Debbie and I have spent over a decade visiting the small group of a dozen or so Paris Palace hotels, each of which is a magnificent, distinctive fortress of special importance. The very best of this unforgettable group of travel treasures continues, to us, to be Le Bristol Hotel in the 8th arrondissement. We look forward to heading back to Paris this spring for more intelligence-gathering on Palace hotels.
Meanwhile, we have been catching up with our friends at Boston’s Newbury Hotel. I have been a guest at this special Boston, Newbury St. location since 1964 when it was the Ritz Carlton before it changed hands and became the Taj. A glorious multi-year renovation has transformed this magnificent property into The Newbury.
I have known many of my Newbury employee friends including Lindsey and James since their very first days at the hotel (Ritz) when I was a stockbroker at Clayton Securities on Milk St. Also pictured here with me is Alicia, one of my oldest friends and one of the reasons three generations of my family continue to refer to The Newbury as our home away from home whenever we travel to Boston.
Old Town Key West
90 miles from Cuba
6 April 2022
Originally posted April 7, 2022.
The New England Historical Society explains the history of The Ritz:
When the Ritz-Carlton hotel opened in 1927 in Boston, guests had to adhere to a dress code. The hotel forbade women to dine alone and sometimes rejected guests if they requested reservations on writing paper deemed too cheap.
It was a smashing success.
Boston’s Ritz-Carlton combined European luxury with Bostonian snobbery. It offered a bathroom in every guest room, a la carte dining according to Escoffier, waiters in white tie and fresh flowers everywhere.
Guests viewed the Ritz-Carlton as their private club, and the hotel carefully guarded their privacy. Hotel management kept the riff-raff away. “Riff-raff” meant someone not listed in the Social Register or Who’s Who.
It was the Ritz-Carlton, Boston that revolutionized the hospitality industry in America, “setting the bar for what luxury hotels should be,” wrote Kimberly Wylie in a seminar paper, Total Quality Management – A Case Study of a Quality Award Winning Organization.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel very nearly became an apartment building called the Mayflower.
Edward Wyner, 29, had bought a third of an acre across from the Public Garden in 1926 and built the first two stories of an apartment building. Then he got a phone call from Mayor James Michael Curley, who persuaded him to build a world-class hotel instead.
Read more here.
P.S. In 1971, I often had breakfast with a member of the Fidelity Investments team. The restaurant where we breakfasted was at the venerable Ritz bar overlooking the Boston Public Garden, in the heart of the Back Bay. In my early days at the Ritz-Carlton, on the corner of Arlington and Newbury Streets, hotel elevator operators helped guests locate their destinations. I had just started in the investments industry.
Today I often still have breakfast overlooking the park. The Garden’s six-acre “Swan” pond is still there, but the windows behind where we now sit are in the newly acquired and renamed Newbury Boston. Happily, it is still my Boston favorite.
Today, my family investment company is Fidelity’s client, rather than the reverse. Fidelity Investments provides custodial services to Richard C. Young & Co., Ltd.’s clients.
The more things change …
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