, from Swedish to Reiki, can be arranged via an outside therapist; treatments are given in-room or in a treatment space in the health club locker room.

 Family

A top luxury pick for families

The front desk's wagon of toys for the kids
The front desk's wagon of toys for the kids

With a pool, a parkfront location, and top-level, accommodating service, the Four Seasons is a top luxury pick for families. It sits across the street from the Public Garden, a beautiful flowery park featuring a lake with swan boat rides in the summer and ice skating in the winter.

  • Deluxe rooms with two double beds available
  • Connecting rooms available in a variety of room types
  • Age-appropriate children's amenities at check-in, like milk and cookies for younger kids and soda and popcorn for older children
  • Free cribs; free rollaway beds for children, but charged for adults
  • Beautiful, on-site pool
  • Front desk has a wagon of toys for children to pick from
  • The restaurant, Bristol Lounge, has both a playful children's menu for kids up to eight years old and a young adult menu for nine- to 12-year-olds.
  • In-room dining has a "kids' stuff" menu with options like fresh fruit nuggets and chicken noodle soup with animal crackers.

 Cleanliness

Nearly spotless

From the lobby's gleaming black floor to the guest rooms, this is a thoroughly clean hotel. The pool and fitness center are especially well maintained and are free of the unpleasant chlorine stench typical of indoor pools and their nearby gyms. Rooms were last renovated in 2006; the only minor cleanliness issue I encountered was a slight stain on the desk chair in my room.

 Food

A classic restaurant and 24-hour room service

The Bristol Lounge's excellent crab chowder
The Bristol Lounge's excellent crab chowder

The Four Seasons has just one bar and restaurant on-site, but it's a pretty great one. With its clubby, heavily wooded decor, the Bristol Lounge is a classic place to grab tea, a cocktail, or some upscale comfort food. It easily bests the Ritz-Carlton's restaurant, though the Mandarin Oriental has more dining options. The Four Seasons did once too, but it closed its fine(r) dining establishment, Aujord'hui, in the summer of 2009.

  • The Bristol Lounge serves an extensive menu of delicious upscale comfort food from hand-rolled pastas (priced in the midteens to midtwenties) to a notable burger to a raw bar and fresh seafood, and charbroiled steaks. Don't miss the crab chowder which gives the city's best clam chowders a run for their money.
  • The Bristol Bar serves specialty cocktails like basil mojitos, favorite dishes from the restaurant, and plates for sharing.
  • Free coffee, tea, and fruit are offered around the pool.; breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be ordered poolside throughout the day
  • Free coffee, espresso, tea, and pastries are offered in the lobby each morning
  • 24-hour in-room dining

 Bottom Line

One of the city's top hotels with amazing service, a parkfront location, a great health club with a beautiful pool, and an iconic restaurant, the 273-room Four Seasons offers luxurious and spacious rooms with stunning granite bathrooms. But there's no full spa on-site.

Things You Should Know About Four Seasons Boston

Address

  • 200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, 02116

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Boston Four Seasons
  • Four Seasons Hotel Boston

Room Types

  • Ambassador Suite
  • Deluxe Executive Suite Garden View
  • Deluxe Four Seasons Executive Suite
  • Deluxe Garden View Room
  • Deluxe Room
  • Garden Suite
  • Moderate Room
  • Presidential Suite
  • Senator Suite
  • State Suite
  • Superior Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 273
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: Downtown and Waterfront, Boston
Address: 200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, 02116
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