Rive Gauche moves to Kenmore Square

You'll think you're on the Rive Gauche in Paris when you first see the beautiful new
Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square on Commonwealth Avenue.

The Commonwealth Hotel Ranks with Boston's Best

by Pat & Walter Brooks

It's time to plan your Christmas shopping visit to Boston, and we've discovered the perfect hotel for your holiday, the new Hotel Commonwealth on Commonwealth Avenue in Kenmore Square within an easy walk of the best shops on Boylston and Newbury Streets.

We visited this Fall while the Red Sox were still playing at Fenway, and fans should seriously consider this hotel during their visits next baseball season because this superb property overlooks the "Green Monster" and is within a four minute walk to the ballpark.

Imagine the convenience of strolling back to your luxury suite instead of battling the Beantown traffic after a game.

The hotel is offering seasonal packages which will be on the web site next week, They will run between $209-$329 so the experience is more affordable than ever.

The hotel is located in the middle of Kenmore Square across from the huge Barnes & Noble B.U. bookstore with a T-stop at the front door.

Boston for Christmas

And the Hotel Commonwealth is a very pleasant ten minute stroll down Commonwealth Avenue to the head of Newbury Street or hop on the T and get off at Park Station for Downtown Crossing sh
You can't improve on the comfort of the Hotel Commonwealth beds or the attention to detail like the L'Occitane toiletries in the bath.

As you gaze at this beautifully new building from the bookstore or Breugger's Bakery across the street you will imagine you are on the Rive Gauche in Paris. The architecture is pure Parisian, mid 19th century Second Empire with the Mansard roofs and other Gallic embellishments.

Boston is one of the great seaports of America in any season, but at Yuletide it's at it's decorated and jolly best. If the men in your life won't even window-shop, tell them to bring their bikes because the access to the Charles River Bikeway is two blocks from the hotels' front door. 

When we last visited in September I pedaled to Harvard Square in Cambridge while my wife did a little "power shopping" on Newbury Street.

A Great Hotel Deserves a Great Restaurant, Great Bay

The ground level of the Hotel Commonwealth boasts a dozen new shops and the hotel's restaurant and Bistro, Great Bay, was voted the best seafood restaurant in Boston in its first season by Boston Magazine's readers.

We began our dinner there with Spicy Halibut Tacos with papaya salsa and a Seaweed Salad. I followed this with the Line Caught Cod while my wife had the Pan Seared Black Bass.

All were delicious.

But please don't giggle when I tell you about our desserts. We tried them despite our qualms at the urging of the restaurant manger, thankfully.

The Bistro in the hotel's Great Bay restaurant is becoming a popular after-work oasis. Be sure to try the Halibut Tacos and the Butterscotch
Pudding.We shared two. Homemade Butterscotch Pudding with caramelized pecans and whipped cream, followed by Great Bay Warm Cookies and Ice Milk.

You may laugh. We simply groaned in gastronomic ecstasy.

It is more than a little unusual for a new property to received the accolades which Hotel Commonwealth and Great Bay have received in their first two year, but in these instances they are richly deserved.

Praise from the Best

Forbes magazine even named The Commonwealth one of the "Best New Business Hotels" during their first season, see story.  Once you've spent a night in these spacious rooms, you'll agree.

And this summer during the Democratic Convention the New York Times enthused over the hotel writing in it's Sunday Travel Section, "the year-old hotel .... has a faintly exotic flavor with its lobby of brocades and fringed and tapestried divans. The 150 dignified rooms are done in colors like robust burgundy and have marble bathrooms, Frette linens and extra-large wooden writing desks. All rooms have high-speed Internet access, dual-line wireless phones and CD/DVD players with a DVD lending library. Some have sitting rooms and overlook Commonwealth Avenue; others face Fenway Park, which can be toured as part of a hotel package. A double room is $189 to $369."

Says USA Today: "The Hotel Commonwealth, an independent property in downtown Boston, was named a best new business hotel by Forbes in 2003; you'd think that would mean peace and quiet all the time, right? Well, almost. If you book a stay during the Sox-Yankees' series, be ready to encounter some exuberant fans in the hotel; some rooms overlook the park."

The Numbers
Hotel Commonwealth
500 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-933-5000

2004 Rates Rooms (largest, 500 square feet) range anywhere from $289 to $409. Fenway Rooms (450 square feet): $249 to $389.

Forbes magazine review  here

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