One of Boston’s hottest new spots, The Liberty Hotel is carved out of the city’s infamous Charles Street Jail. Following an extensive renovation of the 19th-century building, the hotel opened in September 2007 at the foot of Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood and next door to Massachusetts General Hospital. Its 298 guest rooms and suites feature sweeping views of Beacon Hill, the Charles River, and the riverside Esplanade.
The original jail was completed in 1851 in what was known as Boston Granite Style. The beautifully preserved central atrium of the hotel soars 90 feet and features the original “ocular” windows and three tiers of catwalks around the edge of the space’s exposed brick walls. The catwalks afford a great bird’s-eye view of the busy heart of the hotel and can be used for small breakouts or receptions.
Alibi, the first-floor bar, is housed within the building’s former “drunk tank.” With its restored cellblocks, original iron-bar doors, and blue stone flooring, it has quickly become one of Boston’s most popular nightspots.
Scampo, headed by chef Lydia Shire and known for its Italian-influenced cuisine, was recognized by Esquire magazine as one of America’s Best New Restaurants in 2008.
Finally, bustling Clink, just off the rotunda, offers a chic, sophisticated setting for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The menu changes daily but focuses on fresh, in-season ingredients. (Chef Joseph Margate’s lobster roll, prepared with fennel, smoked bacon, and Dijon mustard, is a perfect take on a New England classic.)
Also in the main building are 18 brick-walled guest rooms, meeting rooms, and a grand ballroom. Meeting and event space totals 6,000 square feet, with natural light in all but one room. The ballroom accommodates up to 200 people for sit-down dinners, or 350 for receptions. Meeting rooms range in square footage from 425 to 1,050, accommodating up to 120 people. All meeting spaces feature integrated LCD projectors and drop-down screens built into the ceiling.
Connected to the original building, a new 16-story tower houses 280 guest rooms ranging in size from 400 to 800 square feet, with floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the spectacular views up close. The Liberty’s 2,000-square-foot Presidential Suite has a master bedroom with king bed, living room, dining room and butler pantry, library, master bath, balcony, and 305-square-foot terrace with views of the Charles River.
The well-equipped health and fitness center, with weight-training and cardio equipment, features the interactive Koko fitness system and is open 24/7.
A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Liberty is a National Historic Landmark. Its preservation and restoration was done in close cooperation with the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Boston Landmarks Commission, and the National Park Service. Libertyhotel.com
—Barbara L. Brewer