Staying at the Nine Zero Hotel by Kimpton was the best reintroduction to Boston that we could have received. Ten years after visiting the city together as friends, and twelve years after I moved back to Vancouver after living in Massachusetts, John and I hauled our luggage up from Park Street station and walked over to the Nine Zero at 90 Tremont Street.
Metal lettering embossed in the sidewalk in front of the hotel read: “Relax”. After taking a red-eye to New York then an Amtrak into Boston, I stepped over the message and made my turn through the revolving door, prepared to do just that.
“Welcome to Boston,” the staff at the boutique hotel greeted us and quickly followed up with: “Would you like some wine?”
We had arrived during the hosted wine hour in the lobby and although I had a computer bag on one shoulder and a carry-on handle in one hand, I freed some fingers to clasp the stem of the incoming glass of merlot. Just steps off the historic Freedom Trail in Downtown Boston, the entrance to the Nine Zero was bright and modern, with a floral scent in the air that followed us past the couches and chess pieces, down the hallway past lime green chairs, and into the elevator.
Ascending to the 18th floor we turned the corner to our hotel room where it felt like Christmas morning. I opened the door to see the first piece of a trail of welcome notes and amenities, but I was soon completely distracted by the view.
“Hello Boston!” we exclaimed as we pulled back the sheers and looked out at Boston Common, the State House, Tremont Street, Back Bay, Hancock Place, the Prudential Tower, the Charles River, and Cambridge.
At time of check-in, the sun was setting and reflecting off the 23 karat gold dome of the State House. This spectacle bathed our entire room in an amber glow.
I snapped a few photos around the room and spotted the signature Kimpton leopard print robe, to which I was first introduced when we stayed in a Kimpton in San Francisco in 2009:
Then I went back to collect the welcome notes that were placed from the front door, to the desk, the bed, and the bedside table:
The Nine Zero’s Highball Lounge wasn’t open when we arrived, its hours are Wednesday to Saturday, so they made dinner reservations for us at Artisan Bistro just down the street. All of these incredibly thoughtful gestures, paired with the spectacular room views, filled us with all of the love we’ve missed from Boston during these years away, and validated our return to this wonderful city for our vacation.
What I Loved
The welcome: While our in-room greeting was very personal (complete with cheese and fruit plate, cupcakes, and a bottle of bubbly) all guests do receive a health amenity upon arrival. If your arrival coincides with the hosted wine hour, even better. You’ll get the same welcome glass we received in the lobby.
The location: We walked over to Boston Common, walked to breakfast, walked to dinner. Everywhere we needed to go, we could get there on foot from Nine Zero Hotel. If we couldn’t walk to our destination, Park Street Station at Boston Common was literally 160 meters away.
We purchased a 7-day CharlieTicket from an MBTA kiosk for $16 that allowed unlimited Zone 1-1A travel during that time. This included buses, and all lines of subway and streetcar. Park Street hosts the Green and Red lines, with the Red line being our main route to get out to South Station (for the train) and Cambridge (for our Harvard Square, and Porter Square adventures out to Concord), and the Green line taking us to Fenway Park for a Red Sox game.
The privacy: Even though our room opened up 180 degrees to the Boston skyline, we felt like we were tucked away in our own private corner of the city. The hallways in the hotel were quiet, we couldn’t hear any street noise, and the only sound that penetrated our windows while the sun was up was the calming chimes of the 200 year old Park Street Church bell tower. We could have been more engaged with the hotel, participating each night in the wine hour or playing a game in the lobby, but since we were on a mission for romance and celebrating our 10 year meet-a-versary, we loved that it was easy to get all the quiet alone time we wanted even in the heart of the bustling city.
The Kimpton perks: Hosted wine hour in the lobby (yes, I keep mentioning it but it’s a great feature), free Wi-Fi for Kimpton Karma points members, yoga mats in your room, and activities like doing a run around the Common with the hotel GM on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00am. John was tempted by this but we had been so active in our exploration of the region that a sleep-in took priority.
One Change I Would Make
It’s not even a big one. Well, it is about size but it didn’t hinder our vacation in any way. In one corner of the room, opposite the windows, there was a very large cabinet that was round at the front. The TV sat on top, it had a shelf in the middle, and on the bottom there was a cupboard for the minibar. Since it was tucked in the corner one would think that a flat or even angled-to-the-corner cabinet would be better suited. It stuck out quite a bit into the room which already lacked floor space. We didn’t really have anywhere to put our suitcases, since the closet was also occupied by a shelf and safe, so we put our main suitcase on the stand right by the front door and my smaller suitcase stayed on a low window sill.
What I love about Boston was reflected in our hotel. Friendly people, down-to-earth with modern style and technology, an appreciation for history, being on-the-go but also savouring relaxation.
We sincerely enjoyed our room and everything about the hotel’s service, location, and amenities. We woke up to Boston every day together and thanks to the Nine Zero, we were able to have our little adventures around the city before coming home to a comfortable room where we fell asleep looking out at the city we love so dearly.