Whoops! Some mishaps at the Ritz Carlton Boston

I’ve been a fan of the Ritz Carlton in Boston and the property has been my default choice when staying in Boston.  I reviewed the property back in 2014 (prior review here) and have stayed here perhaps a dozen times in the last five years.

A recent business trip had two of my colleagues meeting me (all coming from various cities) at the hotel for a night before meetings the following day in the Boston area.

My stay was fine.  The service was good.  Bed comfortable.  I even had time for a massage (more on this later).  I even stuffed up my booking at made it for the night before, but the hotel gladly accommodated me and re-instated my booking from the prior night.  (I’m lucky they weren’t sold out the night I arrived!)

Ritz Boston – Lobby Area (from a prior visit!)

Entry-level Room

I wasn’t offered an upgrade and there was no acknowledgement of my Ritz Stars/Virtuoso booking, but I was sufficiently happy to have a room!

Entry-level room at Ritz Boston
Entry-level room at Ritz Boston

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Not the best view at the hotel!

The bathroom was reasonably well appointed, though had only one sink.  I very much appreciate having a separate shower and tub.

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There were plenty of bed-side outlets, though the traditional three-prong outlet had gotten a lot of use and held plugs only loosely.

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Food and Beverage

I ordered a delightfully unhealthy breakfast from room service.  Due to my Virtuoso booking, there was no charge for breakfast.

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One of my colleagues and I had dinner at the Avery Lounge, the hotel’s lobby lounge bar and restaurant.

Avery Bar (from a prior visit)
Avery Bar (from a prior visit)

The server was friendly, the food was good and everything was handled with alacrity.  I did not take photos of our food.

Gym and Spa

I decided to fly up to Boston a bit earlier than I usually would for a “night before” arrival to relax for a bit.  I caught up on some work-related reading and booked a massage in the spa.  “Spa” really isn’t the right way to describe it.  The hotel’s “spa” is in its gym; the gym, unfortunately, is an open-to-the-public Equinox gym.  Their massage area is merely some rooms in a corridor near their public gym locker rooms.

Not knowing this, I went down early with the hopes of a quiet steam before my massage.  I haven’t taken a steam with 25 other people – the majority of which were heavily tattooed – since ever?  Some of the patrons were engaged in vigorous conversation – which echos quite unpleasantly in a steam room.  There were also soiled towels and other F&B waste in the steam room.  (I don’t have an issue with tattoos, more just highlighting something you don’t typically see in a Ritz steam room!.  While I do not have any tattoos and no interest in getting one personally, I often find the artistic work quite impressive – what a difficult canvas to work on!)

Taking a shower after was also relatively unpleasant, and their showers, though with closing doors, were clearly designed for industrial volumes!

The “relaxation” room where you wait for your therapist to retrieve you was anything but relaxing.  It was merely a small room with perhaps four chairs that was also used for a bit of a thoroughfare, and quite a few people walked through in the ten minutes I waited.  There was one other seated person in the room; he was filling out a job application.

When my therapist came for me, the room she took me to was reasonably appointed, but was by no means soundproof and I could easily hear every person who walked by.  The massage itself was fine; not great, but not unsatisfactory.

While Equinox gyms are far larger with much more equipment than a typical hotel gym, being in a large setting with hundreds of people isn’t what I’m looking for at a Ritz Carlton.  To use the “spa” moniker to describe the massage offerings is a gross misstatement.  Looking at the hotel’s website could have been a tell – in that when you click on spa, there is only a stock photo of a vase – no actual facilities are shown.  Safe to say the actual facilities wouldn’t show that well.

A Colleague’s Difficulties

One of my colleagues, unfortunately, had a number of things go terribly wrong with his stay.  His room service breakfast came over 30 minutes after the requested time, which caused him to have time only for a bite or two.  The door-hanger menus at the hotel have 20 minute windows.  His came 30 minutes after the later end of the window!  When he called down to in-room dining, their only excuse was that they were busy.  (My breakfast arrived on time.)

Matters were made worse, however, when his shoes never returned from the overnight shoeshine!  In hundreds of stays I and he have had, we’d never heard of this happening.  Regular readers will recall I had a bit of a scare with my shoes at the former Capella in Washington.  To have them simply vanish – unheard of!  Shortly before when our driver was coming for us, he realized his shoes haden’t come back.  A call to housekeeping was inconclusive so he tracked down the manager on duty.  He, too, was flummoxed and could not find them.

Mindful of our pending departure, the duty manager pulled a pair of shoes out of an employee’s locker and gave them to my colleague!  While they were one or two sizes too big, it was better than no shoes at all for Boston in winter!

We left things that my colleague would mail the shoes back when he got home and the manager would track down my colleagues shoes after we left.  Unfortunately, while the loaners were promptly returned, his original shoes were never found.  The hotel ended up cutting him a check for $500 for new shoes (replacement cost for those lost).

We applaud the manager’s approach to handling the situation – but it is a situation that clearly should never have come about in the first place.

Staff member's shoes!
The loaner shoes!

* * * * *

This hotel had been my default choice in Boston.  I am certain my colleague won’t willingly return for a few years – so we will need to find someplace new to stay.  The Four Seasons is in need of a refreshment and the Beacon XV disappointed. Perhaps next up is the Taj (f/k/a Ritz Carlton) or the Boston Harbor Hotel.  Suggestions welcome!


Ritz Carlton Boston
10 Avery Street, Boston, MA 02111
+1 617 574 7100

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