Fairmont Copley Plaza Review

By Jonathan Spira on 1 March 2011
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Following the American Revolution, the city of Boston became one of the world’s major trading ports, exporting fish, rum, salt, and tobacco while attracting numerous business travelers.

Copley Square, in the Back Bay area of Boston, is a center of culture, business, and learning (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT was founded there). The square is defined by its buildings and architecture, including the Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, the John Hancock Tower, and the Fairmont Copley Plaza, built in 1912 on the site of the Museum of Fine Arts.

As I drove up to the Copley Plaza, which is right off the Mass Pike (now running below the city thanks to the Big Dig), on a warm autumnal day, I recalled that this had been the first fully air-conditioned hotel in the city (it was also the first to accept credit cards, something that was no doubt appreciated by countless road warriors on expense accounts).

The doorman greeted me warmly and directed me to the elevator that would take me to the Fairmont Gold reception area on the fourth floor.

Fairmont Gold is a hotel within a hotel.  It has its own reception area, its own lounge (where a full breakfast served every morning), and a team of employees dedicated to making one’s stay as perfect as possible.


My junior suite, with a separate sitting area, felt more like someone’s elegant living room, with plush draperies and beautifully upholstered furniture.   The marble bath had a separate walk-in shower, bathtub, and water closet.

The bed was very comfortable. I woke up fully refreshed and ready for my meetings.

My only complaint was that the hair dryer was hanging in its storage bag on a hook in the separate w.c. – something I discovered when it wasn’t where it could easily have been found by someone just coming out of the shower.   A handheld shower would also have been appreciated; the shower only had a wall-mounted shower head.


A small desk and chair were located by the far wall of the room.  The chair, while matching the décor, was uncomfortable for anything more than just a few minutes.  In order to get some writing done, I had to retreat to the bed with my laptop.

Wi-Fi at the Copley Plaza was fast and, on the Gold floor, free (it’s also free for members of Fairmont President’s Club; otherwise, it costs $14.95 for 24 hours).


Breakfast, served in the Fairmont Gold lounge, was superb.  The offering of warm dishes, rolls, breads, pastries, and fruits was bountiful.  A single-serve coffee machine allowed guests to prepare fresh coffee on demand (the coffee machine was available throughout the day).

Joanna, the lounge manager for breakfast, went out of her way to delight and surprise her guests.  When I was sitting at my table, which was not one of the larger ones in the room, she noticed I was running out of space and doubled the size of the table within the blink of an eye.  I noticed her performing similar feats for other guests as well.

The Oak Room is an elegant steakhouse-style restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.   The recently-restored Oak Bar has the feel of a private club.  It’s a perfect spot for an informal lunch meeting or for drinks after work.  During my stay, I enjoyed the butternut squash soup with a half sandwich and a Sam Adams beer.

The lounge serves hors d’oeuvres in the evening (there are complimentary soft drinks and an honor bar as well) and guests are welcome.


The Fairmont Copley Plaza excelled at the details.  On my wooden valet stand (its presence notable unto itself), I found two Fairmont collar stays – a nice touch.  My wakeup call in the morning was accompanied by a pot of fresh coffee and fresh carrot and apple juices.

Throughout my stay, the doorman never failed to remember my name and greet me as I went in and out.  The fourth floor receptionist, Krista, was always looking for ways to help me enjoy my stay and I noticed she consistently went the extra mile for all guests who came to her.

Regardless of the reason for your trip to Boston, you’ll soon find out why the Fairmont Copley Plaza has been a favorite for both Bostonians and visitors for countless generations.


The Fairmont Copley Plaza
138 St. James Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
+1 (617) 267-5300


–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.







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