Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Modern hotel mostly for business travelers
It's hard to imagine that the homey, 225-room Loews Boston Back Bay Hotel, with its cozy, comfortable rooms, was ever an office building where the work centered around gritty crimes and hardened criminals -- but that's exactly what it was. Built in the 1920s, the building was Boston's police headquarters throughout the last century.
Today, the hotel pays homage to both its police headquarters history and its 1920s roots. The restaurant, Precinct Kitchen + Bar, has a police-themed name, speakeasy style, and upscale New England cuisine, while the hotel's interior decor has clear Art Deco influences. The lobby has rich wood paneling, marble tile floors, a circular banquette, and Deco chandeliers, while the adjacent lounge has blue geometric pattern carpets, a big, two-sided white stone fireplace, and plush gray and blue seating. The lounge gets buzzy with guests (mostly business travelers) who take advantage of the comfy couches, library tables, and TVs. The coffee bar with free beverages and snacks helps add a more social atmosphere to the space.
Central to three major Boston neighborhoods
Located on Stuart Street, the hotel is convenient to three of Boston’s most popular and historic neighborhoods: Back Bay, the South End, and the Theatre District. The neighborhood is busy but clean and safe, and guests are a short walk from public transportation as well as a variety of attractions, including buzzy Newbury Street, the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, the Prudential Center, and Copley Square.
Back Bay is an upscale commercial and residential area where skyscrapers tower above centuries-old churches and expensive brownstone homes. It's 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, 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 20 to 30 minutes away via public transportation. The area is filled with midrange and upscale restaurants, many of them chains; the South End, a more lively bohemian area with trendy bars and eateries, is a quick 10-minute walk.
Bright, sophisticated rooms with modern amenities
The rooms at Loews Back Bay, renovated in 2014, are modern, spacious, and clean. They are decorated in shades of white, grey, and blue; the plush beds have white Frette bedding, white padded headboards, and blue bed runners. All rooms have Keurig coffeemakers and windows that open for fresh air. The rooms are quite high-tech, with free Wi-Fi, 46-inch LED Smart TVs with media ports, iHome docking stations, and outlets and USB ports on both desks and nightstands. Mini-fridges will also be in each room, but have not yet been installed. Bathrooms have gray geometric print wallpaper, luxury bath amenities, and in lower-tier rooms, shower/tub combos (pricier rooms do have separate showers and tubs).
Some rooms are quite small (this is a historic building), but several suites are also available for guests that want a step up in space and luxury. Due to the central location in Boston, some lower level rooms may experience noise, so guests that prefer quieter rooms should book accommodations on higher floors.
A speakeasy-style restaurant and a cafe
The main property feature here is the underground restaurant, Precinct Kitchen & Bar restaurant, which offers local dishes (seafood is a focus), speakeasy-inspired style, and terrace seating (below street level). The lobby lounge, Apothecary, serves tea and coffee, as well as appetizers and alcoholic drinks. Guests that want more dining options have plenty nearby, including Grill 23 right across the street. For private functions and meetings, the property has numerous event spaces available. Free Wi-Fi is available in the main areas as well as all rooms. The fitness center is reasonably spacious, with mirrored walls, cardio machines (with no individual TVs), free weights, and strength training machines. Small dogs are allowed for a fee. Unlike at other luxury hotels in the city, however, there is no spa.
The upscale, 225-room Loews Boston blends historical touches with modern sophistication. Rooms are clean and chic, with high-tech amenities; they're among the nicest in the neighborhood for the price. The underground restaurant has speakeasy style and an outdoor terrace below street level. The location in the heart of Back Bay puts guests a short walk away from public transportation, tourist sights, and a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Just note that some rooms are on the small side, and unlike at other hotels in this category, there are no spa services offered.