Boston and Beyond: 3 Ways to Stay in New England

by Brandon Schultz

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday July 21, 2022

The Omni Mount Washington Resort
The Omni Mount Washington Resort  

Whether you're looking for slightly cooler end-of-summer escapes or already planning your fall getaways, turning to the U.S. Northeast is a solid option for both. Sure, it's still hot in the summer, but less so than in most parts of the nation, and there's no more beautiful stretch of country than New England in autumn, so it's a win in either case. Whether you prefer the city or the country, something modern or something historic, Omni Hotels & Resorts has nearly a dozen properties throughout the region and they're as unique and varied as their diverse locations.

If you typically shy away from corporate chains, preferring the customization and individuality of boutiques, but sometimes long for the consistency and quality that comes with those larger brands, Omni is the solution for you. Still privately owned, each of the group's 50+ North American properties is destination-devoted, many of them with legendary regional histories, and operated with personalized hospitality otherwise all but lost in today's hotel climate, yet they all retain the high standards of the Omni culture. Here is just a sampling of how you could score a seamless New England vacation with Omni this year, no matter what type of stay you're looking for.

The lobby of Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport
The lobby of Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport  

Contemporary Urban Art Hotel

In Boston's Seaport neighborhood, a virtually new and already booming section of the South Boston Waterfront, the equally new Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport brings the culture of its surroundings into its glimmering tower of more than 1,000 luxe guest rooms. From its own commissioned art collections (alone, worth a tour of the property's public spaces) to its central lobby stage bringing performances of all kinds to the hotel regularly, the property is deeply rooted in the arts, setting buzzy scenes across the tower from "backstage" lounge areas to a full-service spa (the only one in Seaport) whose design evokes the progressive life cycle of a performance itself. Engaging the culinary arts, Lifted Pool Bar offers a fifth-floor open-air dining experience with retractable (silent) garage doors that invite a stellar cross breeze to the sweeping views of the neighborhood beyond; The Sporting Club sports bar and dining rooms, complete with the original training court floorboards of the Boston Celtics and a showcase bursting with Boston trophies and memorabilia, buzzes with nightly energy; and the hotel's culinary crown jewel, Coquette, offers fine dining steak and seafood from cult-favorite restaurant group COJE in a sumptuous setting straight out of Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette."

Omni Parker House in Boston
Omni Parker House in Boston  

Historic City Refinement

If historical panache is more your cup of tea, you won't find a Boston hotel with more cultural caché than Omni Parker House. America's oldest continuously operating hotel (forgiving a blip during the early pandemic, when there were no guests), the stately stunner isn't just located on the city's historic Freedom Trail, but it's hosted plenty of its own history. JFK proposed to Jackie O here, held his bachelor party here, and made his first political speech here. Malcolm X was a busboy here, Ho Chi Minh was a pastry chef here, and both Emeril Lagasse and Julia Child cooked here.

Speaking of cooking, Parker House rolls were invented here (now you understand the name), and so was the Boston Cream Pie (really, and verifiably). Charles Dickens stayed here while on an American reading tour, and the door to his room hangs behind glass in the hotel's lower level history hall, along with plenty of other artifacts and informational placards. The interiors are dripping with a sense of purpose and importance, from the gleaming bronze elevator bank to the wood-paneled Parker's Restaurant with its magnificent chandeliers and crest-emblazoned chairs. A pandemic-delayed remodel is in store for Parker House's spacious rooms and suites, and it promises to retain notes associated with the romance of historic travel while simultaneously lighting the ambience with plenty of modern touches.

The Executive Presidential King Room at the Omni Mount Washington Resort
The Executive Presidential King Room at the Omni Mount Washington Resort  

Countryside Grand Hotel

A visit to New England's picturesque countryside doesn't mean you'll have to leave civilization behind. On the contrary, in the epic tradition of grand hotels, Omni Mount Washington Resort remains an astounding reminder of the absolute splendor that travel once offered, with an architectural embarrassment of riches housed beneath its daring red roof. Soaring spaces, elegant atriums, stained glass, historic furnishings — it's no wonder that "Antiques Roadshow" filmed the premiere episodes of its most recent season here.

Nestled among 800,000 square feet of New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest, the expansive white exterior is a vision in snow-covered winter, when skiing is the main event here, but the all-season resort is equally awe-inspiring in warmer months. Regardless of the timing of your visit, take the Bretton Woods Skyway Gondola ride to Rosebrook Lodge for a can't-miss vista of the resort among its majestic surroundings (have a bite and a drink at Switchback Grille while you're up here, too). Views abound from Mount Washington's numerous dining and drinking venues, from Observatory Bar on Jewell Terrace to indoor/outdoor seating at Stickney's, but nothing tops an elegant dinner in the Sun Dining Room, encased by monumental windows set among serene ivory-tones revealing mountain views from nearly every vantage point.

On the lower level, there's a veritable village of entertainment from restaurants and shops to a speakeasy and recreational rooms, but the Spa at Omni Mount Washington is one stop you mustn't miss; it's past the end of the hall on the way to the resort's brand-new Presidential Wing, where you'll want to stay if you prefer a more modern moment in this historic gem. The Spa's 25,000 square feet include treatment rooms, fitness areas, heated pool, locker rooms complete with saunas and steam rooms, multiple relaxation areas, and a private outdoor deck with a mountain-view hot tub and cushy lounge chairs. For more active exploration of the grounds, you'll of course find the standard hiking, golf, and tennis you'd expect from such a resort, but set your sights on more unique offerings like horseback rides departing from original Victorian-era stables, and fly-fishing clinics on the Ammonoosuc River.

Brandon Schultz is the author of 6 travel and lifestyle books, and his work regularly appears in Forbes, Fodor's, Global Traveler, and Thrillist, with contributions to dozens of others including OUT, Out Traveler, and The Advocate. He lives in New York City.