It’s funny: the little details that you will always remember about your hotel stay.

For my recent trip to the Taj Boston, it was a dark chocolate elephant. Now, I have seen (and tasted) many chocolate room amenities, but never anything as splendid as this. This carved elephant was so exquisite, dyed in many different colors with painstaking detail, that I actually thought it was a fancy bowl (since it also held a variety of handmade truffles). That is, until the concierge asked me how I was enjoying my elephant…aah!

But enough about confections, let’s talk about locations. “The Taj,” as it’s affectionately known, sits on some of the finest real estate in Boston, overlooking the Public Garden and its famous swan boats, and just steps away from the city’s most elegant shopping district, Newbury Street. This elegant 1927 landmark has 273 guest rooms, including 44 suites with wood-burning fireplaces (so New England). Its meeting space can accommodate groups of 500. But again, a meeting here is all about elegance: crystal chandeliers, drapery suitable for a palace, plush carpeting. After all, this is Taj, a chain known for converting former royal palaces in India into world-class five-star hotels (its first was the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai).

Another memorable detail I recall from my visit was the seasoned staff. Many were former Ritz-Carlton employees (Taj took over the old Ritz in 2007), and one anonymous source told me that many employees of the new Ritz (which is nothing like this) are migrating over to Taj. They’re expert at knowing when to help and when their discriminating travelers are looking for privacy—one of the signs of a true luxury experience.

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