Romantic Boston

By Christiana Yiallourides for PASSPORT Magazine
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As the capital of Massachusetts, one of only two states to legalize gay marriage, Boston holds the possibility of a fantastic, romantic weekend for you and your partner. Its sleek, luxurious restaurants, bustling bars, and sumptuous five-star hotels promise memorable adventures, and the daytime activities are guaranteed to make sure you leave Boston with an even greater admiration for its progressive, refined, and intriguing culture and history.

Whether you are visiting Boston for a romantic weekend or your honeymoon, the city offers some great accommodations. The Intercontinental Hotel (500 Atlantic Avenue; Tel: 617-816-0702. $340 for a standard room) is only a few blocks away from South Station. Opened in 2006, its sleek, blue glass facade contrasts with the warm reds, golds, and stone fireplaces of its lobby. The 424 guestrooms are both cozy and ultra-modern, with flat screen TVs and regal chaise lounges. The hotel is right on Boston Harbor and many rooms have views of the water. With two restaurants, the Miel Brasserie Provencale and Sushi-Teq, you don't have to leave the property for fine dining. For those in need of a little pampering, SPA Intercontinental's specialists offer a wide variety of massages and body and facial care, including a “couples massage" where each partner is taught how to massage the other. The relaxing music, soft robes, and dim lighting lull guests into a supreme sense of tranquility. The steam rooms, heated pools, and 24-hour health club round out the experience.

For more traditional luxury, the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel (138 St. James Avenue; Tel: 617-267-5300. $330 for a standard room) is a great option. Built in 1912, the ornately decorated lobby, Grecian columns, and gilded, vaulted ceilings exude Old World glamour.

If you would like a smaller, cozy bed and breakfast, the Clarendon Square Inn (198 West Brookline Street; Tel: 617-536-2229. Rates from $150 to $365 in the summer) is a charming choice. Located in the South End, it's minutes away on foot from bustling Newbury Street, Copley Square, and Boston's popular park, Boston Common. Their recent renovations remind guests that they are staying in a nineteenth century merchant townhouse, with antique moldings and medallions preserved.

Another good option is the Boston Harbor Hotel (70 Rowes Wharf; Tel: 617-439-7000. $385 for a standard room overlooking the harbor). Their flavor is truly classic and Victorian, and their best asset is their location on Rowes Wharf. During the summer, events like old movie screenings are held on the wharf. The view at night is sure to create a romantic mood for couples enjoying a meal and a glass of wine at its restaurant, Meritage. Meritage is the signature restaurant of Chef Daniel Bruce, the founder of the Boston Wine Festival. Their menu looks more like a wine list, because the dishes are grouped by what wine matches best. Order the small plates for $16 each to get a sampling of different kinds of food and wines. Lobster sausage with lime butter and sautéed spinach is an unusual but delicious choice, and their short ribs with squash mash and kale are mouth-watering. For dessert, their tasting plates are the way to go, with such treats as key lime pie and a dangerous white chocolate mousse bomb. Meritage is also serious about their wines. They have eight different wine glasses, and there are 1,000 selections on their wine lists. Even their sparkling light fixtures are actually made of wine glasses. The paintings on the wall were created by Chef Bruce's wife, and the walls they hang on are painted Cabernet red and Pinot Grigio white. With such an inviting atmosphere, it's no wonder Meritage was rated Boston's best romantic restaurant by the Improper Bostonian.

When it comes to classic elegance, the Oak Room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel is the place to go. Its décor brings to mind another time in history, when men wore three-piece suits and women wore long dresses to dinner. The red brocade curtains, crystal chandeliers, and deer heads on the walls, make those dining here feel as if they've been admitted to a private club. You and your partner may feel obliged to whisper as if in a museum, but the staff is jovial and friendly. A restaurant is definitely world class when they coordinate handing out napkins based on a diner's clothing—black clad people get white napkins, and vice versa. Chef Jeremy Langemann helps make The Oak Room one of the best steakhouses in the city. The Kobe beef here is tender and delicious. For seafood lovers, lobster, swordfish, salmon, or haddock are worthy choices. Their extensive list of fun martinis like the Purple Passion or the 007 adds a kick to the meal.For dessert, try Finale (One Columbus Avenue; Tel: 617-423-3184). The interior decoration makes customers feel as if they are inside a dessert, with dark red leather and yellow walls. It's spacious, friendly, but upscale. Try the classic creme brulée, or a top seller like the molten chocolate cake, which has a gooey center and is served with coffee ice cream, milk chocolate covered almonds, and chocolate sauce. They also have a nice selection of champagne, cordials, and port. After dinner and dessert, fatigue may overtake you both, but don't sleep too late, because Boston has many daytime activities too.

Published: 7 Aug 2008 | Last Updated: 1 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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