I was so taken with the stunning view of the setting sun and the waterfront skyscrapers that I almost missed the view behind me. It was a woman in a barely-there bikini frolicking in a pool. To be clear, she was not part of the crowd at the rooftop bar at the new Envoy Hotel in the Seaport District. The bikini model was being projected on a screen behind the bar.
I seemed to be the only one surprised by her presence. She looked as if she had gotten lost on her way to Miami and decided to stick it out here behind the bottles of Grey Goose. Then again, the after-work scene at the Envoy — and it is indeed a total scene — didn’t entirely feel like traditional Boston.
There were young men in suits with loosened ties who looked fresh from the courthouse. Innovation District tech types were dressed down, and as the night went on, women in tiny dresses and large heels materialized. This was a delicate rooftop ecosystem that felt new to the city. Smart, young drinkers looking for love or simply an evening of companionship in an alfresco setting specifically designed for them. The formula seemed to be working because the rum punch and rosé were flowing.
Outliers, meaning men over 50, either stood on the sidelines in a state of confusion, or they hastily dived into the crowd, not entirely unlike the woman diving into the pool onscreen.
It’s fitting that this (mostly) millennial meat market arrived atop the Envoy, one of Marriott’s new collection of “luxury lifestyle” hotels aimed at hipper travelers. Inside, the Envoy had the feel of an upscale CB2 catalog. The color scheme of gray and muted yellow was insanely sophisticated. There were Boston references everywhere — maps of the city were even etched into the glass separating the bathroom from the sleeping area in the guest rooms.
But the biggest theme of the Envoy is youth. It’s present at the rooftop bar, in the abundant artwork, and it’s well-represented in the Envoy’s bear hug of technology. The lobby is designed as a communal social and work space, not unlike the offices of some companies in the area. The antique billiards table has been fitted with screens that allow guests to find out what’s happening nearby — or play games. The lobby has free Wi-Fi and a plentiful number of electrical and USB outlets.
“A lot of the design initiatives are about capturing the vibe of now, and what’s happening with the millennial generation,” said Carrie Nielsen, associate interior designer at Group One Partners Inc. She began working on the Envoy three years ago. “We looked at both the connection [millennials] have to their surroundings and the disconnect they have to their surroundings. So we were trying to take it a step further and make it a part of the hotel.”
In the rooms, the flat-screen televisions are mounted on bicycle racks — wheels still attached, purely for decorative purposes. You can log in to your Netflix or Hulu account on the hotel TV to bingewatch “Sense8” if you are feeling out of place at the rooftop bar.
When I woke up the next morning, I had an e-mail informing me that I could extend my stay till 2 p.m., 3 p.m., or 4 p.m. if needed. Yes, there would be an additional charge of $45 to $65 depending on the time needed, but if I had time to kill before leaving for the airport (or was nursing a killer hangover), the ease of adding time to my stay would make the day much more pleasurable.
Surprisingly, I didn’t wake up with a hangover after my night at the Lookout Bar. I stayed on the roof longer than anticipated because I was addicted to the people-watching. I felt as if I were on an anthropological expedition. One man stopped to tell me about his system for finding women. Another asked me if I was having any luck (insert wink, nudge here). If by luck he meant scoring a second glass of rosé from the busy bartender, then the answer was a resounding no.
The Envoy’s 4,000-square-foot roof deck is open through October, and my advice is to get there now. Next spring, when every website and publication lists it at the top of its outdoor rooftop bars, you’ll probably find a much longer line for that glass of rosé.
THE ENVOY HOTEL
70 Sleeper St.
Rates start at $499Christopher Muther can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.