A perfect homecoming: Excellent views and service at Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston
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As we deplaned the aircraft, I was ready to race through Boston Logan Airport (BOS) so we could quickly make our way to the Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street. We were in town for a heritage tour of the historic North End, but, as we made our way from the gate through the airport, past what had to be at least six Dunkin’ Donuts kiosks, I had to stop and just listen.
There it was! That glorious Boston accent that I missed so much. I’ve lost that special way of speaking myself — having lived away from the city going on 30 years now — but the sound of all those dropped R’s and the plentiful use of the adjective “wicked” always makes me feel like I’m home.
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When we did exit the airport, we hailed an Uber and made the 20-minute ride through East Boston, into the Sumner Tunnel before crossing the North End. We passed North Station and the Museum of Science (hey, I used to work there when I was in high school!) before speeding along Storrow Drive, giving quick waves to the Charles River Esplanade and the famous Citgo sign at Kenmore Square, before arriving in the heart of Back Bay.
When a hotel is part of American Express’ Fine Hotels + Resorts portfolio — as is this new Four Seasons property that opened in May 2019 as well as the brand’s original location in the city on Boylston Street — I usually go ahead and book it that way.
I charge the stay to The Platinum Card® from American Express so I can earn 5 points per dollar spent at the hotel.
There are other perks of booking through FHR that I appreciate, too. The most valuable benefits to me are daily breakfast for two, the “experience” credit (which in this case was $100 to use on the food and beverage outlets in the hotel), free Wi-Fi and a guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout.
The package of extra benefits also includes noon check-in and a room upgrade, but since both of those aren’t guaranteed, I don’t count on them.
At the time of booking, there was an offer to get a third night free when paying for two nights. Bonus! I booked a deluxe king room with city view and paid $1,609.29 for our three-night stay, including taxes and fees.
Boston is a manageable city where you can easily get wherever you want to go on the subway lines or via ride-hailing services. Don’t rent a car here — the city is not laid out on a grid and even though I grew up here and was in the city every single week for most of my early years, I still get lost when I drive in Boston — especially after “The Big Dig” Central Artery/Tunnel Project, which changed the layout of several major roadways. (If you do arrive by car from a “drive” destination, there are both self-parking and valet parking available.)
Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston, is a 61-story skyscraper designed by architects Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Gary Johnson of CambridgeSeven. It sits on a triangular lot with a quiet residential neighborhood of townhouses on one side, Christian Science Plaza’s fountains and reflecting pool on another and shops and restaurants on the third side.
It’s a quick one-block walk to a bus stop and Prudential station on the subway system’s Green Line. It was simple for us to head to the North End, or basically anywhere else, on the subway. Because the hotel entrance was on a quiet street, it was also a breeze when we called an Uber.
We arrived at the hotel before 12:30 p.m. and didn’t expect our room to be ready, but the friendly front desk agent told us that not only was it ready but we had also been upgraded to a premier room with a view.
It was quiet in the lobby at this time of day so before heading up, we spent about 15 minutes chatting with the front desk team. Our first topic of discussion was the very cool mosaic art behind the desk. Titled “They Say, On a Really Hot Day,” the piece of art was created by Bostonian artist Duke Riley.
If you were born in this area, you’ve heard about the Great Molasses Flood. On Jan. 15, 1919, this catastrophe unfolded on Commercial Street in the North End. About 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst from a storage tank. A tsunami of the thick, sticky liquid roared through the streets, killing 21 people and injuring 150. The story is legend and I heard it many times as a child. Whenever we visited the North End, I could have sworn I detected the faint smell of burned sugar.
After that impromptu art discussion, we chatted about the best Connecticut-style lobster rolls in the city (warm with drawn butter) before heading to our room.
While the building may soar 61 stories, not all are part of the hotel. Guest floors are from 8-21, while 160 residences span floors 24-61. For the hotel’s part, there are 174 guest rooms and 41 suites. Guest rooms range from superior (397-428 square feet) to deluxe (397-512 square feet) to premier (440-512 square feet).
Standard suites include the executive suite (636-711 square feet) and the Back Bay corner suite (880-917 square feet). Then, there are a variety of “specialty” named suites.
