Staying On Board

Spending The Entire Getaway In The Intercontinental Boston

You can’t live an hour’s drive from Boston and not go there now and then. We visit once or twice a year on our weekend getaways and are always try to find a hotel right in the middle of the action. The shopping and history and arts and dining are all great excuses to visit Boston, but on this trip, we barely left the hotel.

On our latest trip to Boston, we were guests of the InterContinental Boston, a couple blocks from Boston’s South Station with a room looking out at the site of the Boston Tea Party. That put us across the river from the Boston Children’s Museum, a stroll away from Chinatown, the Financial District, and the North End. And strolling in that part of Boston is so much nicer now that the old central artery has been pushed underground into the Big Dig, creating a very pleasant, linear Rose Kennedy Park.

We did brave the rain that weekend to wander through Chinatown, shop at Macy’s, and eat lunch at an Irish Pub. But other than that one shore excursion, we stayed inside the InterContinental Boston like a cruise ship.

The InterContinental’s mirrored front fits well among the office towers in the area, but its back shows an interesting character. The waterfront side has curved walls, evoking the shape of the sails of the tall ships that once unloaded there. The towers are about the same height of the masts of the era, and the spacing of the two towers the same as the spacing of tall ships at dock.

Inside, the InterContinental’s lobby is businesslike – open and airy. Across from the check-in desk, a fireplace was flanked with two small seating nooks. The restaurants tuck into the back of the lobby, and in the back is a pleasant garden area overlooking the river.

Those restaurants got a lot of our attention over the weekend.

Dinner at Sushi-Teq was an experience to remember. It’s a vest-pocket restaurant, with the dining area about the same size as a typical hotel room. It expands outdoors during the warmer summer nights, but in the cooler months, diners sit on tall stools at tiny round tables, entertained by video of Japanese salsa dancers.

Yes, I said Japanese salsa dancers. It’s a blend of cultures – Japanese sushi served with Mexican tequila, and salsa dancing in Tokyo matches it perfectly.

We enjoyed a long series of paired sushi/tequila pairings. I had to rely on Linda’s tastebuds for the tequila, I could feel the burn of pepper and the earthiness of the agave plants, but she could tell the difference between each course as our server brought us light, heavy, musky, crisp, and aged tequilas to test out.

But when it came to the sushi, my tastebuds had a great time.

We had sushi made with traditional ingredients and sushi made with completely unexpected ingredients. We even had sushi so transformed by its ingredients that seemed to be sushi only because that was the name – but it was still tasty.

Their signature roll, the Sushiteq, is spicy cooked salmon on a soy-wrapped roll of avocado, cucumber, and scallions. It’s garnished with a tiny tumbleweed of crunchy shredded potato. The Atlantic roll includes, among other things, mozzarella and asparagus.

We had five different rolls while the typical diner would order two or three of the $12-$16 sushi rolls, so we had a broad sampling that included Pizza de Sushi, Yellowtail Ceviche, and their 510. Of these, only the 510 had a base of rice, the Pizza de Sushi sat on a crispy tortilla and the Yellowtail Ceviche was its own base, where the tuna was thinly sliced and rolled, then decorated with “red hot dots” of pepper sauce.

Three different fruity frozen margaritas made a creative dessert. Perhaps a cocktail purist would quibble about the definition of these drinks as margaritas, but the drinks with blueberries and mangos and lychee nuts and blackberries and pomegranates brought some creative fun to the end of the meal.

We sat in one of the cozy corner nooks in the lobby and played scrabble, then decided we’d like just a tiny bit more for dessert. The wonderful people in the InterContinental Boston’s other restaurant, Miel, fixed us a late dessert tray. We nibbled on crème Brule, vanilla ice cream, puff pastries, and honey-soaked crepes before we went upstairs to our cushy room.

Our room had an Asian feel, with windows between the bath and head of the bed that withdrew into pockets, reminiscent of the pocket doors in Japan. The wood in the room was cherry or rosewood finish, also suitably Asian. Happily, the bed was completly American in being plush and cozy, the bathroom was opulant, and the desk and chairs were roomy and comfortable.

Miel, by the way, is French for “honey”, but it’s also a nice honomym for meal, so the pun-lover in me thought the name was great. Honey is one of the two food themes of the restaurant, the other is olive oil. The two are the hallmarks of the foods from the sunny Provence countryside.

Every table has an assortment of olive oils, the circular private dining room has a table made from a single olive tree under a glowing chandelier decked out with hundreds of globes of olive oil. Most of the restaurant is decorated in the brocade and white-painted wood we associate with opulent French villas.

We didn’t have dinner at Miel, but we had an incredible Sunday brunch there. Linda dove right into the breakfast foods, while I went straight to the shrimp cocktail and raw oysters. Linda had crepes, while I had roast beef. She had eggs benedict while I had more shrimp cocktail. (I love seafood!) Between us, we sampled most of a buffet that ran over 30 feet long, while being served with the same attention given to the evening diners.

While we were at the InterContinental, we explored their meeting and ballrooms, enough to host decent-sized business conferences. We saw luxurious presidential suites enough to satisfy top-rank pop stars. We hung out at RumBa, a rum-themed bar that opens out into the hotel’s lobby. We stood inside RumBa’s red leather champagne room and imagined the bachelor parties that have been held there. We learned about how the upper floors of the hotel were actually condos owned by people who wanted to experience the InterContinental every day. We visited their indoor pool, and walked through a 24-hour exercise room that stretched along the windows overlooking the new Rose Kennedy Park.

And Linda spent a morning being pampered in the InterContinental’s spa.

The spa features classic massage, specialized massages for expectant mothers, stone massages, wraps, exfoliation, facials… I never found out for sure what treatments she got, but when she returned to the room, she was so relaxed she was almost liquid.

Eventually, though, we had to go home. We collected our car from the underground garage and drove home to Rhode Island, very relaxed and very well-fed.

Comments are closed.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons