The eight year old didn’t know what to make of it when she was handed an oversized brass key and told to place it near the swans on a mural behind the reception desk of The Four Seasons Hotel Boston. After a few tries, though, there was a clicking sound and the door opened leading to a bright blue closet crammed with toys, stuffed animals and games from which she could choose. As if it isn’t exciting enough to be a child at a grand hotel, this pushed her over the top to jumping up and down.
When the Four Seasons Boston reopened in May after a public area renovation, this was one of the new installations, an emphasis on fun engineered by Jim Peters, Director of Creative. (And adults aren’t left out: there are Vaults on every floor, closets filled with beverages, candy and other snacks for them.) But that’s only part of the revamp of this grande dame, the original Four Seasons across from the Public Garden. Designer Ken Fulk, known for his boundary pushing designs was put in charge of reimagining the look of the lobby, the new restaurant and the ground floor salons.
Anyone who has seen Fulk’s fanciful designs filled with vivid colors and patterns will be surprised that his designs here, at first glance, look fairly conservative and Victorian meant to reflect the Victorian styles of the hotel’s neighboring townhouses in Back Bay and Beacon Hill. But the rich colors: rusts, golds and greens reflecting the colors across the street in the Garden are in evidence in the velvet chairs and couches along with multipattern pillows, fringe and contrasting patterns on the chairs’ backs. The entrance is quite dignified, though: guests arrive at the hotel through a stately new entry court with black and white tiles, plantings and lanterns. The vast lobby space is now divided into smaller, more intimate spaces. The leather reception desk fronts the mural reflecting the swan boats and foliage of the Public Garden and the entry to the toy closet.
Tucked away on the side is a new brasserie, Coterie, that in its wall coverings and fabrics is a direct reflection of the Garden: the design includes hand-drawn botanical illustrations and portraits of writers and artists, a soft color palette inspired by garden florals, all accented with vintage lighting and anchored by a zinc-topped bar with leather and brass details. The menu for lunch and dinner blends New England classics with a French overlay. That means the offerings include baked crabcakes, foie gras terrine, New England clam chowder and French onion soup, Dover Sole Meuniere, prime beef filet with Bordelaise and a lobster roll, all carefully prepared. The restaurant is intended to be a gathering place and a few weeks after opening, that’s exactly how it looked: very busy and not just filled with hotel guests.
Bordering Coterie is the Library, a quiet space for meetings and cocktails. Tucked away in the back is Sottovento, the source for artisan coffee where guests can either stop in or have the Coffee Concierge arrange the coffee of one’s choice to be delivered in the morning to guests’ rooms, the time scheduled on the Four Seasons app. And upstairs on the 6th floor, a new outdoor space, Sanctuary, offers a quiet space for al fresco dining or just a quiet moment away from the city streets.
Another way to get to Boston: Apart from the usual trains, flights and seaplanes, being chauffeured to Boston is an easy way to get there and can take the same amount of the time as the train as long as you don’t leave on a summer Friday afternoon. The premium chauffeur service Blacklane has just started New York-Boston service, as well as other routes including Los Angeles to Palm Springs and New York to Washington D.C.