Hotel Review: Former 19th Century Office Building in Boston’s Financial District offers 21st Century Comfort as Design-Driven Deluxe Hotel.

The deluxe Ames Boston Hotel (center right with historic facade) was the former Ames Office Building, the tallest building in Boston when constructed in 1883. (photo courtesy Ames Boston Hotel)

Review by Ron Bernthal

From the Orange Line’s State Street subway station I walked across the street to the Ames Boston Hotel, a 13-story, luxury boutique property that had once been Boston’s tallest skyscraper when it opened as an office building in 1893. Originally the home of the Ames Company, a manufacturer of America’s first shovels and other agricultural tools, the firm was founded in the 1770’s and is the oldest existing company in the United States, now headquartered in Pennsylvania.

The building became one of the tallest masonry load bearing-wall structures in the world, meaning the 13 story building was built without steel, with a three story granite base and sandstone and brick façade. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The conversion of the building to the Ames Boston Hotel was completed in 2009.

The lobby is intimate and stylish, with an eclectic chandelier, designed by Rolf Knudsen and made of thousands of reflective mylar discs, suspended on wires over the interior entry way. Above the chandelier is a stunning, domed mosaic ceiling, preserved from the original 19-century architecture. An interesting juxtaposition. The front desk clerk was friendly and efficient, and off to one side of the lobby is the hotel’s King Street Tavern, a pleasant, casual dining venue with long, communal wood tables as well as smaller individual tables situated next to large windows overlooking Court Street. This convenient on-site restaurant serves breakfast and dinner.

The original domed, mosaic tile ceiling from the 1893 Ames Office Building has been preserved in the Ames Boston Hotel lobby. (photo Ron Bernthal)

My third floor accommodations was a wonderfully designed, minimalist “loft” style King bed guest room (there are only four loft-style rooms out of 114 guest rooms and suites), with a huge, eye-brow style window overlooking the street and the Old State House (1713). This particular room has high ceilings, bare oak floors, and an open-configuration with a sitting area and a large comfortable couch separated from the bedroom by a half-wall that held two back-to-back 42” HDTV’s, allowing TV viewing from each area. The room had two great-looking amenities, a Vers model radio/alarm/iPod docking station, and a brushed silver aluminum Pablo Pardo-designed tube LED desk light that sat on a white work desk.

View from loft-style guest room at State and Court Streets, and Boston’s 1713 Old State House (photo Ron Bernthal)

The extra-large bathrooms are one of the hotel’s most popular features. My bathroom was separated from the bedroom by a huge glass window, through which the commode, shower and sink was all quite visible. The property promotes their “infamous sexy showers” on marketing materials, and they are quite nice, with deep-seated marble bathtubs in some of the rooms, and streamlined stainless-steel fixtures. Modest couples, however, should note that the optional sheer curtains that can be drawn over the bathroom window will not conceal much.
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and, despite its casual “boutique” ambience, provides all the standard property amenities found in larger deluxe hotels, including a 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour business center, concierge services, valet parking, and meeting and event space.

King bed guest room, view from glass-wall shower. (photo Ames Boston Hotel)

Boston has been a leader among U.S. cities where 19th century structures have been successfully converted into downtown luxury hotels. These include a former bank, a jail, a customs house and police headquarters. Several of the city’s current historic hotels were originally built as hotel properties and have been beautifully restored, including the Omni Parker House, which opened in 1855 and is the longest continuously operating hotel in the country.

The Ames Boston Hotel is located on Court Street, in the heart of the city’s financial district and is a short walk to the Government Center, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Beacon Hill, Boston Commons, several subway lines and Amtrak’s South Street Station.


