An uncommon hotel in Kenmore Square

The Hotel Commonwealth has elegance and style in Boston's Back Bay
You'll think you're on the Rive Gauche in Paris when you first see the beautiful new Hotel Commonwealth in Boston on Commonwealth Avenue in Kenmore Square.

And the food is beyond superlative

We styed in the Baseball suite shown above and below.
This suite is divided into a bedroom and a living room.
Island Creek Oyster Bar is a temple to seafood.
And the Oyster Sliders are nonpareil.
Eastern Standard's Foie gras.
And their Bruschetta.
Pat enjoyed this Lobster medley.
Both restaurants have an excellent oyster selection.

It is more than a little unusual for a new property to receive the accolades which the Commonwealth and its restaurants have received in their first years, but in these instances they are all richly deserved.

And we're not the only ones impressed - Hotel Commonwealth was voted #1 by Trip Advisor, and Boston Magazine named it as one of the 50 best hotels.

We stayed in their Baseball Suite which is a spacious 600 square foot luxury suite dedicated to our nation's pastime at the height of its popularity in the 1930s and 1940s.

There is a separate  living area is  divided by French doors and a bedroom with a king bed and imported Italian linens, plush down comforters and luxurious pillows.

The suite is filled with classic baseball memorabilia, including a 1967 World Series program (Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park), and a collection of vintage trading cards featuring Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky and Jackie Robinson.

The living room has a 50" plasma flat screen television and a corresponding DVD library with more than 40 classic baseball films as well as a large library full of books about the sport.

It's the perfect place to stay when you attend a Red Sox game because it's around the corner from Fenway Park.

Another very unusual themed accommodation is the Reading Suite which pays homage to literature. It is also a luxurious, 600-square foot tribute to the joy of curling up with a good book.

This two-room suite features carefully chosen appointments that recreate the look and feel of a classic library with distinctive decor such as hand-hewn desk, brass reading lamps

Where to dine

Island Creek Oyster Farm opened the Island Creek Oyster Bar in the Hotel Commonwealth to bring the restaurant to the farmer. It's a collaboration joining farmer, chef, and diner in one space.

They hope their guests  get to know their oyster grower, harvester, winemaker, distiller, brewer, and fisherman - one meal at a time.

The restaurant is the newest addition to the Hotel Commonwealth and almost immediately earned 4-1/2-stars on Trip Advisor.

A visitor from Australia wrote, “Run don't walk to the best oyster bar in Boston."

It is easily the best seafood in town, bar none. Try it once and you'll agree.

You had better be prepared for an exceptional experience. The biggest shock was how beyond perfect their signature Island Creek oysters were - and I'm from Cape Cod where I always thought Wellfleet oyster were the world's best.

A book about Island Creek oysters

On the coffee table I found a copy of author Erin Byers Murray's book  about the Duxbury Oyster Farm.

She wrote that she had always wanted to experience how the food she loved was created while she was writing restaurant reviews for the popular online magazine Daily Candy.

So she chucked her comfortable magazine career to spend a year shucking oysters for Island Creek in Duxbury.

Happily, her experiment paid off in the form of a book, Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm, which recounts her rugged, unplugged life on Duxbury Bay.

If you want a vivid glimpse into the colorful lives of the characters who actually farm your food - or just want to understand how a fast-track writer managed to detach for a year without going nuts - pick up a copy.

Grub Street says that Island Creek Oyster Bar in New England was designed to celebrate and educate diners about oysters.

It is a collaboration of a farmer (Skip Bennett), a chef (Jeremy Sewall) and a restaurateur (Garrett Harker). the closest we've ever come to an Island Creek oyster is dinner at Island Creek Oyster Bar. [Amazon]

Eastern Standard

The other restaurant in the Hotel Commonwealth is the Eastern Standard which is recognized nationally for its award-winning cocktail program is also given 4-1/2 stars by Trip Advisor.

Accessed from the hotel or from it's own entrance, walking into the restaurant has a very warm and pleasant ambiance. It is across Commonwealth Avenue from a T stop and is also a popular for  Sunday brunch.

The Eastern Standard's dining options are equally impressive and runs the gamut from a burger to its great menu with everything from Foie Gras and beyond.

It's a very cozy place, nice music. With a great list of option of hot and cold dishes. Wines and beers with honest prices.

Eastern Standard has a great cocktail menu and an excellent bistro menu. It is open till late at night, and has consistently good food at reasonable prices. The waiters and bar staff are very attentive .

I loved their raw bar which is as good as their sister restaurant, Island Creek Oyster Bar. My favorite is their grilled salmon with dijon mustard with fingerling potatoes and their hand rolled cavatelli.

The Eastern Standard is open for breakfast, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, dinner or late night eats.

The Eastern Standard menu.

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


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