Historically speaking, Boston is a city that celebrates transformation. We’re the birthplace of a certain American Revolution, after all, home to the most punk-rock tea party that ever happened on this side of the pond.
Today, Downtown Boston is one of the most rapidly changing neighborhoods in the Hub. The former “Combat Zone” — once a destination for adult entertainment (ooh la la!) — is now home to sophisticated restaurants and luxury condos. In recent years, Emerson College, a widely-renowned media-arts university, has reshaped downtown’s Theater District by revitalizing once-dark venues:
- In June, Emerson reopens the hibernating Colonial Theatre with the pre-Broadway premiere of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” a high-kicking affair produced through a new ongoing partnership with London-based Ambassador Theatre Group, an international arts-world heavyweight. (Start practicing your “Lady Marmalade” karaoke…)
- Closer to bustling Downtown Crossing, the constantly-sprouting sleek high-rises include Millennium Tower, now the third-tallest building in Boston
- Historic spaces find fresh life as modern institutions like Yvonne’s — a sexy restaurant-hotspot housed on the site of one of Boston’s oldest restaurants, that pays cheeky homage to the Hub history. Check out the glitzy chandeliers and book-lined library lounge, covered in quirky, ironic oil paintings of Christopher Walken and Bill Murray as military generals.
Boston always keeps it interesting. And so do we. Our Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel just underwent a transformation that plays perfectly into the old world-meets-new vibe defining Downtown Boston. The timeless property, overlooking iconic Boston Common and the Public Garden on one side and the fast-changing downtown skyline on the other, just received a fabulous facelift throughout its common spaces and 190 guest rooms. The Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel’s restaurant and cocktail den, Highball Lounge, is getting its own new identity by summer’s end — so stay tuned.
In the living room-inspired lobby, swathed in soothing cognac tones with velvet and metal accents, residential-style blinds offer peekaboo views of buzzing Tremont Street. A funky neon sign — “Pick Your Poison” — perks up a fanciful yet refined space that hosts wine socials, live music, and pop-up appearances from local craft brewers and distilleries.
The new guest rooms feel like modern townhouses you might find on nearby Beacon Hill, combining historic-feeling elements — gorgeous wide-plank wooden floors and exposed-filament, Edison-style lighting fixtures — with contemporary luxury and whimsy. Our favorite pieces include the signature Eames Lounge Chair (a contemporary design masterpiece in the collection of NYC’s Museum of Modern Art) and some quirky paintings, like a portrait of a gin-drinking Boston Terrier in a monocle and top hat.
For the pinnacle of playful poshness, though, the spotlight is on the Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel penthouse. The spacious suite, finished with elements of sumptuous leather and slick marble, expands on the high-end hominess of the hotel’s new look. There’s a billiards table, vinyl record player, and even a gleaming telescope, so guests can gaze from 19th-floor windows to golden dome of the State House on the other side of America’s oldest city park.
When the sun goes down, guests crawl into a plush bed, over which hangs a framed copy of real romantic letters between John and Abigail Adams. Sometimes you just need a quick snooze — and a refreshed face — to fall in love all over again.
— Scott Kearnan