Bill Rooney of Bill Rooney Studio Inc. created the interior design for the guest rooms as well as the hotel’s public areas. Throughout the hotel, you’ll find soothing shades of cream, a palette of muted grays and shimmers of metallic accents.
No matter what type of room you book, the views will be outstanding. Our premier room, No. 1515 on the 15th floor, had a curved wall of floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of the Christian Science Plaza reflecting pool and fountains as well as nearby high-rises.
Upon arrival at our room, we found a package including two face masks, two antiseptic wipes and a 1.6-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer. While I had brought similar supplies, it was a nice touch that I appreciated.
A few sweets were also on the table.
A panel by the bed allowed automated control of the sheers, blackout drapes and lights (on, medium, low or night light mode). You could also press a “privacy” button that would illuminate the front door so housekeeping and others knew to quietly walk on by.
And, let’s talk about that bed. If you haven’t stayed at a Four Seasons, you may not know how comfortable the mattresses are. The pillowtop, custom-designed for the chain, makes for a perfect night’s sleep. Our king bed was topped with a down duvet and pillows dressed in crisp white linens.
The tablet on the nightstand was nice to have as well. While you can communicate with hotel staff using the Four Seasons app, you could also do things like ask questions or order room service from the tablet. We used it a few times throughout our stay.
Each room offers complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and a 65-inch flat-screen TV with a Comcast X1 in-room entertainment system plus Netflix access.
And the nightstands on both sides of the bed have charging stations for your laptop, smartphones and other devices.
If you enjoy reading in bed, the hotel has you covered with retractable bedside reading lights.
The room was outfitted with a small table and two chairs — perfect for room service meals — as well as a comfy armchair with an ottoman and built-in desk, which also had a panel where you can plug in your laptop, tablets and smartphones.
As you’d expect at a hotel of this caliber, it offers twice-daily housekeeping (morning service happens automatically but you do need to request evening turndown service right now). You can send your clothes out for same-day laundry, dry cleaning or pressing, or leave your shoes in the provided bag for a free overnight shoeshine.
There is plenty of closet space with mirrors on the interior doors, two luggage racks, a hair dryer, cotton slippers and robes as well as a spacious safe — large enough to accommodate both of our laptops — in a pullout drawer.
The minibar has just about anything you desire — even if the items are pricey — and there is an in-room Nespresso coffee/tea maker with all the fixings.
The bathroom is pretty spectacular in and of itself with soaring floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible city views. There are automated shades and lights with dimming controls in the bathroom, too.
There is a lighted, magnifying makeup/shaving mirror and the mirror over the sink doubles as a flat-screen TV when you turn it on.
The bathroom is stocked with Roja Parfums Bergamot shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body milk and bar soap.
You’ll also find plenty of fluffy white towels and a digital scale tucked discretely underneath the twin-sink, marble-topped vanity. Other essentials include ear swabs, shower caps, cosmetic pads and a few packets of makeup remover.
The Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston, has an entire page at its website that explains what types of accessible rooms it offers.
General room features include wide 46-inch doors that are wheelchair accessible, and lowered peepholes in the entry door as well as lowered light switches and thermostats. Visible and audible alert systems are also available as are visible notifications for incoming telephone calls and the doorbell.
Other amenities, such as bed vibration for the doorbell, fire alarm and telephone, are available on request. Service animals are permitted and there is an accessible route from the hotel entrance to each accessible guest room.
Food and beverage
While it sometimes doesn’t make sense to dine at a hotel restaurant, the options at the Four Seasons were great. Everything we sampled was terrific.
Let me start by saying this: I’m not a super fan of Japanese cuisine, especially sushi. However, dining at Zuma, a “Japanese izakaya-inspired” restaurant on the second floor of the hotel was a spectacular experience. I booked our meal for the height of dinner service since I wanted the buzz of being around a lot of people enjoying a communal moment. (The restaurant seats 160 people.) Zuma pulls this off with open kitchen areas where you can watch sushi chefs and those manning the robata charcoal grill.
The quality of the food was outstanding and it’s clear this is a very popular spot in town for locals. I would return.
