Brandon Berkson is the Founder of Hotels Above Par/@HotelsAbovePar, an expert-curated guide with under two-minute articles designed for the hip traveler who is short on time. Brandon shares his idea of a perfect two-day itinerary for exploring the best of Boston.
A Travel Tradition Continues at The Newbury Boston
By Brandon Berkson
When I was a kid, my dad would take me to hotels: Everything about them fascinated me, from the design to the sheer bliss of trading in a school-day routine for vacation. It was “our thing.” In fact, I can confidently say he spawned my adoration for the hospitality industry.
Now, the roles are reversed: I’m taking my dad to hotels. Working as a travel journalist, that’s one of the perks.
Every year, since I was five, we would take a father-son trip. Now, I’m 26 — until the pandemic and tempestuous 2020, we never skipped one.
Dad and I decided this year’s father-son trip would be a short journey from my place of residence, New York City. We would head to Boston: Him by flight from Florida, me by Amtrak out of The Big Apple.
Now, where to stay in Boston? Yes, I did want to learn more about Paul Revere—don’t get me wrong, I really like history; however, as a hotel lover, it was The Newbury Boston that topped my list of reasons why I wanted to visit the city of Boston.
I read about the luxury Boston hotel in Vogue. The minute my eyes met that first picture on the website article — a piercingly orange sofa and sleek bookshelf backdrop (I later learned this was the Private Library Lounge) — I knew I had to write about The Newbury Boston. Hotels Above Par’s readers needed to have this place on their radar.
Dad loves travel and design — so, we conveniently paired that with my fervent desire to see the hotel and share it with my readers, taking him to a luxe, brilliantly-blueprinted place like The Newbury Boston was my way of saying “thank you” for all the father-son trips we went on throughout my upbringing.
Upon first entrance, the hotel captivated us: Walls were dressed in a calming Bachelor Blue; dainty ceiling lamps glistened with glamour; the rosewood check-in desk oozed refinement.
After a cheerful welcome from the front desk, the hotel’s bellman brought us up to the eighth floor. He led us to our Classic Park View Suite. Entering the room, a monolithic color palette of blues, greys, and creams, enveloped us. Shortly after putting our baggage down in the suite’s spacious bedroom, my dad and I headed into the parlor, where we became aware of much more than just the muted hues: Veronica Lawlor artwork, handcrafted wood, herringbone accents, and marble touches were the new head-turners. The cherry on top: An expansive window offering an awe-inspiring view of one of Boston’s most famous parks, Public Garden.
Following a short repose, my dad and I went down to the lobby for our scheduled tour of the Downtown Boston hotel. Each corridor flaunted more understated elegance and timeless glamour than the last. We learned about how the hotel has been a Boston staple since opening in 1927, and how it just underwent a multi-dimensional renovation, from the 286 well-proportioned rooms to the iconic Ken Fulk-designed Boston rooftop restaurant, Contessa. The result? A ritzy, as-if-no-time-went-by “Roaring ‘20s” atmosphere that artfully melds a well-preserved 94-year-old establishment with top-line modern luxuries.
Dad and I agreed: Our favorite room was the Private Library Lounge; the one from the Vogue article. Here, oversized lounge chairs, dark-wood tables, oak flooring, and a curated collection of books assembled by local establishment Trident Booksellers, spellbind all who enter.
That night, we reflected on our day, sipped creative cocktails, and feasted on an array of New England favorites at the hotel’s handsome Street Bar. The setting: A speakeasy-like atmosphere employing classic leather barstools, swarthy-toned woodwork, made-in-Boston art, and grand bay windows that peer out towards Boston’s Public Garden.
My modish mocktail and waiter-recommended Spicy Pink Lobster Chowder arrive. The moment is just right to propose a toast. I look at my father across the table and say what I’ve been meaning to since we arrived: “Dad, thank you for giving me the gift of travel with our father-son trips these past 21 years. Now, enjoy.”