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Boston's Sheraton Hotel: They Take care of You!

“The oldest public library in the country is here in Boston, and it’s virtually around the corner from this hotel,” said Jim Campbell, manager of the 1,216-room Boston Sheraton. “The Boston Common is the oldest public park in the county, and it’s just a 15 minute walk down Boylston Avenue.”      He might have also mentioned the first Sheraton in the country was in Boston as well, having opened back in 1937. That was way before there was a Prudential Center which for the past forty years has added a special dimension to a Sheraton stay with its Hynes Convention Center, a 200-shop mall, and a range of restaurants that run the gamut of dining experiences. All are accessible to Sheraton guests without having to venture out of doors.

But with so many attractions of this most historic of American cities within walking distance of this premier Back Bay hotel, why limit oneself to the indoors?

The amiable hotel manager: Jim Campbell - click to enlarge
The amiable hotel manager: Jim Campbell
“Of course, the convention center brings people to the Sheraton. But we also attract many, many tourists. It’s amazing how many people come to town to see this city. I still feel like tourist myself,” said Jim who’s been on the job for less than a year having arrived in early 2004. “We saw our first game at Fenway a few weeks ago, parked our car at the hotel, and walked over. My wife had grown up in Wyoming and her father was a Red Sox fan. They’d listen to the games on the radio because they couldn’t get it on TV.  Once we came to Boston, she couldn’t wait to take the tour of Fenway and see the Red Sox play.”

A native of Austin, Texas, the amiable hotel executive seems to be happily at home in his new surroundings. “One of the things that impresses me is how many of our staff are natives of the region,” he told us. “It seems the people here love the area and don’t want to leave. They’re comfortable with the climate and all the things Boston offers plus the advantage of having both the beaches and mountains nearby.  Boston is very much a small town atmosphere where everybody knows everybody. It has a large impact but it’s a small city.”

But there is nothing small about the Sheraton, from its broad circular driveway to its 9,000-square foot contemporary lobby where gleaming marble floors comfortably coexist with patterned carpets, and the vast space is punctuated by cozy conversation areas comprised of glass cocktail tables surrounded by plush sofas and high-back chairs in warm earth tones.

And then there is “the bed” – off to the side of the reception area – king-sized, turned down, its puffy duvet, down pillows, and pure white linens an irresistible temptation to weary travelers. “It’s no more than what our guests can expect in their rooms,” said Jim, “a bed with a very thick mattress with foam pillow top, very, very comfortable. It’s our way of advertising how we at Sheraton take care of you.

“ ‘Sheraton cares of you,’ is the name of our training program,” he added. “It carries on the mission established by the two gentlemen who originally founded the hotel: find out and deliver what the customer wants.”

Someone had found out and delivered what this pair of customers wanted in a hotel room. That much was clear from the moment we opened the door to our 29th floor room in the recently renovated North Tower club level. Before us was an enormous window that, on closer inspection, overlooked the rooftops of Back Bay brownstones and across the Charles River, dotted with sailboats this June afternoon, to the neo-classical buildings of MIT on the Cambridge side. When we finally stopped looking out the window, we took in the smart décor of our surroundings: a blend of early twentieth and early twenty-first century chic with a  dark blue pinstriped sofa, traditional mahogany furnishings, wood moldings, and, of course, “the bed.” Off the hallway was the bathroom, a study in modern luxury with creamy marble surfaces and sleek nickel fixtures.

While time pressures prevented our taking advantage of the Sheraton’s touted health club built around a stunning swimming pool beneath a retractable see-through roof, we did partake of the offerings of the  29th floor club lounge where a buffet breakfast far too ample and varied to be called continental is served each morning, and drinks and hors d’oeuvres are available during the cocktail hour.

We noticed how often when Jim referred to the Sheraton staff, he used the term “associates.”

“It’s more appropriate than ‘employees’” he said. “It suggests people who work towards the same goal rather than people who work for management. The name makes a difference, I think. We are all working here: housekeepers, food and beverage people, valet parkers, folks in reception, marketing, whatever – all doing their part to make sure we have a great team.”  And from what we could tell, it is a great team and consequently a great hotel indeed.

Sheraton Boston Hotel
Prudential Center
39 Dalton Street
Boston, MA  02199

Phone: 617-236-2000
Fax: 617-236-1702

Photos by Harvey Frommer

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer/travel.htm.

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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