Business trip: Boston
Downstairs in the Emerald, the lounge hops with a see-and-be-seen crowd who congregate for pre-dinner craft cocktails and small plates (think fish tacos and duck spring rolls), then dancing and mingling in the later evening hours. The hotel’s unique Theatre 1, with its screen and stage capability and Italian leather seating, hosts some the city's more prominent corporate events. After hours, the space is often used for film screenings and performances including the likes of the Boston Film Festival and the Boston Independent Film Festival.
While the 318-room Langham, housed in the city's former Federal Reserve Building, would traditionally be classified as an elegant hotel, the property's $6 million lobby overhaul pushes it into an edgier terrain, blending conservative style with a hip ambiance. Transforming one of Boston's iconic hotels is no easy task, but the designers have magnificently welded a series of antique artworks with 21st-century furnishings such as modern lamps, a quartet of standalone reception desks and zigzag-lined carpeting. The new Reserve Champagne and Tea Lounge is a delightful place to spend an afternoon sipping and supping after a morning meeting in the historic city centre.
Legal Harborside, in the South Boston waterfront district, is the flagship restaurant of the popular Legal Seafoods chain of restaurants and attracts hungry diners with its three floors of varying concepts. The ground level offers the most casual fare, while the middle floor extends the price and menu into a more expensive, contemporary realm. The third floor's retractable roof is great on warmer days, especially with a plate of freshly prepared sushi and one of 27 bottles of wine on offer. The restaurant's new series of wine dinners pairs region- and country-specific labels with complementary fare.
Meat lovers find the new Boston Chops to be a quintessential spot to impress clients or indulge in a generous helping of steak frites. It is the latest opening in the city's chic South End district. The braised short rib with sour cream mashed potatoes and mushrooms has its own following; though nothing can compete with the poutine-style, twice-baked potato loaded with cheese and toppings – hearts could stop in excitement (or because of the calories).
Regular diners will find the new Quattro pizzeria and grill to make a nice addition to North End, serving Neapolitan-style pizza, house-made pasta and a selection of Italian sfizi (tapas) like stuffed zucchini flowers and authentic Italian meatballs.
Back at the Revere Hotel, the city's Hand Wall showcases actual clay moulds of the hands of notable theatre and local arts visionaries. Honourees include Gregory Maguire, author of more than a dozen novels for children and adults, including Wicked, the basis for the eponymous Broadway musical, and Mikko Nissinen, artistic director for the Boston Ballet. Theatre lovers will find this a great way to wind down (or jump start) an evening before or after cocktails at Rooftop@Revere), a massive outdoor bar and lounge with exceptional cityscape views. Order the Hibiscus Rum Punch and watch the world float by below.
Off the clock
The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, which opened in summer 2012, is a great way to explore the city's most historic event up close. Live actors and tea-throwing re-enactments mimic the events that took place between 1773 and 1775, helping to spark what became the American Revolution. Multisensory displays are impressively crafted to help visitors of all ages understand the events and give access to life-size replicas of the infamous ships: the Dartmouth, the Beaver and the Eleanor.
Like a local
On a sunny afternoon, locals flock to Rose Kennedy Greenway in the North End, which is flush with beautiful flowers and blossoming trees. Alternatively, the Boston Harbor Walk features a network of pathways and trails ideal for biking or a simple nature stroll in plain sight of the city's striking skyline. A downloadable audio guide educates visitors on interesting facts along the way, ranging from notable movies filmed in Bean Town (the city's playful nickname referring to its signature baked beans recipe) to interesting artists that live in the neighbourhood.