Contact:

Ames Hotel Boston
1 Court Street
Boston, MA 02198
Ph: 617-979-8100
www.amesbostonhotel.com

Historic Hotels of America™ Launches Romance Super Site, Guide to Getaways, Weddings, Celebrations

Jekyll Island Club, Georgia, a member of Historic Hotels of America which has just launched a super site dedicated to romance © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WASHINGTON, DC- Looking for a weekend getaway or a romantic vacation or a destination wedding? HistoricHotels.org/Romance is your source for romance inspired travel and heartfelt ideas. Use Historic Hotels of America as your guide to plan a luxury retreat, a garden wedding, or a romantic night out on the town. From romantic escapes to reunions, weddings to honeymoons and of course, anniversaries, Historic Hotels of America turns romantic celebrations into life’s most cherished moments. With over 260 historic hotels, inns, and resorts, Historic Hotels of America is home to the largest collection of romantic hotels. When history meets romance, nothing can be sweeter.

Historic Hotels of America has launched its all new romantic escapes e-guide, featuring more than 150 pages of new and expanded content highlighting its most romantic historic hotels, more content and destinations continue to be added. From romantic getaways to reunions, weddings to honeymoons and anniversaries, the new HistoricHotels.org/Romance puts romantic historic hotels and destinations in the spotlight, turning romantic celebrations into life’s most cherished moments. HistoricHotels.org/Romance has a number of inspirational sections for travelers to peruse the site’s many romantic escapes, including:

Romantic getaways. Historic Hotels of America has romantic inns, hotels, and resorts that blend history, luxury, and location into the ultimate destination, perfect for weekend getaways or vacation stays. Home to one of the world’s largest free-span dome, the West Baden Springs Hotel (1902) in French Lick, Indiana is an architectural wonder and just one of many marvels that will take your beloved’s breath away during your stay. This hotel has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark French Lick Springs Hotel (1845), also located within French Lick Resort boasts a spa that offers the best in tranquility, the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing treatment with your loved one. Travelers can select from more than 30 romantic hotels in the upper Midwest.

Grand Hotel (1887) on Mackinac Island, Michigan is the ideal location for a couple to steal away for a romantic getaway. In addition to the hotel’s five-course dinner served in the Main Dining Room, the Woods Restaurant, an opulent Tudor mansion accessible only by horse-drawn carriage, nestled in the wooded interior of Mackinac Island.

Weddings. Ambiance, architecture and history blend to create a storybook wedding. In Paso Robles, California where orange rays streak through lush gardens, your wedding photos will be works of art thanks to the Paso Robles Inn’s (1891) breathtaking gardens. With a number of outdoor wedding venues to choose from, couples can exchange their vows next to a babbling brook, then dance the night away at a fireside patio reception. Select from more than 19 romantic hotels in California.

Eureka Spring, Arkansas is often known as “The Wedding Capital of The South.” The 1886 Crescent Hotel’s (1886) picturesque location atop West Mountain and its proximity to Thorncrown Chapel make the hotel one of the most photographed wedding ceremony and reception sites in the contiguous six-state region.

Honeymoons. Create the honeymoon experience of your dreams and sweep your new bride or groom off their feet. Historic hotels are the perfect backdrop to set off on your newlywed celebration. The Caribe Hilton San Juan (1949) is the perfect locale for your romantic honeymoon with tranquil waves lapping at the shore of the secluded beach and seductive trade winds swaying into exotic gardens. Guests will come to understand why this AAA Four Diamond award-winning San Juan beach resort is the perfect backdrop for a honeymoon, or select from four romantic hotels in Puerto Rico.

As Waikiki’s only true destination resort, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort Honolulu (1955) has everything newlyweds will need for the most romantic honeymoon including breathtaking beaches, luxurious accommodations, fine dining, scenic views, and fun activities. Or select from the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa (1901), the first lady of Waikiki, or The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort (1927) the pink palace of the Pacific.

Celebrations. Take time to celebrate life’s special moments. From engagement parties, anniversary getaways and life’s other important celebrations, Historic Hotels of America has just the right setting to commemorate your important milestone. The Lord Baltimore Hotel (1928) in Baltimore, Maryland is the ideal setting for an engagement party, bridal shower, or anniversary party. With a great city-center setting, The Lord Baltimore is the perfect location for all of your out-of-town guests with attractions and shops mere steps away. The French Kitchen sits at the top of the lobby’s grand staircase in the historic mirrored Versailles Room, and focuses on market-driven interpretations of classic French bistro fare, perfect for your special party or event. Travelers can also select from over 28 romantic hotels in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia region.

