With a richly sensual palette, the restoration of this historic Boston hotel maintains the property’s heritage while introducing a contemporary edge.
By Rachel Gallaher
A vignette in the library at the newly reimagined Newbury Boston hotel. Interior designer Jeffrey Beers was responsible for the redesign of the public spaces. Image by Nikolas Koenig.
While the priority of any hotel is to serve as a home away from home for travelers, certain properties attract locals—for dinners, weddings, holiday festivities—and become an embedded part of a city’s cultural fabric as much as the parks or historic sites. For Boston, that spot is The Newbury, a historic hotel located on One Newbury Street in the city’s Back Bay district. Opened earlier this year to coincide with the property’s 94th anniversary (it first opened in 1927 as one of the first Ritz Carlton hotels in the United States), the Newbury revealed a complete restoration and reimagining of interiors that ushers in a fresh new era, while retaining the strong heritage and unique characteristics the community has come to cherish over the years.
The hotel's Street Bar is a popular watering hole for locals. Throughout the public spaces Beers used Benjamin Moore's Bachelor Blue paint for a sophisticated effect. Image by Nikolas Koenig.
“We sought to invoke the spirit of the building’s heritage by incorporating many historic details, including the original cobalt blue chandeliers from the main dining room, into the meticulous redesign,” says interior designer Jeffrey Beers of New York firm Jeffrey Beers International, whose studio was responsible for the hotel’s new entrance and public spaces, including the lobby, the Street Bar, the library, fitness center, all of the meeting and event spaces. “The beloved property has a rich history, and it evokes strong emotion and memories for Bostonians. It was important for us to capture the nostalgia of a bygone era while also reviving the hotel with contemporary and bold design choices. We were incredibly inspired as well as respectful to the original detailing and we looked to Boston’s current culture and aesthetic to inspire our modern choices.”
A masculine sophistication runs through these public spaces with a bold color palette that complements the warm wood casework and detailing. The Newbury’s extensive art collection (featuring work from contemporary artists such as Sarah Lutz, Steve Locke, and Lauren Ewing) brings in the layered aesthetic of the European intellectual salon. Custom-designed carpets were influenced by, “[the] natural beauty found in the neighboring Boston Public Gardens,” Beers says. “Modern flora and fauna motifs and touches can be found throughout our design like the abstract pattern of the carpets.”
The lobby of the Newbury. Image by Nikolas Koenig.
The 286 guest rooms were designed by Champalimaud Design to have a residential feel. A palette of soft grays and tans is a contrast to the saturated colors found in public spaces, and the choice creates a mellow, relaxing aesthetic.
“Our goal was to create a sense of luxury through simplicity,” says Elisabeth Rogoff, principal at Champalimaud. “We chose a subdued color palette that would complement the natural beauty of the Newbury’s park views without becoming a distraction. Thoughtful furnishings echo the calming sights of the Public Garden. In that way, what lies outside of the guest rooms is just as important as what we’ve designed inside. Any guest room design should recognize setting and environment as crucial to the visual experience. The Newbury’s location holds an inherent prestige and grandeur, and we decided to let it speak for itself.”
Guest rooms, by Champalimaud Design, are light and airy with a neutral palette that allows the views of the nearby park to take center stage. Image by Dustron Saylor.
Bespoke details in each room—stitching on the headboards, commissioned art from Veronica Lawlor, who based her illustrations on the distinct and iconic architecture of the surrounding neighborhood—elevate the guest experience and bring a sense of authenticity to the interiors.
“We stayed in The Newbury before conceptualizing the new rooms and knew we wanted to create a narrative that celebrates the location and stunning views of the park,” Rogoff says. “Our new design speaks to the needs of today’s luxury traveler, which are both emotional and practical. We worked to replan the rooms and facilitate more generous bathrooms by taking space from oversized corridors. We redefined the relationship between the entry, wardrobe, and work areas to create multi-functional spaces tailored to the needs of today’s modern guest. By borrowing inspiration from the building’s grand history, we have faithfully marked a new chapter in its life.”