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Renovated Boxer Hotel embraces Boston’s past

Bulfinch reemerges as the Boxer, an upscale accommodation

Upgrades at the Boxer Hotel include boutique-style rooms.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The Bulfinch Hotel near TD Garden is unveiling a new, more upscale identity on Monday when the recently renovated property officially becomes the Boxer.

The hotel, located in a triangular 1904 building on Merrimac Street, has a vintage feel, with an old-time room key rack behind the front desk, a circa 1860 map of Boston on the lobby ceiling, and industrial-era accordion lamps in the guest rooms. The restaurant, formerly Flat Iron Tapas Bar, is now called Finch, and has wingback chairs, a weathered wood floor, and a newly exposed glass wall bringing in more light.

"The renovations went right down to the sheetrock," said general manager Emily Antonelli, who has been at the hotel for three months.


Hersha Hospitality Trust of Philadelphia bought the nine-story, 80-room hotel from Palm Beach-based Innkeepers USA Trust a year ago and invested almost $3 million in the property. Room prices have gone up accordingly, from $99-$299 to $149-$409 a night.

Hersha owns 64 hotels around the country, including eight branded properties in Massachusetts such as a Courtyard by Marriott in Brookline, Residence Inn by Marriott in Framingham, and Holiday Inn Express in Cambridge. The Boxer is part of Hersha Hospitality Management's Independent Collection, a group of seven boutique hotels in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston that emphasize the culture, landmarks, and dining of each neighborhood on its website.

A rack in the Boxer’s lobby holds decorative room keys.DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF

More guests are looking to connect to the cities they visit, said Andrea Foster, vice president at the hospitality consultancy PKF Consulting USA, particularly in a historic place like Boston. Even the Boxer's small gym in the basement has a local feel, with a photo mural of the 1963 Boston Marathon.

Hersha's "focus on authentic, local design and flavors is consistent with current trends in travel experiences today," Foster said.

The rebranding will also allow the Boxer to "ride the wave of increased hotel rates that we've seen in the Boston market," she added.


The Boxer's historic building has bending hallways and uniquely shaped rooms, including some with large structural columns in unexpected places, such as in the middle of the bathroom, and several with bunk beds.

The process of rebranding the hotel started about a month ago, said Antonelli, with details ranging from designing new stationery to updating the website's pictures. The sign in front will be changed overnight on Sunday. To spread the word about the new name, hotel staff will be reaching out to vendors, guests, GPS services, and other business partners.

Boston cab drivers have been invited to the hotel for a free lunch Monday so that they will know where to go when a passenger says, "Take me to the Boxer."

Katie Johnston can be reached at kjohnston@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.