Reunions. Family history is born out of love and strengthened when those roots are cherished. For this reason, historical, romantic settings lend way for great family reunion inspiration. One of America’s most scenic routes, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the perfect setting for romantic drives and family adventure. Winding through North Carolina, this scenic highway boasts hazy mountains and colorful woodlands, idyllic for a family reunion getaway. The Green Park Inn (1891) in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is a reunion favorite with generations of history peaking in the High Country mountains. Choose from over 12 hotels in the Carolinas.

“This is a year-round campaign launching in time for Valentine’s Day. Romance is not just one day a year, it is year-round at our historic hotels,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “Love stories are breathless moments that stand the test of time. Write your next chapter at one of the many Historic Hotels of America, where ambiance, architecture, and history blend to create timeless romance. Historic Hotels of America is the largest collection of the most romantic hotels anywhere. Whether you’re courting, celebrating, rekindling, or reminiscing, we have the romantic escape for you.”

From booking a romantic getaway with your stunning sweetheart or planning the next family reunion, take a look on HistoricHotels.org/Romance where Every Day is Valentine’s Day at Historic Hotels of America.

Historic Hotels of America® is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation® for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Founded in 1989 with 32 charter members, today, Historic Hotels of America has more than 260 historic hotels. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated properties.  More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, visit HistoricHotels.org.

To receive the free Discover & Explore e-newsletter each month with advance notice about Insiders Savings, special discounts, epic package, and up and coming events in historic hotels in 30 countries, plus free or reduced rate admission to historic and cultural sites, click here.

To view the Historic Hotels of America 2015 Annual Directory eBook, click here.

 

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Historic Hotels of America Presents its Most Haunted Hotels

Drop in any night to “America’s Most Haunted Hotel”: The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is host to a wide variety of spirits.

Washington, D.C. –  Historic Hotels of America invites travelers to visit America’s most haunted hotels. More than 110 historic hotels are still home to friendly hauntings. From spooky hotel tours and spirited stories, to real life hauntings, many members of Historic Hotels of America have great getaways in store for guests. Take advantage of fall themed packages available on HistoricHotels.org. Here are some tales for the traveler interested in haunted hospitality:

Admiral Fell Inn (1770) Baltimore, Maryland

The Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore has changed since the time when it was filled with crime-ridden saloons, brothels, and shipyards, but that doesn’t mean the spirits of the time have left. The Admiral Fell Inn is no stranger to ghost stories. Guests have often reported seeing floating sailors and disappearing butlers knocking on their doors. A hotel manager is also said to have heard a loud party after the hotel was evacuated during a hurricane. This comes as no surprise as parts of the building date back to the 1770s when it was a theater and boarding house where seamen, immigrants and “ladies of the night” would pass through.

To book your fall getaway click here.

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa (1886) Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is host to a wide variety of spirits, hence the moniker “America’s Most Haunted Hotel.” It is said that after the skeleton frame of hotel had been constructed in the 1880s that one of the Irish stone masons plunged to his death in what is now guestroom 218. This room proves to be the most spiritually active room in the hotel and has attracted television film crews for decades because of the quantity and quality of the ghost sightings reported. Throughout the history of the  hotel, employees have referred to this entity at “Michael,” a classified poltergeist due to the nature of the unexplained activity. Guests have witnessed hands coming out of the bathroom mirror, cries of a falling man in the ceiling, the door opening then slamming shut, unable to be opened again. The intrigue of this activity had drawn guests to specifically request the historic accommodations of guestroom 218 for the chance of experiencing something.

To book your fall getaway click here.

Jekyll Island Club Hotel (1887) Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island Club Hotel (1887) Jekyll Island, Georgia. Is it JP Morgan’s cigar smoke that you smell in Sans Souci? © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Sans Souci, one of the separate buildings of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a four-story structure that was designed by Charles Alling Gifford in 1896. It was originally a condominium with apartments for six members and their families. One of these members, J. Pierpont Morgan, was especially fond of the large porch which graced the front of his apartment and allowed a view of the Jekyll River. He was a cigar smoker and would rise every morning at 5:00 a.m. to have a smoke on the porch without criticism from others. Morgan was fond of large, black cigars shaped like Hercules’ club, and they say you’d know where he was there by following the trail of the smoke. Contemporary guests who occupy this third floor, north end accommodation usually are not up at 5:00 in the morning, but several guests who have arisen at that hour have faintly smelled the odor of a cigar wafting about when absolutely no one else had been awake and certainly not one smoking a cigar.

