Marvelous Contradictions

The city may be covered in two feet of snow (we’re sorry guys), but most of the year this destination is excellent for meetings and conferences. Best described in contradictions: hip alongside historic; gourmet meets pizza; skyscrapers surround parks. Famous for its hospitality, this city is one on of the premier meeting destinations in the United States.

Known as the “Athens of America,” Boston’s renowned medical and educational institutions have helped to make it an international center of learning and intellectualism. The city has a thriving economy, history and charm, which make it ideal for both business and pleasure. Each year, it welcomes millions of visitors, convention delegates and business travelers.

Founded in 1630—only ten years after the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth—Boston grew as a harbor town. The city is almost completely surrounded by water, with the Atlantic Ocean on two sides and the Charles River running around its back.

Boston has everything a meeting or event planner could want, including easy global access, three convention centers, history abound, ample hotel rooms, and fantastic entertainment and nightlife. In this post we’re focusing on hotel updates, what’s coming online, convention centers and transportation. The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website can point you to all other attractions in the city, and there are many. 


The 2012 numbers haven’t yet arrived but if expectations are met they will at least meet the expected growth over 2011, which was a fantastic year for meetings and conferences. In 2011 the city welcomed over 27.4 million visitors, including day-trippers, a 4.1% increase over 2010. There were more than 368,000 flights and 28.9 million passengers. Over 6.1 million room nights were sold with $1.229 billion in revenue.


The Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation. Extensive improvements of the 375-room hotel are fully underway, with overall completion anticipated by spring 2013.  The renovation will include refurbished guestrooms, updated public spaces, a revamped contemporary restaurant and lounge, an enhanced 2,114 SF fitness center, and an upgraded ballroom. The hotel features approximately 22,000 square feet of meeting space. We’re not sure that the hotel’s façade mirrors the interior improvements, but perhaps that is what makes the place unique. More information.  

The Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center New Lobby Design

In late-2012 The Sheraton Needham completed a $13M renovation, which included a new lobby, lobby café, all new guest rooms, suites, revitalized and innovative new work and event spaces. More information.

After a $27 million transformation, The Revere Hotel opened in April 2012 offering visitors a premiere independent, luxury hotel and entertainment destination in the heart of Boston’s vibrant Theatre District. The property boasts a 356-room boutique hotel with 30 deluxe suites and one presidential suite; an exciting nightlife concept, the Emerald Lounge, a film and live entertainment venue, Theatre 1. Space 57 offers versatile, multipurpose setting for events. More information.

The Revere Hotel - King Room

The Revere Hotel - Theatre 1

The Revere Hotel - Carver Ballroom

Following a $16m upgrade, DoubleTree by Hilton secured the management contract for its fourth hotel in Greater Boston in 2012; the 364-room DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore Hotel, Conference Center and Water Park. The hotel, located 19 miles north of Boston. Renovations included all guest rooms, public spaces, the hotel’s lobby, and more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 10,000 square foot ballroom which can accommodate up to 1,300 guests.  More information

Fairmont Copley Plaza Oak Long Bar

In summer 2012, the 383-room Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston’s historic Back Bay completed a comprehensive restoration project and reinvention totaling more than $20 million in honor of the hotel’s 100th birthday. The Fairmont Copley Plaza debuted its Oak Long Bar + Kitchen in August 2012. With its vaulted 30-ft. high ceilings and an 83-foot copper top bar running nearly the entire length of the room, it remains one of Boston’s most impressive spaces.  More information.

Fairmont Copley Plaza Presidential Suite

Boston’s iconic hotel, The Langham, Boston, completed an extensive  $6 million renovation to the property’s 6,000 square foot lobby, which includes a dramatic new entrance, reception area and a third dining venue — The Reserve Champagne and Tea Lounge, which opened in September 2012. The Reserve serves Tiffin afternoon tea, Boston’s first traditional English tea service in partnership with the esteemed Wedgwood collection. With servers professionally trained by Wedgwood ambassadors to ensure proper presentation and etiquette throughout the service, custom designed Wedgwood fine bone china tea sets will present guests with a selection of the Langham’s signature loose leaf teas and classic menu accompaniments such as savory bites, finger sandwiches, scones and pastries, all made in-house. Housed in Boston’s former Federal Reserve Bank building, The Langham is a national architectural landmark. More information.

