Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
An impressive new contender among Boston's old-guard luxury hotels, the 148-room Mandarin Oriental in Back Bay tries to doing everything bigger and better. Few expenses were spared in constructing the $300 million, limestone-and-marble-façade building, which opened in October 2008. The sleek entryway gives way to a dark and cozy living-room-style lobby. The standard rooms, some of the largest and most luxurious in Boston, are equipped with sink-into beds with Frette sheets and Ploh pillows, separate deep tubs and rainfall showers, and 42-inch flat-screen TVs with some 20 free movie channels. The city's most spectacular spa, a 16,000-square-foot extravaganza, tops it all off.
In Boston, only the Four Seasons can compete with the level of service delivered here. The all-out attack includes nightly turndown, complimentary shoeshines and newspapers, a welcome tea delivered up to the room right after check-in, and a Mercedes that shuttles guests anywhere within a two-mile radius of the hotel.
If one has to nitpick, the views overlooking restaurant-lined Boylston Street, though charming, don't quite match those you get at the Fairmont, the Four Seasons, or the Taj, where many rooms face Copley Square or the Public Garden. The Mandarin also lacks a pool, which is a feature you get at the Four Seasons.
That said, the sleek, contemporary design of its ultra-luxurious rooms gives the Mandarin a unique profile among the finest hotels in Boston.
Superb luxury service
In Boston, only the Four Seasons can compete with this extraordinary level of service; free shoeshines and newspapers, free car service, and a welcome beverage upon check-in are just a few of the special attentions guests receive. Twice-daily housekeeping includes evening turndown service, when the staff leaves bottled water, a card with the next day's weather forecast, and slippers to greet you when you return to your room. You'll never touch your bags from the time the porter opens your cab door to when he puts you into another cab to the leave.
In Boston's upscale Back Bay neighborhood, connected to a mall and convention center
Located on restaurant-lined Boylston Street in Back Bay, two short blocks from Newbury Street and a five-minute walk to picturesque Copley Square. The Mandarin Oriental is connected to the Prudential Center mall and the Hynes Convention Center.
An upscale commercial and residential area in the center of the city, Back Bay offers a little bit of everything, from luxury shopping to fine arts. Even Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, is walkable from here. Office workers toil away in the area's high rise buildings, while business travelers convene for conferences at the Hynes Convention Center. It also boasts some of the city's best shopping and notable cultural attractions: the upscale chain stores, cafes, and boutiques of Newbury Street; and the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Brand new and ultracomfortable
The Mandarin's standard rooms are a study in understated luxury. Earth-tone fabrics and blond wood floors characterize the decor. Frette sheets top the wonderfully comfortable bed. The bathrooms, arguably the best hotel bathrooms in the the city, feature deep tubs and marble showers. The high-grade electronics include a 42-inch flat-screen TV with some 20 premium movie channels.
No charge for pets
Pets stay for free at the Mandarin Oriental, and some pet amenities (food bowls, beds, treats) are available upon request.
Huge rooms, children's menus, a kids' DVD library, and free cribs and strollers make it a solid option for well-to-do families.
A clean, brand-new hotel
The hotel just opened in October 2008, and housekeeping cleans and straightens twice daily, so everything is spotless and in mint condition.
Numerous upscale dining options
The Mandarin is home to numerous upscale dining options, perhaps the most exciting (and anticipated) being renowned chef Daniel Boulud's Bar Boulud, opening in fall 2014. A lobby lounge serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as late-night cocktails, and the spa cafe offers a range of healthy bites. There is also 24-hour room service.
The 148-room Mandarin Oriental in Back Bay offers some of Boston's most luxurious standard rooms, plus a 16,000-square-foot spa and extraordinary service. It has no pool; and the views aren't as grand as those at the high-end properties on Copley Square. But it's as special as any hotel in Boston -- and a clear winner if you prefer contemporary to traditional decor and ambience.