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Linda-Marie Singer is The Live Wire

Linda-Marie Singer - Click to Enlarge
A Look At Two "Sophisticated Ladies"
Click to Enlarge By Linda-Marie Singer

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The Westin Copley Place in Boston...overlooking the historic brownstones of the Back Bay,Trinity Church, and the Charles River
The Westin Copley Place in Boston...overlooking the historic brownstones of the Back Bay,Trinity Church, and the Charles River
BOSTON: Hear ye. Hear ye. The "Birthplace of America" has so much going for it, that you won't know where to begin. Whether it's a stroll along the Freedom Trail to the site of the Boston Massacre in 1770, or a glimpse at the breathtaking views from the Hancock or Prudential buildings, it's hard to tire of a city also deemed "The Spirit of America."

Since Boston is on such a historical overload, hardly anyone associates it with having a sense of humor. That's why I'm still laughing over what I saw at the site of the Boston Tea Party -- an actor dressed in eighteenth century regalia carrying a cup of Starbucks!

Obviously, it's not just the coffee or rather tea that makes Boston fit for sightseeing. Faneuil Hall, "The Cradle of Liberty," once echoed with the revolutionary eloquence of Samuel Adams. Not far away, Chestnut Street meant home to novelist Louisa May Alcott and to patriot Julia Ward Howe, lyricist of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Unlike other cities where you need so much time to cover the main sites, within a day or two you can easily take in the Quincy Market, the Boston Common, the John F. Kennedy Library, Harvard, and "Old Ironsides." But eventually you may just come to the conclusion that Boston is, after all, a great college town with a breathtaking river named Charles, and an enchanted hill called Beacon.

But don't leave out the sophistication. That's where the name Copley comes in. In fact, in the heart of town anything branded Copley automatically means savoir-faire as in location, shopping, and five-star hotels. Take The Westin Copley Place, winner of the AAA Four Diamond Award for the past twelve years. Apart from service, décor, and comfort, the sweeping venue also projects a hint of romance with its sprinkling of vistas from the Back Bay brownstones and Trinity Church to the Charles River.

Look up above and you'll see the skybridge linking the hotel with the Copley Place Shopping Galleries. Obviously, with such a popular scene, I wondered how this could ever be restful for travelers, until I heard the sound of gentle waterfalls in the Lobby. Walking unhurriedly through the corridors to elegant surroundings, I suddenly felt a sense of unruffled privacy.

With the quiet closing of the door and a visit to the lavish marble bath, my mind finally began to unwind. By nighttime, resting on an array of feathery pillows, I caught scenic views of Boston life etched beneath the lights. There, amid the stars, couples strolled around the Back Bay, and runners trickled along the paths of the Charles River. It's no surprise then that the famed Boston marathon has its finishing line outside the hotel's front door. As far as I can tell, this isn't the finish but rather, as the song writers say, the start of a beautiful friendship.
The Westin Copley Place Boston
10 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA. 02116
617/262-9600 1-800-WESTIN-1
Step into the 1930s glamour and 1990s modern skyline of The Essex House, a Westin Hotel
Step into the 1930s glamour and 1990s modern skyline of The Essex House, a Westin Hotel
NEW YORK: Clippity clop. It's close to midnight and I'm standing with my thirteen-year-old daughter across the street from The Essex House, listening to the romantic hooves of horses trotting around Central Park South. "When is it going to be our turn?" she cries out as couples stand in unofficial lines waiting for the next available driver.
Once back at the hotel, she runs through our stylish accommodations and lifts the phone. "Is this Room Service?" she asks nonchalantly. The voice on the other end tells her what she wants to know, and within a half-hour there's a knock on the door, followed by an elegant waiter holding a silver tray of…spaghetti. The bill comes to a whopping $25. "What about dessert? I forgot dessert!" The waiter is the only one laughing.

After digesting each delicious morsel she sighs: "Don't bother me for awhile. I need some privacy!" With that directive, my teenager quickly closes the door to the oversized marble powder room containing a shower and bath with one nozzle for massage, and the other for what looks like a telephone. As for the amenities, don't bother. She's convinced they're all for her as she squeezes the contents of each bottle.

It's nice to know that outside the stars are shimmering and falling over Manhattan, the same stars that fell over the 1930s when the famed Essex House epitomized those fanciful times of Art Deco, big band music, and high society soirees. Even Eleanor Roosevelt maintained a suite of rooms there during her husband's presidency. It's certain that she was lured by those broadcasts from the hotel's notable Casino on the Park, broadcasts that introduced America to big time radio names. Listening to those songs of swing meant that all you had to do was close your eyes and imagine how the "swells" lived on that other side of the country.

Today's Essex House, a Westin Hotel, still spurts with glamour and swell times, especially following its recent $75 million facelift. Catch the crowd as they line up at Les Celebrites, the hotel's five-star dining, and you'll immediately join the opulent surroundings. Walk only a block or two to reach the heart of Fifth Avenue, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall. Or, take a leisurely stroll to Broadway. Then come back to the hotel with its modern skyline and 1930s elegance…What's that you say? Oh no! My daughter has just redialed Room Service

THE ESSEX HOUSE, a Westin Hotel
160 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019


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Linda-Marie Singer "The LIVEWIRE" for Travel Watch. Former President of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, and created the national writers conference, "The Days of Wine & Proses." She is a travel and entertainment reporter living in the San Francisco Bay Area. (More about this writer.)

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