The Boston Marriott Long Wharf has completed its four-year, $30 million full-property renovation, which included the new Waterline Restaurant and Bar, a new Harbor View Ballroom, an expanded health club and concierge lounge, as well as completely renovated meeting space, guest rooms and suites. More information.

We’ve done a story last year on the XV Beacon, one of Boston’s best hotels. View pictures and read the post here


There are nearly two-dozen new hotel projects planned, and some are already under construction, some are to break ground soon, and others are still in the planning stages. More than half of the rooms are planed for the South Boston Waterfront District.

Opening soon:

A new 120-room, 6-story $40M Marriott Residence Inn Seaport is set to open early summer 2013 in the heart of Boston’s Fort Point Channel, South Boston Waterfront District; it will be the neighborhood’s first boutique hotel.

The $68 million, 8-story, 175-room Marriott Residence Inn Fenway is set to open summer 2013. The eight-story extended-stay hotel will include shops or a restaurant at street level and an enclosed rooftop pool and patio.

Future developments:

A $50 million 135-room 6-story luxury ‘Autograph Collection’ hotel by Marriott will open on the Fort Point Channel near the landmark Boston restaurant, The Barking Crab. Plans for the new hotel include a rooftop terrace overlooking the Boston Harbor, a pedestrian plaza linking the property to the Boston Harborwalk, and a rooftop terrace with commanding views of the downtown skyline.

Boston-based Saunders Hotel Group has purchased the former John Hancock Hotel and Conference Center and plans to restore and convert it into an up-market boutique hotel. The John Hancock was recently renamed the Boston Common Hotel, and Saunders plans to operate it as such for approximately two years while it undergoes a major renovation. Four floors of conference space will be converted to hotel rooms and the hotel, centrally located in Boston’s Back Bay, one block east of Copley Square, will grow from 64 rooms to approx. 220 rooms.


Frost Ice Bar, a dramatic, artfully sculpted lounge, the first of its kind in New England, is set to open at Faneuil Hall Marketplace in spring 2013. Ice bars and ice hotels have captivated the imaginations of adventurous travelers and fun-seekers around the globe, from remote locations in Norway, Alaska and Sweden, to some of the world's most cosmopolitan urban centers such as London, Tokyo and St. Petersburg. Frost Ice Bar is designed and furnished entirely of ice and kept at a cool 24 degrees Fahrenheit and presents ever-changing offerings of specialty beverages, music and décor.  The concept for a year-round Boston ice attraction is spearheaded by Frost Group in collaboration with the team behind Boston Duck Tours, drawing upon their nearly 20 years of expertise designing whimsically creative guest experiences that are fun for all ages. More information.

In 2013 the Boston Children’s Museum will celebrate its 100th birthday with dazzling new exhibits and spectacular public programs and events all year long.  The museum, founded in 1913 by Boston Public School teachers, is the second oldest children’s museum in the world. The centennial will take place throughout 2013 with celebrations in the Museum and in the community, including new exhibits and 100 special things in Boston Children’s Museum and around the city.  The museum is available for events. More information


Boston offers not one but four conference center facilities. The Hynes Veterans Memorial Conventions Center is located in the heart of Boston's beautiful, historic and restaurant-rich Back Bay. It has long been a favorite business destination for mid-sized shows, special events and expositions. It also offers meeting space. The Hynes is in close proximity to the new Boston Exhibition and Convention Center, and in the heart of Boston's most popular hotels, historical sites, and tourist attractions. It offers 176,480 square feet of exhibit space and 91,000 square feet of meeting space.  More information

The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center is he city’s newest. It is a spectacular space offering 516,000 square feet of exhibit space, 160,000 of flexible meeting space. There is a 40,000 square feet column-free Grand Ballroom and more than 300,000 square feet of pre-function space. More information.  

The Seaport World Trade Center

The Seaport World Trade Center is situated on Boston's waterfront, it has a 118,000 square foot exhibit hall, 200,000 square feet of meeting space and a 396-seat amphitheater. More information


Flying into Boston? You’ll arrive at New England’s largest transportation center, Logan International Airport. It just recently completed a $4-billion major expansion and modernization. All four passenger terminals were renovated and upgraded with additional parking, easy access, expanded retail options and additional restaurants. The airport is served by 40 airlines and is located two miles from the city’s center, with many ground transportation options to get around. More information

Additional information on getting around Boston here.


The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau is a valuable resource if you’re planning a meeting in Boston. Find them here

- Al Wynant

Photographs courtesy of The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Hotel photographs courtesy of the respective properties.