To book your fall getaway click here.

The Omni Grove Park Inn (1913) Asheville, North Carolina

For nearly half a century there has been the belief by many employees and guests that there is a ghost who roams the hallways of the Main Inn. She is referred to as the Pink Lady because of the flowing pink gown she wears. It is believed that this young woman was a guest in guestroom 545 in the 1920s and that she either jumped or was pushed to her death in the Palm Court, five floors below. No records exist that support any of these claims but it may have been hushed up to avoid negative publicity. Reports of her sightings still occur, some say they just see a pink mist, others a full apparition of a young long-haired beauty in a pink gown.

To book your fall getaway click here.

The Red Lion Inn (1773) Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA: It has been said that guests have awoken to the feeling of someone standing over them at the foot of the bed © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Ghostly rumors continue to swirl at the inn which has seen the likes of many paranormal investigators and mediums. The fourth floor, in particular, has been said to have the most activity. Both cleaning staff and guests have claimed to see a “ghostly young girl carrying flowers” and “a man in a top hat.” It has been said that guests have awoken to the feeling of someone standing over them at the foot of the bed. Cold spots, unexplained knocks, and electrical disturbances have all been reported. Guestroom 301 is also known to be a haunted hot spot.

To book your fall getaway click here.

The Stanley (1909) Estes Park, Colorado

When precisely the strange events began happening at the Stanley Hotel has never been documented, but interesting occurrences are a part of the history of this hotel. Ms. Elizabeth Wilson was the chief housekeeper at The Stanley Hotel in its very early days. On the evening of June 25, 1911, during a storm, she was involved in an explosion that took place as she was lighting the acetylene lanterns that were the back-up system for the hotel’s electricity. Ms. Wilson was shot down in the explosion from what is now guestroom 217 to the floor of the MacGregor Room one story below. She was not killed, but her ankles were broken. Since the 1950s, it has been reported that she might take special care of people who stay in 217. Sometimes guests staying in that room encounter extra housekeeping services, including having their things put away or unpacked.

To book your fall getaway click here.

Promoting Cultural & Heritage Travel to Prestigious Historic Treasures

Historic Hotels of America was founded in 1989 by the National Trust for Historic Preservationwith 32 charter members and today, has more than 260 historic hotels. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated properties, but more than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, visit HistoricHotels.org.

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Historic Hotels of America Announces 2013 Annual Award Winners, Celebrates Milestones

The famous lobby at the Willard Hotel, the Washington DC hotel which dates from 1850 for which the term “lobbyist” was coined, as individuals seeking favor waited in the lobby. the Willard InterContinental was named Best City Center Historic Hotel © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Historic Hotels of America named its 2013 Annual Awards recipients at its gala, held at The Pfister Hotel (1893). Honors were given in multiple categories ranging from Hotelier of the Year and Hotel Historian of the Year to Sustainability Champion and Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel.

Each year, these awards honor, encourage, and recognize the most exemplary historic hotels, hoteliers, and leadership practices. The Historic Hotels of America Hotel of the Year Award is the highest honor awarded. The Best Historic Hotel awards are given to historic hotels demonstrating the highest contribution to furthering the celebration of history and demonstrating leadership and innovation in one of four categories ranging from under 75 to 400 guest rooms.

Of a strong group of nominees, the following Historic Hotels of America hotels and hoteliers were honored with these prestigious awards:

Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year

o   The Jefferson, Washington, D.C. (1923) Washington, D.C.

