Check-in: The Fairmont Copley Plaza

- Cathy Hawker, Guest Blogger

It didn’t take long for me to fall for the charms of Boston, capital of New England and one of America’s most classy and cultured cities. A green, leafy city best seen by foot, it’s stuffed with history thanks to its colonial past and pivotal role in the American Revolution.

Getting there is easy. Boston’s Logan airport is only three miles from downtown, the closest of any USA city. So less than fifteen minutes after leaving Logan my taxi pulled up at The Fairmont Copley Plaza.

This is one of Boston’s best-loved landmarks, a solid, handsome building beside the Boston Library. Newly unveiled after a ten-month refurb to celebrate its 100th birthday, it manages to feel grand and yet welcoming.

Why stay at the Fairmont Copley Plaza? The two winning reasons are for its overwhelmingly friendly staff and its fabulous location. It’s right on Copley Square in the heart of historic Back Bay, minutes from Boston’s smartest shops and restaurants and an easy stroll to the parks that make the city a joy year round.

Walk a little further and you’ll cross the Charles River and find yourself in Cambridge, home to Harvard, just one of the 60 plus universities and colleges in this most educated city.

Back at the Fairmont, Jefferson checked me in and introduced me to the very gorgeous Catie Copley, a black Labrador who has lived at the Fairmont for many years. A dropout from guide dog school, Catie goes home each night with Joe the concierge but otherwise is always up for a walk with hotel guests.

I was staying on the fourth floor as a Fairmont Gold guest. Exclusive services include free wifi, a dedicated concierge and reception service and a private lounge serving light snacks and breakfast.

The biggest changes post renovations at the Fairmont are at the top and bottom of the hotel. A rooftop gym of 3,000 square feet with floor to ceiling windows means that morning workouts are conducted with a light-flooded view over the city. And on the ground floor the Oak Long Bar & Kitchen is the place for smart Bostonians and hotel guests to hang out. A copper-topped 85-foot bar sets the scene while the menu features locally-sourced traditionally American dishes.

Boston is called the walking city and in the following days I walked most parts of it. Highlights included watching the sailboats tack up and down the Charles, dodging the physically perfect students who jog, cycle and work out en masse at the end of the day and exploring the brick townhouses and gas-lit streets of Beacon Hill. In North End I found the best Italian cafes, dark and intimate, in Back Bay I shopped in small boutiques and large department stores and in Cambridge I spent hours delving into bookshops.

My visit ended with a night at the Fairmont Battery Wharf in the east of the city. The waterfront location even closer to the airport makes a peaceful setting away from downtown Boston but close to the tourist-centric hotspots of Faneuil Hall and parts of the Freedom Trail.

Follow Cathy on Twitter: @cathyhawker.

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