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Mandarin Oriental in Boston: Can There be Six Stars?

Leave the outside world behind when you cross over into the world of the Spa at Mandarin Oriental Boston
Leave the outside world behind when you cross over into the world of the Spa at Mandarin Oriental Boston
Mandarin Oriental in Boston

I lucked out. For my very first experience in Boston, my husband and I stayed at what many consider the best hotel in Boston. The Mandarin Oriental has earned both a Forbes Five-Star award and an AAA Five Diamond rating. The award-winning hotel chain began in 1963 in Hong Kong and set an ultra-high bar that continues to be met by each individual hotel today. The Mandarin Oriental Boston is an excellent hotel choice for many reasons, but its spa is what sets it apart in my mind.

LOCATION

The hotel is located next to the Prudential Center, a fantastic shopping destination in Boston. The center’s unique layout blends business, restaurants and stores. This means that a variety of great dining and shopping options are steps away from the hotel’s door.

ROOMS and BEYOND

The Mandarin Executive Rooms have niceties not usually found in hotel rooms. For example, the room size is a bit larger than average at about 660 square feet, and has a roomy closet with a dressing bench. The working space is well stocked with writing supplies, including bookmarks. Bath amenities are spa-quality Red Flower brand and smell heavenly. The linens are Frette. If you love them (you’d be crazy not to), there is a Frette shop just off the lobby. Bear in mind, though, that the price of Frette echoes its quality. Bostonian Frank Nicholson’s interior design firm created a city escape in this hotel with a sophisticated palette. You’ll notice just a hint of Asian influence and very subtle Art Deco design details. It all feels brand new.

The room view is called “residential” on the website, which I don’t believe does it justice. This part of Boston is charming in every way. The view of row houses and the beyond cityscape was captivating.

There are two massive suites at the Mandarin Oriental Boston, the Oriental Suite and the Dynasty Suite. David and I were given a tour of the 2,600 square-foot one-bedroom Dynasty Suite during our stay. The entire hotel is luxurious, but the suites are opulent. The Dynasty has a design touch I rarely see even in the best hotels in the world, silk wall coverings. The wood-paneled study, dining table for 8 and gas fireplace tell me that this space could be a home away from home for a small family (the room next door can be connected for those traveling with children) or an incredible place to hold a small meeting.

THE SPA at MANDARIN ORIENTAL BOSTON

My stay was complete after a trip to the spa. I opted for a facial, but the sum of my visit was much more than one treatment. Guests of the spa are encouraged to arrive 45 minutes early for a more immersive experience. Here, you must leave the world behind and step into a new one. To symbolize this transition, I was asked to remove my shoes in the spa’s beautiful entrance and replace them with the provided slippers. After a hot cup of tea, I was taken to the lockers and then back to my incredible treatment room.

My therapist, Elisha, brought me more tea to warm me from the inside and then I settled into the heated bed, which was elevated at my knees and shoulders to cradle me perfectly. After a brief consultation, she decided to change the facial from the one I reserved to another (the Aromatherapy Associates Facial) to suit my needs. My face was cleaned and pampered and my arms, neck, shoulders and scalp were gently soothed to the soft music. Pressure point therapy was integrated at certain points. I have never felt so relaxed and had to fight off sleep. I’m quite sure I nodded off for a few minutes, actually. When I asked Elisha how often her clients can’t help but take a nap, she said with a smile, “Always.” The treatment ended with the ringing of Tibetan Tingsha cymbals. Fascinated by the idea of cleansing a room with sound, I bought some on the way out as a gift for my husband.

Because the spa is the only Forbes Five-Star spa in the state, I had high expectations. It met each one and exceeded them all. Elisha is hands-down the best massage therapist in practice. You must try this experience.

MY RECOMMENDATION

I love this hotel and its ethereal spa. There isn't a better place to stay in Boston.

For more information on Mandarin Oriental Boston or to book your stay, please visit their website.

Examiner’s Note: Sara Anderson, I deeply appreciate the tour, the facts you dug up for me and the considerate arrangements. Thank you!

Please write to me at lori@travelbylori.com. If you like this article, please share it through social media. My husband and business colleague, David Metze, and I have created video reviews of many of our favorite hotels - take a look at http://youtube.com/travelbylori.