An uncommon Boston hostelry

My first stop after check-in is never my room. It’s always the gym. I like to see what kind of sweat I can expect to get from what’s typically no bigger than a broom closet. Is there more than one treadmill? Does it have easy controls so I can do interval sets? Are there free weights, or is it limited to three cardio machines and a mat? When the hotel gym is that grim, I pray for flat pavements and breathtaking views.

Amy Hughes

View from the top... The Ritz Carlton
My first stop after check-in is never my room.  It’s always the gym.  I like to see what kind of sweat I can expect to get from what’s typically no bigger than a broom closet.  Is there more than one treadmill?  Does it have easy controls so I can do interval sets?  Are there free weights, or is it limited to three cardio machines and a mat?  When the hotel gym is that grim, I pray for flat pavements and breathtaking views.
Even before I set foot inside The Ritz Carlton, I know I’ll be in heaven and it isn’t just because the hotel sits on the Boston Commons.   This hotel gym is like no other – probably because it’s not actually a hotel gym.  It’s a state of the art, world-class, 100, 000 square foot gym.  I realise these are catchy phrases trotted out to describe things that generally don’t live up to the hype, but in this case, the Sports Club/LA lived up to every pre-conceived notion in my head of the best gym I’d ever set foot in.
Weeks before I arrive, I looked up kickboxing and cardio fit classes, arranging my schedule with military precision to make time for the most interesting sounding, heart-attack inducing sessions.
For gym junkies, there is no other place to sweat in Boston and the Ritz Carlton offers direct access, which includes a basketball court, junior Olympic size pool, squash courts, the aforementioned classes, machines I’ve never seen before; there are even low-tech heart thumpers like nautical ropes for bicep-building.
If you’re not an endorphin addict I may have lost you by now, but the Ritz does offer other things.  It’s got a million-dollar contemporary art collection and its location in the new Ladder district, sandwiched between the Theatre and Financial districts, is convenient to Chinatown, Faneuil Hall, the waterfront, and it’s a short walk across the Commons to the boutiques and restaurants of the Back Bay, on Boylston and Newbury Streets.
Stylish... The Artisan Bistro

We’re treated to a room with club lounge access, a perfect place to replenish all those calories.  Homemade cookies in old fashioned glass jars provide a welcome, but there are healthy options served throughout the day.

The best part about the rooms are those with views overlooking the Commons.  And the spacious, marble bathroom has been designed with heavy attention to detail, from the book holder in the over-sized bathtub, to the shower mirror.  There are Frette linens,  featherbeds, perfect for relaxing at the end of the day with CDs or DVDs on loan from the lounge and played out through Bose radios and Bang & Olufsen  sound systems.  Always good to test a few things on the wish list...
After a night on the town, and a restful slumber we head down to the Artisan Bistro for brunch.  Apart from the usual fare, omelettes with Maine lobster are perfect for sampling traditional New England specialties.  A grilled cheese sandwich comes with bacon jam and Vermont cheddar.  And fried eggs take on a whole new meaning when paired with duck confit.  Pancakes and French toast, are, of course, on the menu.  This is America, right?  But so are the famous muffin tops, this time with streusel.  Seinfeld, Kramer and Elaine would be in heaven.
Ritz-Carlton Boston
10 Avery Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02111 U.S.A.
Phone: +1 (617) 574-7100

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