10 New and Updated Boston Hotels for Meetings and Events

By Kara Baskin June 6, 2011, 10:10 AM EDT

Photo: Richard Mandelkorn

These new (and newly renovated) properties in Boston have meeting rooms, conference facilities, ballrooms, and outdoor spaces that can accommodate groups small and large. So consider these hotels for events, meetings, seminars, and business entertaining.

1. The Harbor Hotel Provincetown, near Provincetown center and open since May, is a sun-splashed, informal spot at the very tip of Cape Cod. The hotel’s banquet space, touted as Cape Cod’s largest, is capable of hosting gatherings of 250. The waterfront space offers a projector and screens, property-wide Wi-Fi, rental assistance, and free parking. Specially designed, full-service catering menus are available.

2. The Mandarin Oriental, a luxury hotel perched on busy Boylston Street, prides itself on state-of-the-art technology. The newly enhanced Suite 811, added in October, offers a “suite controller” that includes on-screen navigators, touch screens, intuitive remote controls, and preset, one-touch keypads. The suite serves as a stay room, and can also host intimate meetings for four. The hotel also has a full-service business center, multilingual concierge service, a spa, and function spaces of various sizes.

3. Overlooking Boston Harbor and minutes from the North End, the Fairmont Battery Wharf recently opened Aragosta Bar and Bistro, helmed by noted chef David Daniels. The restaurant gives New England seafood an Italian twist and offers waterfront vistas from its terrace. A new spa, Exhale, was added in the spring with a focus on mind-body work. The hotel houses nine meeting rooms—some with harbor views—which can accommodate as many as 240 guests.

3. Once a private golf club, the International is now a business retreat 40 minutes from Boston in rustic Bolton, known for its apple orchards. The space anchors two golf courses and offers guests custom-fit clubs by TaylorMade Performance Labs. In October, the venue appointed Todd English protégé Joe Brenner as executive chef. The Lodge contains 50 guest rooms and a choice of 15 meeting configurations. Their ballroom can accommodate 400; the conference center, which splits into three rooms, accommodates 150.

4. The Marriott Copley Place recently received a $22 million face-lift. Upgrades include a completely renovated first and second floor with new meeting rooms, an on-site exhibition space, a new business center, and the comfy Connexion lounge, which offers small plates, a wide selection of wines by the glass, and Wi-Fi access. The centerpiece of the hotel’s meeting space is a sprawling grand ballroom, which can provide seating for 3,640.

5. To celebrate its centennial, the stately Fairmont Copley Hotel recently began a $20 million guest room restoration. Enhancements include a 2,400-square-foot fitness center, scheduled for an August debut, and a 700-square-foot deck that wraps the building’s corridor. The hotel offers 13 meeting rooms and 23,000 square feet of conference space, and can accommodate groups of 1,100.

6. The Ames, once Boston’s first skyscraper, is now a cozy boutique hotel on the outskirts of Quincy Market. The hotel encourages repeat business visits: Its “leave it with us” service allows frequent guests to leave behind favorite items, from clothes to toiletries, to be placed in the room prior to each arrival. The Colonial-with-a-twist tavern Woodward added free Wi-Fi this month. A variety of meeting spaces can accommodate as many as 160 guests.

7. Formerly a jail, the Liberty Hotel has been reincarnated as one of Boston’s most popular hotels, thanks to its Lydia Shire-helmed restaurant, Scampo; popular lounge, Alibi; free summer yoga classes, held outside; and posh location at the edge of Beacon Hill. Meeting spaces include an open courtyard, airy rotundas, and a chandelier-studded ballroom that holds 350. In January, the hotel became part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, so meeting and event planners are eligible for Starwood Preferred Planner points.

8. The Seaport area is becoming one of Boston’s most vibrant neighborhoods thanks to an influx of shops, museums, and restaurants staking claims in the area. At the Renaissance Boston Waterfront, new chef Rich Garcia, appointed in November, has breathed fresh life into its dining and room service options with envelope-pushing offerings, like grilled octopus and duck-fat fries, culled from local sources. The hotel houses 21 meeting rooms; its Pacific Grand Ballroom seats 1,000.

9. The regal Hotel Commonwealth, steps from Fenway Park, is home to the new, wildly popular Island Creek Oyster Bar, which opened in October. The soaring dining room is available for buyout and seats 100. The hotel has 6,000 square feet of meeting space in nine different rooms. Suited to larger meetings, it can also accommodate 300 in its ballroom. The hotel is equipped for digital meetings, outfitted with high-speed Internet and audiovisual technology throughout. It’s also home to Eastern Standard, a restaurant known for its cocktail program.

10. The landmark Sheraton Commander, on the fringes of Harvard Square, recently upgraded its dining options with Nubar, one of the most buzzed-about openings of the spring. The seasonally driven American restaurant, which opened in April, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It offers private curtained dining space, which can seat 28 or host 60 for a cocktail reception. Wi-Fi is available, as are televisions with laptop connections. The soothing, burgundy-hued restaurant is connected to the hotel’s function space, which is festooned with ornate chandeliers and gold drapery. The hotel can accommodate as many as 400 in one of its ballrooms and offers five different function spaces.

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