The Colonnade is definitely a hotel with a split personality.
I stayed two nights at the Colonnade while at a business meeting in late September and, despite a room rate of $239 a night, got a room that looked like a bad hold-over from the 1970s. When I got to the room, the thermostat was set to 50 degrees (I’m not kidding) but almost no air was coming out of the air conditioning unit and the room was quite warm.
After a call to the front desk clerk – who was less than helpful – I discovered that, though the air conditioning had a wall thermostat, the fan control was hidden under a panel on the unit itself. Once I found the fan control and turned it up, that problem was solved. I would have expected the clerk to know that very basic bit of information.
Though the temperature issue was resolved, the room was still a major disappointment. The décor (including the cheap molded plastic faucets in the bathroom) was dated and showing definite signs of wear. The wallpaper was actually peeling in places, the hinges on the bathroom door were rusted, the tile grout in the bathroom was less than clean, the shade on the desk lamp was badly cracked, and housekeeping had missed some cellophane wrappers dropped on the floor by a previous guest.
The rooms on the east side of the elevator bank looked better. Slightly less than half the rooms on each floor (19 out of 44) have been refurbished quite nicely with new furniture and carpet which have an Asian feel, nice wallpaper that isn’t peeling, and large flat-screen TVs.
The catch is, they’re $60 a night more than the others, and I’m told you have to specifically request a “Luxe” room. (My room was considered “deluxe”. Maybe that’s some sort of inside joke.) If you book a room at the Colonnade through any method other than directly with the hotel, there’s no way to ensure you’ll get one of the new rooms.
I was told the renovations of the rest of the rooms would be completed between November and next April, but there was no renovation work underway anywhere on any guest floor during my stay. Hmmm…
Regardless, I don’t think the redecorating will thicken the paper-thin walls. Inside my room, I could very clearly hear the alarm clock and ringing telephone of the guest in the next room. Walking down the hall, could easily make out conversations people were having behind the closed doors of their guest rooms.
On the positive side, every staff member I encountered was polite, friendly, and helpful (apart from not moving me into one of the newer rooms). The food, both at the restaurant and catered into our meeting, was creatively presented and delicious. And the service – at the restaurant, the concierge desk, even the bellman – was very good. So it appears the Colonnade has a four-star staff; it’s just that more than half the rooms are barely two-star quality.
If you’re considering the Colonnade because of its convenient Back Bay location, there’s a Sheraton almost directly across the street. In any event, I’d recommend investigating other alternatives unless you are 100% certain you’ll be in one of the redecorated rooms. Otherwise, your room might as well be at a Motel 6. And a tired Motel 6 at that.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Colonnade Hotel has provided thoughtful hospitality to Boston visitors and residents for more than 40 years. A dynamic Back Bay landmark whose opening launched the neighborhood's renaissance in the early seventies, The Colonnade is home to the city's only outdoor Roof Top Pool and the award-winning Parisian-style restaurant, Brasserie JO. The property boasts 285 sophisticated guest rooms, including nine luxury suites. Ideally located, The Colonnade is in close proximity to Newbury Street, The Shops at Prudential Center, Hynes Convention Center, Northeastern and many of Boston's finest museums, galleries, and iconic sites including Symphony Hall and Fenway Park. The Colonnade Hotel is a member of the Preferred Hotel's LIFESTYLE collection. Preferred Hotels represents over 650 of the world's finest luxury hotels and resorts with an extensive global collection in more than 85 countries. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Colonnade Hotel Boston