Plenty of reasons to visit Boston Four Seasons

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BOSTON -- I've heard a lot about pet-friendly hotels over the years, but it took a visit to a luxury property to actually see a four-legged creature inside a hotel.

Standing in the lobby of the Four Seasons here one evening, I saw two pug dogs wearing fancy collars make their way past me to the concierge counter. They were looking for a restaurant recommendation, or rather their people were. The pugs looked quite dignified as they headed out with their owners, an elderly couple who were guests at the hotel.

"The Four Seasons is definitely kid-friendly and pet-friendly," said Sarah Leaf-Herrman, director of public relations.

"We have a lot of families with children staying here, and several regular guests who bring their pets," she said, including one fellow who routinely checks in with his parrot.

The two pugs were the only pets I saw during my stay, but I did watch several youngsters have a grand time in the hotel's heated pool one afternoon.

Under its Kids for All Seasons policy, the hotel caters to youngsters with goodies like cookies and milk, kid-sized bathrobes and slippers, an in-room toy box, coloring books and a special kids' menu in the hotel restaurant and at the pool.

While children and pets can be the most obvious of guests, one doesn't have to look far to find affluent ladies carrying Prada shopping bags and businesspeople talking into cell phones as they step into limousines lined up at the front entrance.

Like its average guest, the Four Seasons Boston is impeccably decorated. Its enormous lobby has a dramatic look, with a gleaming black and gold marble floor, dark wood paneling, elegant sitting areas and glass display cases sporting Cartier pens and jewelry.

And, as with most hotels of this caliber, the reception and concierge desks are staffed so that no guest is kept waiting.

During a tour of the hotel, Leaf-Herrman pointed out a major upgrade to the hotel's Presidential Suite, where a $2 million refurbishment has just been completed. "The whole suite was gutted and redone," she said, and now features antique furnishings, floor-to-ceiling windows and too many large-screen plasma TVs to count. There's even one in the bathroom.

The suite rents for $6,000 a night and attracts the likes of Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand and Sting, she said. The only remaining prerenovation item is a baby grand piano.

Another project later this year will involve the hotel's fifth floor, which will be transformed from a series of meetings rooms into one huge spa.

The existing hotel health club has steam and sauna and one treatment room each in the men's and women's changing areas. It offers a fitness center, massages and some body treatments, such as polishes, but no facials, pedicures, manicures or hair services.

"Once the new spa is done," Leaf-Herrman said, "we'll be able to offer a much wider range of treatments and services. And these days, you know, spas are big business."

A standard room with a king bed at the Four Seasons goes for $425, but there are several value-added packages being offered this spring and summer. (See story below for package details.)

The hotel's Bristol Lounge, which includes a bar and restaurant and a pianist on weekend nights, was crowded when I visited and also drew more patrons for breakfast than I would have guessed. The Bristol's menu offers standard American cuisine but also adds some unexpected offerings, such as salmon with miso soup for breakfast.

The hotel's signature restaurant, Aujourd'hui, said to be among the best in Boston, was closed for renovations during my visit but is scheduled to reopen soon.

To contact reporter Donna Tunney, send e-mail to [email protected].

Hotel rolls out new packages

BOSTON -- A variety of packages celebrating art, romance and history is being offered by the Four Seasons. Here's a sampling of what's featured:

• The Museum of Fine Arts plan covers overnight accommodations for two, breakfasts, parking and VIP tickets to the "Gaughin Tahiti" exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. It's priced at $415 through June 20.

• The Celebrate Romance package includes an overnight stay for two, parking, use of the health club and taxes and tips. It costs $685 for stays through May 31.

• Let Freedom Ring, valid through Oct. 11, features accommodations for up to two adults and two children; a guided tour of the city's Freedom Trail; tickets to the New England Aquarium, Children's Museum and the Museum of Science; three in-room movies; meals for the children; and parking. The two-night plan starts at $1,675.

• The Bed and Breakfast package, valid all year, covers breakfasts and overnight accommodations for two. It costs $445 per night. -- D.T.

• • •

Room key: Four Seasons Hotel
Address:
200 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (800) 332-3442
Fax: (617) 351-2251
Web:www.fourseasons.com
Hotel manager: Thierry Kennel
Guest rooms: 272, including 71 suites
Ballroom and meetings space: 12,000 square feet
Rates: Starting at $425 for a standard room.

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