Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
With a convenient location across from Hynes Convention Center and the Prudential Center mall, big standard rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and a fitness center overlooking South End, the Colonnade has even more going for it than the city's only rooftop pool.
A rare amenity even in the biggest of cities (L.A., New York), the rooftop hotel pool becomes virtually nonexistent in Boston. This 285-room Back Bay boutique boasts Boston's one and only. Book a room here from Memorial to Labor Day, and you'll have the unique opportunity to swim and to drink daiquiris with a 12th-floor view of quaint old New England.
There's plenty to recommend this hotel during the other eight months of the year as well. It's just across the street from the Prudential Center mall and the Hynes Convention Center, but feels more sedate and farther removed from the convention madness than surrounding chains like Hilton Boston Back Bay, Marriott Copley Plaza, and Sheraton Boston. The spacious 350-square-foot standard rooms are bigger than those you'd find at competitors like the Lenox or Back Bay Hotel -- and thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that actually open, they have a more airy, sunny feel. Following a $25-million renovation in May 2008, standard rooms come outfitted with sleek new light-wood furniture, rainfall showerheads in the bathtubs, comfortable Sealy pillow-top mattresses, and 37-inch flat-screens with free Starz and Encore. Once regarded as a dowdy, flower-assaulted throwback to the '80s, the lobby now features a stately marble front desk that stands out amid handsome espresso-hued interiors and brass accents.
Even so, the Colonnade falls a bit short in service and extra frills. A bell staff assists with luggage, and there's poolside dining when the rooftop is open, but contrary to what is stated on the hotel website, 24-hour room service is a thing of the past -- it now ends by midnight. And don't be fooled into thinking the tempting blue Smart Cars outside the lobby are there to shuttle you to nearby destinations -- they're for PR promotion only (and for the staff to fetch an occasional guest request). Compare this with the similarly priced Lenox -- with its 24-hour room service, nightly turndown, and brochure of snacks available upon request. In the chillier months, the Lenox and Back Bay Hotel have cozy fireplaces in the lobby or bar; not so at the Colonnade.
You may give up a few things here, but if you're traveling with kids or you're a fitness buff, it's not a bad choice. Huge rooms (with free cribs and rollaways) have plenty of space. The 1,000-square-foot fitness center is packed with mint-condition Precor equipment and boasts views of the charming brick townhouses of Boston's South End. And did we mention the pool?
Efficient, but no frills; room service ends at midnight
There's efficient, but not extensive, service at the Colonnade. Guests get a few more features at area competitors.
In tiny Back Bay, just across from the Hynes Convention Center and Prudential Center mall
As a developed and upscale commercial and residential area in the center of the city, Back Bay offers a little bit of everything, from luxury shopping on Newbury Street to baseball at nearby Fenway Park. Office workers toil away in the area's high-rise buildings, some of Boston's tallest, while business travelers convene for conferences at the Hynes Convention Center.
The Colonnade is situated just across the street from the Prudential Center mall and Hynes. It's ideal for conventioneers who want to escape from the day's madness, as it feels a bit more sedate and removed than nearby big chain hotels like the Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston, and Westin (it helps that, unlike them, it's not directly connected to the convention center).
Big and renovated in mid-2008, with 37-inch flat-screens and pillow-top mattresses
Following a $25-million renovation in May 2008, the spacious 350-square-foot standard rooms now come outfitted with sleek new light-wood furniture, a dining table and chairs (in lieu of a desk), rainfall showerheads in the bathtubs, comfortable Sealy pillow-top mattresses, and 37-inch flat-screens with DVD players. Floor-to-ceiling windows that open make the rooms here feel lighter and airier than those at Back Bay Hotel or Lenox -- and it also helps that they're significantly bigger.
Airy and light-filled, Colonnade's 5th-floor fitness center features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the charming brick townhouses of Boston's South End, so you never have that toiling-away-in-a-basement feel you can get at say, the dark Lenox or Back Bay gyms. But the business center and in-room Wi-Fi here aren't free.
Pets stay for free.
There's no charge or deposit for pets to stay here -- but don't expect any free amenities like dog bowls or treats. Pets of any size are welcome.
Big rooms and a pool work well for families.
The Colonnade is ideal for families, with 350-square-foot standard rooms large enough to accommodate a crib or rollaway, children's room service and restaurant menus, and a rooftop pool open in the summer.
On-site affordable and popular French bistro
Colonnade's Brasserie Jo is no question one of the hotel's greatest selling points. An offshoot of the James-Beard-award-winning original in Chicago, this casual French bistro stays open not only for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but for light afternoon and late-night snacks. It was voted "Best Business Lunch" by Boston magazine in 2000.
Renovated in 2008 and mostly spotless
With a renovation completed in May 2008, the room furniture and carpets are beautiful and new. Hallways could be in better condition, however. I saw some nicked armoires and chinks in the elevator wood. But all areas were dust- and mildew-free.
Boasting the city's only rooftop pool, this 285-room Back Bay hotel offers spacious standard rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, a fitness center with South End views, and an affordable French brasserie. Score a cheap rate, and it's worth it -- despite the lack of 24-hour room service and the daily Wi-Fi charge.
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