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Opened in June 2015, the 136-room Envoy, a Boston Seaport Autograph Collection by Marriott Hotel, became an instant sensation. It’s easy to see why. Built from the ground up (as opposed to Marriott’s typical upscale Autograph Collection property carved from an existing historic building) next door to the Barking Crab – a popular Boston dive bar – and overlooking Boston Harbor, the Envoy amuses with whimsical décor and astounds with the latest in interactive high-tech accoutrements.
Once a gritty, cargo ship, longshoremen section of Boston, the Seaport has been transformed into Silicon Waterway – a magnet for innovators and incubators, artists and techie brainiacs. ZipCar is headquartered here, General Electric just moved in, and lots of new hotels are going up. You can feel the buzz, and it’s not from the jackhammers.
Across the channel, in Boston’s Financial District, “people wear suits,” says a local in the know. “But here, just a few steps away across the water, people come to work in flip-flops. Incredibly, just a few yards away, it can be so different.” And being on the water has great advantages, besides the view. You can take a Water Taxi to the Envoy Hotel dock straight from Logan Airport.
First Impressions of the Envoy Hotel
Sunlight pours through floor to ceiling windows in the lobby, illuminating clusters of gold and blue seating, and the fabulous “Treasure Chest” chandeliers, designed to look like tangles of ropes and baubles being pulled from the sea. It’s a pleasant place to plug in (there are outlets and USB Ports at every chair and couch), or meet up with family and friends. Computer-board-like lights blink on an off in various colors behind the reception desk. Service is quick, friendly and efficient.
At one time or another, guests end up gravitating to the Virtual Pool Table – an interactive screen built into the top of a billiards table on which you can check stock prices, news, restaurant menus, weather, and of course, play electronic pool.
Rooms at The Envoy
Low on “glitz and glamour” rooms are high on modern sophistication, with white, unadorned interior walls and a whole wall of windows. Hotels with worthwhile views are starting to get the message than guests would like unobstructed sightlines from comfy beds. And so, each Envoy room incorporates a floating bed oriented towards floor to ceiling windows overlooking downtown Boston, the channel, or Boston Harbor.
The hotel’s high-tech aesthetic continues into each room outfitted with a “Smart TV,” mounted amusingly on a sculptural bicycle, which can stream aps, including Hulu and Netflix, and even YouTube, from your phone. (The TV also provides traditional network and cable programming).
The bathroom is of the type that Pintrest users will be sure to save to their boards. A floor to ceiling glass map of Boston serves as both the sole piece of art in the room and a rolling door, which is really unnecessary to close because both the toilet room and shower each has a privacy screen. Bathroom toiletries are from Boston-based (and world-known) Fresh, and instead of a typical white terry robe, you’ll find the Rocky-like floor-length hooded grey sweatshirt to snuggle in after exfoliating your bod in the outsized rain shower.
Dining and Drinking at The Envoy Hotel
Every upscale boutique hotel worth its followers has an in-house restaurant/bar serving small bites and “signature cocktails.” In it’s first summer, 2015, the Lookout Rooftop Bar, was the place to be in Boston.
But even off season, when Lookout is closed, young things, Boomers and families assemble at Outlook Kitchen and Bar for at least a drink, even if going out somewhere else. Bartenders, like the amiable Chris, will custom blend a beverage based on your preferences. Mine – the refreshing pureed strawberries, vodka and magic – was divine.
Breakfast is not included in the room, but if you’re here on the weekend, you might want to book a table for Sunday Brunch. Everything is a la carte (no buffet) and freshly made, including the excellent grilled chicken, sautéed onions, artichokes and aioli on a fresh-baked butter-kissed focaccia bun.
Amenities at the Envoy Hotel
Amenities include Rooftop Bar, in-house restaurant, large state of the art fitness room, workstations and printers in the lobby, USB ports and outlets throughout common areas, virtual pool table.
Just the Facts
Rooms at the Envoy Hotel range from $199-$500 depending on size and season, includes free wi-fi. One bedroom suites $700-$1,000.