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Boston Pairings: The Fairmont Copley Plaza

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Boston Pairings: The Fairmont Copley Plaza

Known as Art Square until 1883, Copley Square was Boston’s original center for educational and cultural institutions, a reflection of the city’s progressive aspirations. Built on the original site of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fairmont Copley Plaza remains its Grand Dame.

With Magellan’s carefully curated selection of luxury hotels and a high walkability index, there is no ‘bad’ place to stay in the city. But for a tightly-packed short stay, the Copley Square area, in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, offers access to renowned art and architecture, fine restaurant experiences, luxury shopping, professional sports events and the city’s historic green spaces. Neighborhoods farther afield are easily accessed by the T’s Green Line (metro) stop Copley Square, just steps from the Fairmont’s front door.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza

Walking into the Fairmont Copley Plaza, via the hand-laid mosaic tile floor of Peacock Alley, is like stepping into a palace; even the most habitual travellers will be struck by its opulence, generous size and classic form. Designed by architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh and opened in 1912, it is the ‘sister’ to New York’s Plaza Hotel and, like the Plaza, reflects life lived on a grand scale.

In preparation for its 100th anniversary in 2012, the Fairmont Copley Plaza renovated its 383 guestrooms and suites as well as its common areas, carefully marrying modern amenities with its signature historic charm. Adjacent to Peacock Alley, the elegant Lobby Lounge is lavishly furnished and complemented by impressive art, including signed lithographs by Matisse, Picasso and Chagall, creating an ideal space for quiet reflection, conversation or appreciating the architecture and design of the place.

Beyond the extravagant common areas, there are eight professionally-curated suites that highlight unique aspects of Boston’s culture and history. The themes of these museums-in-a-room include: the Museum of Fine Arts; Boston Pops; Boston Symphony Orchestra; The Freedom Trail; the JFK Library and Museum; Boston Public Library; The Museum of Science; and The Catie Copley Suite, named for the hotel’s resident canine.

The OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, with its industrial-inspired 83-foot copper-topped bar, state-of-the-art wine room and farm-to-table American menu, is a modern interpretation of a university club. Its space extends during the fairer months to its outdoor patio, an ideal place to enjoy hand-crafted cocktails, sunsets and people-watching.

The rooftop houses a 3,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art gym, floor to ceiling windows and an outdoor seating area with a view of the square and beyond.

Local Shopping

There are three high-end shopping experiences within a few minutes’ walk:

Prudential Center – 75+ upscale stores and boutiques are housed in this indoor shopping mall under immense glass skylights and domes

Newbury Street – There are more than 150 freestanding shops along, or close to, glamorous Newbury Street, with an emphasis on luxury boutiques.

Copley Place – Copley Place stretches over 10 acres and is anchored by retail showstoppers such as Barney’s New York, Christian Dior, David Yurman, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tiffany & Co.

Boston Copley Square

In the Neighborhood – Food, Culture and Sporting Events

Check with your hotel’s concierge for au courant dining options and reservations as well as seasonal music and live theater recommendations. Here are some of the local cultural offerings

Boston Center for the Arts

Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) is a not-for-profit performing and visual arts campus that supports working artists to create, perform and exhibit new works; develops new audiences; and connects the arts to community.

Boch Center – Wang Theatre

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wang Theatre has housed the performing arts since opening in 1925, developing from a movie “cathedral” and home to vaudeville musicals and big bands, to today’s role as an impressive venue for world-class theatre, music, Broadway, and dance.

Berklee Performance Center

Showcasing more than 200 events each year, the BPC may just be the busiest, most unique theater in Boston. Owned and operated by Berklee College of Music, the BPC hosts concerts by talented students, faculty, and visiting artists, as well as a wide variety of productions presented by outside promoters, arts presenters, and community organizations. Events at the BPC span every musical genre and represent a broad range of countries and cultures, from traditional artists to contemporary innovators defining the future of music.

Boston Symphony Hall

The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert on October 22, 1881. Today, the Boston Symphony Orchestra continues to fulfill and expand upon the vision of its founder Henry Lee Higginson, not only through its concert performances, educational offerings, and internet presence, but also through its expanding use of virtual and electronic media in a manner reflecting the BSO’s continuing awareness of today’s modern, ever-changing, 21st-century world.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts was founded in 1870 and opened in 1876, with most of its initial collection taken from the Boston Athenæum Art Gallery. The museum was originally located in a highly ornamented brick Gothic Revival building in Copley Square designed by John Hubbard Sturgis and Charles Brigham which was noted for its massed architectural terracotta in an American building. Explore one of the most comprehensive museums in the world with art from ancient Egyptian to contemporary.

Copley Square Boston

The Boston Public Library

While hanging out in a library may not be your usual first choice, entering the main branch of the Boston Public Library is like entering Aladdin’s cave. Yes, there are rare books, maps and early Shakespearean folios, but there is also extraordinary architecture, art and reclusive, sun-soaked restful spaces.

The building is designed by noted New York starchitect Charles McKim of McKim, Mead & White fame. Galleries include the Chavannes Gallery, the Abbey Room, the Elliot Room, Bates Hall and the Sargent Gallery, filled with murals by the great English painter John Singer Sargent.

The library’s arches and ceilings of Guastavino tile rival any of the Guastavino projects found in New York City.

Arguably, the most delightful part of the building is the interior courtyard bounded by an arcaded promenade, designed after the arcade of the Cancelleria Palace in Rome. Pull up a chair and curl up with a book in the sun in this intimate, perfect garden. It will become the ‘secret’ space against which you will measure all others.

Need one last divine secret? The library’s Courtyard Restaurant offers lunch every day of the week (a la carte) and High Tea service from Wednesday through Saturday for $35 per person. High tea includes all the delicious dainties one expects and would be a highlight on any day of the week or an exquisite surprise for a special person in your life.

Free, daily one-hour architectural tours are an excellent introduction to the building and its collections.

Copley Square Boston Public Library

Copley Square Boston Public Library

Copley Square Boston Public Library

Copley Square Boston Public Library

Professional Sports Teams in Boston

The Boston Red Sox @Fenway Park

To get there: Take any ‘D’ train on the T Green Line from Copley Square and get off at the next station, ‘Fenway.’ Or take a 20-minute (1.1 mile) walk to the park.

The Boston Celtics & Boston Bruins @TD Garden 

To get there: 8 minutes (1.7 miles) by taxi; less than 20 minutes (6 stops) on the T Green Line from Copley Square and get off at ‘North Station.’ Or take a 35-minute (1.6 mile) walk to the stadium.

Boston Pairings: The Fairmont Copley Plaza

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