For my husband’s 50th birthday, we were supposed to go to Greece.

Greece. Mediterranean waters, outrageous cuisine and epic sunsets… as the world has changed so dramatically around us, we had to let that drift away.

But we still wanted to celebrate; still wanted a family vacation that would be luxurious, engaging and have great food. So we packed up our car and headed for Boston!

Of course it’s not going to compare to Greece, but we definitely pulled out a pretty amazing trip; it felt great to be back on the road and staying in such lovely hotels, experiencing wonderful fine dining and learning a ton about our nation’s history.

We began our trip by checking into the first of two hotels – the Mandarin Oriental Boston, located in the historic Back Bay and freshly renovated as of this summer! The lobby is grand and sweeping with an inviting fireplace and a warm greeting by name from the friendly staff. It feels a bit like you’ve wandered into an elegant jewelry box – shiny surfaces and glittering lights.

After our socially distanced check in, the front desk staff invited us to “follow Mobi” to our rooms – to our surprise and delight, Mobi, the Mandarin Oriental’s robot mascot – literally escorted us along our path to the elevator where he selected our floor for us, rode up with us in the elevator, and led us directly to our door! The room was lovely – freshly renovated, warm and inviting, with an array of sweet treats awaiting our late night snack cravings as well as complimentary “safety kits” with masks, sanitizer and gloves.

We had a great night’s sleep and had a marvelous room service breakfast (included with our stay under Mandarin’s #FansofMO program). We were so excited to stretch out legs and walk the few blocks to the Boston Common where we met up with our costumed historian guide for a theatrical tour of the history of our great nation. History truly came alive for our son as we visited Paul Revere’s tomb, the site of the Boston Massacre, and Faneuil Hall. I cannot recommend our guide from History at Play enough – Judith was a fabulous and engaging entertainer. One on one with a local guide is such a great way to learn about a new city.

After our tour we checked into our next hotel – the fabulous Four Seasons One Dalton Street. This sleek, chic resort brings a winky bit of fun to the traditional five star luxury experience we all expect from the FS brand. Social distancing practices were evident upon check in with a mandatory questionnaire and temperature check for every person walking in the front door. After our warm greeting we we shown to our room – which a truly epic marble bathroom – the centerpiece being a massive white soaking tub with a city view! Outstanding!

About a half hour after check in we had a knock at the door and opened it to find a cocktail cart and our own private bartender who mixed us craft beverages from the hallway – the presentation was great, old school and so fun. We spent the late afternoon at 60 foot indoor pool, coming down in time to change for our amazing Italian dinner in the famous North End.

The next morning we enjoyed our Preferred Partner breakfast from room service, and headed to meet our amphibious Duck Boat – these super cool buses actually turn into boats and float up the Charles, giving you a coastal view of the city. Our tour guide was hilarious! After the tour we swung by the front desk and picked up a fall themed picnic basket – lovingly prepared by the chef at the Four Seasons. We strolled along the Esplinade until we found a spot under a willow tree, and enjoyed sunset views with our delicious charcuterie, and then spent the early evening strolling on Newbury Street and people watching.

The next morning was our departure day, but we just couldn’t go home without experiencing the high tea offered at the resort’s Trifecta lobby bar.

Author’s note: This was our first really trip since the pandemic began. We were a little nervous – less so about the protocols because we chose our hotels carefully, but more about whether there would be enough for us to do and how it would “feel” to be tourists right now. It was a marvelous escape, as the pictures hopefully show, and we are already planning our next city escape to Philadelphia – so stay tuned!!!

xo