One + One Restaurant
In non-COVID-19 times, a breakfast buffet is hosted here but the restaurant is temporarily closed. The buffet costs $36 for adults and $24 for children. Or, you can order things like quiche ($29), Japanese steamed egg ($30), a Maine lobster omelet ($31) or avocado toast ($32) on an a la carte basis. Sides such as bacon, sausage, fruit and potatoes go for $8. Chocolate chip pancakes or a waffle with strawberries for kids run $15 each.
Trifecta is behind the lobby and near the elevator banks to guest rooms. It’s an intimate cocktail lounge and a sunny spot for drinks and a light bite daily. (There’s a lobster roll on this menu as well as things like a Vermont cheese plate and hamachi crudo.)
I especially appreciated Trifecta’s mocktails, since I normally don’t drink alcohol. Here were two such options:
Seedlip citrus, lemon, ginger syrup, beet reduction, soda
Umbria espresso, date syrup, orange tonic, candied orange
Mocktails are $12 while “real” cocktails are $16-$20.
The location also hosts afternoon tea from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tea — and the Champagne display — looked amazing. I’d go back just to give it a try because the timing sadly didn’t work with our schedule this time around. Afternoon tea costs $59 per person and includes tea by J’enway Tea Co., sandwiches, scones, sweets and a glass of Champagne.
On busy weekends, part of the lobby is an annex for serving afternoon tea when Trifecta is at capacity.
Daily breakfast was included in our rate. Since the restaurant that usually serves the morning meal was closed due to COVID-19, we ordered room service each morning of our stay. The lemon ricotta pancakes were absolutely delectable and the hash browns were sinful. My husband swore by the eggs Benedict.
When we were there, room service was not available 24 hours a day but you could order via the app or on the in-room tablet from 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
Families should know that all dining venues in the hotel offer kids menus, highchairs and booster seats.
The hotel has a “wellness” floor (the seventh floor) that includes the spa with five treatment rooms. (A 50-minute Coastal Intentions massage costs $190 while a 50-minute Gentle Healing facial goes for $210.)
There’s also a hair and nail salon.
Across the way from the spa is the hotel’s 64-foot indoor pool (with a depth of 3.8 feet). There is an underwater sound system and a lift to assist anyone with mobility challenges that would still like to get into the water.
As you walk through the pool area, there’s a hallway leading to the fitness center.
There is also a fleet of complimentary Biria bikes. The doormen can help get you set up with a bike and safety helmet.
If you’re traveling with little ones, the hotel can provide all sorts of things, from a bottle warmer to a baby monitor, noise machine or even a stroller. Your child will receive a take-home toy as well as in-room amenities such as organic bath products and child-sized bathrobes and slippers. You can borrow books or games from the lending library or even kid-sized rainboots and umbrellas.
You can even request to have a tent set up in your room for the kids.
I actually interacted with the Four Seasons team before landing in Boston. I’m an obsessive planner and while I had my own favorite places to visit in town, I wanted to speak with the concierge to find out about any new spots or hidden gems that had previously eluded me. Concierge Alain Duchemin responded to my questions and his suggestions turned out to be spot-on.
I also had the opportunity to connect with the Four Seasons app team. Since I had booked my reservation through Amex FHR, my reservation number was not recognized when I tapped it into the app. I messaged tech support and within 10 minutes, they had set up my stay. This was important since I knew I’d want to communicate with the hotel in a contactless way when I had questions throughout our stay.
At the hotel, everyone we interacted with was authentic and professional. From housekeeping to in-room dining to the doormen, everyone seemed interested in us and why we were in town.
The one service mishap was when in-room dining forgot our coffee order during breakfast but that was a small thing, which was understandable these days when labor shortages make it tough for the staff at any hospitality company.
Would I stay here again? In the case of the Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston, the answer is a strong yes. Service was uniformly excellent, friendly without being cloying or insincere. Even in these pandemic times, the hotel buzzed with energy — especially during afternoon tea and at dinner at Zuma — while guests complied with mask requirements as posted. The location was fantastic, the view from our room was stunning and the architecture and design jibed with my own aesthetic preferences. I look forward to returning.
Featured photo by Andrea M. Rotondo/The Points Guy.
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