Historic Hotelier of the Year

o   Dennis Costello, Historic Hotel Bethlehem (1922) Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guest Rooms)

o   The Wort Hotel (1941) Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Best Historic Hotel (75-200 Guest Rooms)

o   Gettysburg Hotel, Est. 1797  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Best Historic Hotel (200-400 Guest Rooms)

o   Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (1923) Ojai, California

Best Historic Hotel (Over 400 Guest Rooms)

o   Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa (1847) Point Clear, Alabama

Best City Center Historic Hotel

o   The Willard InterContinental (1850) Washington, D.C.

Best Historic Resort

o   French Lick Resort (1845) French Lick, Indiana

Hotel Historian of the Year

o   Bob Tagatz, Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year

o   The Morrissey Family, The Saint Paul Hotel (1910) St. Paul, Minnesota

Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel

o   Plume at The Jefferson, Washington, D.C., (1923) Washington, D.C.

Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel

o   The Stanley (1909) Estes Park, Colorado

Historic Hotels of America Sustainability Champion

o   Timberline Lodge (1938) Timberline, Oregon

Historic Hotels of America Ambassador of the Year (Quarter Century Service)

o   George Moore, The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa (1852) Mobile, Alabama

Historic Hotels of America Heritage Award

o   The Marcus Family, The Pfister Hotel (1893) Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Historic Hotels of America Community Leadership Award

o   The Lenox (1900) Boston, Massachusetts

Historic Hotels of America Lifetime Achievement Award

o   Thierry Roch, Former Executive Director, Historic Hotels of America

The hotels were nominated by fellow members, past award recipients, and honorees. Award winners were judiciously chosen by the Historic Hotels of America selection committee.

“Historic Hotels of America is proud to announce the 2013 Annual Award winners,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “These historic hotels and hoteliers are the finest across America. They inspire travelers to discover and experience the treasures where America’s history was written.”

As the Official Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America provides the recognition to travelers, civic leaders, and the global cultural, heritage, and historic travel market that the member hotels are among the finest historic hotels across America.

Historic Hotels of America Honors Members Celebrating Milestones

Historic Hotels of America honored hotels celebrating a significant anniversary* in 2013, and those planning a 2014 celebration, at a special “Milestones & Celebrations” luncheon at the Historic Hotels of America 24th Annual Conference.. The celebration luncheon was held at The Pfister Hotel (1893) in Milwaukee.

“We are pleased to recognize eight 2013 historic hotels for achieving milestones ranging from 100 to 250 years old since first built and look forward to six historic hotels celebrating events and activities in 2014 for achieving similar milestones,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “In 2013, these historic hotels have recreated, commemorated or celebrated significant events and history from their past.  These hotels are where an important part of the history of America was written.   Their celebrations and achievements over the past 100 to 250 years are testimony to the contributions each has made to the heritage and economy of the towns and cities where they were built.”

2013 Historic Milestones and Celebrations:

100 Years:

Amway Grand Plaza, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1913-2013

Grande Colonial Hotel, La Jolla, California 1913-2013

Hotel Du Pont, Wilmington, Delaware, 1913-2013

Omni Severin Hotel, Indianapolis, Indiana 1913-2013

The Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande, Florida 1913-2013

The Omni Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, Asheville, North Carolina 1913-2013

125 Years:

Casa Monica Hotel, St. Augustine, Florida 1888-2013

250 Years:

John Rutledge House Inn, Charleston, South Carolina 1763-2013

2014 Historic Milestones and Celebrations:

75 Years:

The Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida 1939-2014

National Hotel Miami Beach, Miami Beach, Florida 1939-2014

100 Years:

Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport, Maine 1914-2014

Lake McDonald Lodge, Glacier National Park, Montana 1914-2014

125 Years:

The Blennerhassett Hotel, Parkersburg, West Virginia 1889-2014

150 Years:

The Morrison-Clark Inn, Washington, District of Columbia 1864-2014

(25 year anniversaries begin at 75 year increments as all member lodgings must be at least 50 years old to qualify for membership in Historic Hotels of America.)

About Historic Hotels of America® is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Historic Hotels of America was founded in 1989 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation® with 32 charter members.  In 2007, Preferred Hotel Group partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to grow and enhance Historic Hotels of America. Historic Hotels of America has more than 244 historic hotels. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated properties.  More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, visit www.HistoricHotels.org.

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