Twenty years ago, 215 Charles Street in Boston was home to some of Suffolk County’s most unsavory citizens. Once the infamous Charles Street Jail, The Liberty Hotel, Boston now takes its place among the city’s new and stylish hotels, attracting a hip, young crowd of professional Bostonians who love its upscale dining and nightlife options.
We stopped in our tracks upon entering the hotel’s lobby for the first time; guests ascend an escalator into the multi-story, octagonal atrium, which is topped with a beautiful cupola and encircled by the jail’s original catwalks. Colorfully lit wings bearing exposed brick from the original jail walls lead from the lobby to the hotel’s 298 guest accommodations, which include a range of rooms and suites. Rooms in the Spectacular category, ending in 03 and 05 on the 10th floor and above, tend to book quickly, while rooms in the same category, but ending in 07 and 09 on the sixth floor and above, are best for larger parties. (Tip: Categories include Fantastic, Ultra-Fantastic, Spectacular and Breathtaking, so choose accordingly.) VIPs will want to check in to the Esplanade Suite, No. 1601, which is the hotel’s top offering. This suite’s past guests include a lengthy list of movie stars, including Morgan Freeman, Mick Jagger and Bruce Willis. If the Esplanade is occupied, choose an Escape Suite (they’re on each floor and end in 01). Tip: Suites offer the best views of Boston’s skyline and the Charles River/Cambridge area. Ask Paul Sauceda (617-399-4227) and Carly Williams (617-399-4240) to assist with bookings. Plan to book at least 30 days in advance for a stay during Boston’s busy fall season.
Although there’s no spa at the hotel, Chief Concierge David Sargent (617-224-4002) and his staff can easily arrange a visit to a nearby spa in Beacon Hill or downtown. When it comes to food and drink, we say there’s no need to leave the hotel, which boasts two excellent restaurants, a world-class champagne bar and an in-demand cocktail lounge. Guests won’t want to miss brunch at the aptly named CLINK, which serves in-season specialties from an open kitchen. Original brick-and-wrought-iron jail cell fixtures combine with butcher-block tables and polished wood floors to yield a seriously stylish spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. During a recent dinner at Scampo, the hotel’s main restaurant, we sampled white wines at the bar before dining on tuna tartare and gnocchi with truffles. Chef Lydia Shire’s creative, contemporary menu also includes items like oxtail-stuffed beet ravioli and an extensive list of breads. Tip: Some entrees are available in appetizer-sized portions, a great way to sample several dishes.
Note: Insiders say restaurant reservations should be made when rooms are booked.
Don’t let your Gen-Y clients wrap up their visit without stopping for a glass of Champagne at the Liberty Hotel’s Veuve Clicquot bar; it’s the first of its kind in the U.S., and one of only three in the world. Here, guests can order Champagne by the glass, as well as small bites from the bar menu. We sipped a glass of rosé that was complemented by a beautifully prepared selection of cheeses and a plate of veal sliders. For the ultimate Boston night out, suggest that clients head downstairs to Alibi, where revelers mingle among candlelit tables, and the walls are hung with celebrity mug shots. The line to get in can get lengthy, so be sure to let General Manager Stuart Meyerson (617-224-4000) know that your own A-lister is en route.