What would George Washington have thought about checking into a presidential suite, the plushest, most expensive lodging a hotel offers? It’s hard to imagine the humble statesman would have requested such highfalutin digs; these days it’s likely to be a corporate executive or entertainment icon ruffling the sheets in these lofty perches. Maybe that’s why some hotels don’t call these accomodations their presidential suites, but whatever the name, super-comfy and ultra-swanky is their game. When we took a tour of some of Boston’s top level suites, some of which have hosted the nation’s leaders, the most surprising thing wasn’t opulence, but how difficult it was to get a look inside: Most were occupied.
Here are four that we did get to tour.
Mandarin Oriental Dynasty Suite, from $8,000 nightly
The 2,445-square-foot Dynasty Suite is decorated with an Oriental flare, and expands to 2,700 square feet should two additional bedrooms be required. A dining room, kitchenette, and separate office add functionality, but it is the luxurious appointments that impress. In the living room, a blue velvet couch is large enough to seat a football team with ease. There’s an enormous super toilet with many push-button functions. The master bedroom’s walls are lined with gold silk. But perhaps the most extravagant aspect is a separate dressing room the size of an average bedroom. It has two dressing stands positioned in front of full-length mirrors, and the walls are lined with wardrobes. You wonder, who travels with this much luggage?
The Ritz-Carlton Presidential Suite, from $6,000 nightly
Boston boy Benjamin Franklin, though never a president, is the inspiration behind the Ritz-Carlton’s recently refurbished Presidential Suite. Franklin’s propensity for invention informs its custom-made pieces, including the impressive beehive-style chandeliers, created from mock bifocals, which Franklin was known to wear and is credited as having invented. The impressive marble foyer opens to a dining area with seating for eight, and the living room has a fireplace and circular couch. This 1,680-square-foot, 12th floor perch has TVs in the living room, bedroom, library, and in the master bathroom over a magnificent tub. The suite’s guests have access to the hotel’s exclusive Club Level lounge, where a breakfast and lunch buffet, snacks, and early evening hors d’oeuvres and drinks await. But everything pales in comparison to the living room’s picture-perfect view over Boston Common.
Fairmont Copley Plaza Presidential Suite, from $5,000 nightly
It is said that all US presidents since Taft have visited this hotel for one thing or another, with some staying overnight in this suite, and some, such as President Obama, using it for events. This stately fifth-floor suite, which overlooks Copley Square to Trinity and Old South churches, expands from a one-bedroom, at 1,500 square feet, to two or three bedrooms. The entrance hallway is lined with Carrera marble and leads to a formal dining room, a sitting room, and on to the master bedroom with its en suite bathroom and dressing area. (Suites at this level all have a powder room for guest’s guests.) A separate service entrance allows unobtrusive preparation in the kitchenette. True to the hotel’s Beaux Arts grandeur, the suite is furnished with real antiques, not reproduction. Each magnificent piece was artfully created, built to last, and is clearly cared for and cherished.
Nine Zero Cloud Nine Suite, from $2,500 nightly
This 19th-floor suite looks out over stark urban rooftops softened by old Bostonian architectural details, and also down to the Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street. In keeping with parent company Kimpton Hotels’ funky swagger, its striking but sultry color palette brings together plum and shiny black. A fluffy fake fur throw adorns the bed. There’s a deep soaking tub and a comfy couch to cozy up on. But for all its flirty fun atmosphere, there’s a serious side: In 2004, Nine Zero was the first hotel in the world to deploy iris recognition technology. (Which means never having to say, “Sorry, I’ve lost my key,” to the front desk clerk.) It was installed in Cloud Nine for the Democratic National Convention, when former president Bill Clinton stayed in the 1,065-square-foot suite, which can be expanded to add a second guest room. The first dog is welcome, too.
Linda Clarke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.