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The Liberty Hotel, Boston

by Ami Kealoha in Design on 21 December 2009

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Housed in a landmarked former jail overlooking the Charles river near downtown Boston, the Liberty Hotel makes a refreshing alternative for business and leisure travelers alike. The stunning architectural adaptation of the Boston Granite School building focuses around a soaring central atrium that, as a lobby, reception area, bar and lounge, functions as the heart of the property. With a 90-foot high ceiling, exposed beams, wrought-iron windows and cast iron chandeliers, the octagonal space provides a dramatic setting for a lively urbane scene.

Recently my friend Keren and I had the chance to stay there when using it as a base for going to the Brimfield Antiques market. We arrived on a Thursday evening to find the lobby filled with Boston's well-heeled singles crowd, who were there for the hotel's weekly "Fashionably Late" event. As it turned out, the Alibi bar, Veuve Clicquot's Grand Dame bar and two restaurants (Clink and Scampo) make the hotel a popular destination for locals looking for upscale dining and socializing all nights of the week.

We enjoyed a meal at Clink, sampling a variety of their New England-meets-European fare in their dining room overlooking the Charles river. The cozy third-floor space (complete with intact jail cell doors) would make a great vantage point to catch fireworks or just watch a snowfall while snacking on delicious menu options like juicy veal-ricotta sliders and hunks of foie gras served with blackberry jam.

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Starting the meal with warm olive bread, we also sampled some flavorful fresh oysters, salmon accompanied by mushrooms, sweet fresh corn and cherry tomatoes, short ribs (served deboned) and addictive fingerling potatoes drizzled with truffle oil. Keeping seasonal ingredients as the focus point, Clink channels a contemporary vibe to great effect.

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While the architecture puts the emphasis on dining experiences and the social scene, the rooms themselves hold their own with modern furnishings, "imported linens," Molton Brown products, 32" flat panels, minibars, four-fixture bathrooms and wiring geared for today's tech-heavy traveler. Starting at 400-square feet and with all featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, the spaces feel generous for an urban hub and suites offer the option of going bigger and getting spectacular city and river views.

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Combining the best of the historical building with contemporary amenities and design, the Liberty Hotel makes a smart choice for both Boston visitors and residents alike who want a sophisticated option in one of the U.S.'s oldest cities. Rack rates start at about $286 for a double. Book through their site.

The Liberty Hotel
215 Charles Street
Boston MA 02114 map
tel. +1 617 224 4000

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