The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Back Bay’s grande dame hotel, celebrated its centennial this year with a $20 million restoration. But certain things never change: Catie Copley, the genial black Labrador retriever, still meanders around the reception area, thumping her tail and greeting guests. When she needs a break from her hospitality duties, she can curl up on her new padded (but tastefully restrained) dog bed, her reward for enduring a stream of renovators for almost a year. With its brushed fabric and rolled arms, that canine cushion signals the hotel’s renovation strategy of melding comfortable modern style with grand surroundings.
For the full Copley Plaza experience, enter through the St. James Avenue door flanked by stone lions and proceed down the mosaic-tiled walkway of “Peacock Alley” into the vast, barrel-vaulted main lobby. The word “lavish” comes to mind. So does “opulent.” The public areas are as overwhelming today as when the hotel opened in 1912, five years after its Manhattan big sister, the Plaza.