Guest Author - Kara Williams
Prime Downtown Location
The Boston Omni Parker House dates back to 1855, making it the oldest continually operated hotel in the capital city of Massachusetts. Its location right on the Freedom Trail, a series of historic sites throughout the city, couldn't be any more ideal. It's just a few minutes' walk to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. Here, you can shop, eat and people watch to your heart's content. The warm-weather months bring mimes, dancers, jugglers and magicians performing all day long on the pedestrian area.
However, because the hotel is sandwiched between other buildings downtown, at a busy School Street and Washington Street intersection, there's no on-site parking. You'll need to have the valet park your vehicle to the tune of $38 a night.
Stellar Customer Service
This summer, my mom and my two children booked a room at the Omni Parker House before the kids and I had to hop on a plane back to our Colorado home. When we arrived, the front desk clerk had no record of our online booking (through Hotels.com; they'd spelled my name wrong). It took a while for the error to be sorted out, and while children were waiting, basically wreaking havoc in the spinning leather chairs at the desks in the lobby, a very kind hotel staffer offered them a nifty box that all children staying at Omni hotels receive. (I thought for sure she was coming over to tell them to stop messing with the chairs!) The kids were enamored with the goodies inside: a slinky, playing cards, activity booklet, crayons and more. It's a nice perk for families staying here.
The front desk clerk couldn't have been more patient as we ironed out the reservation problem. And when we asked the concierge for dining suggestions, he took the time to mark up a pedestrian map, and offered his opinions on what eateries he thought the kids would most enjoy. (I'm sure the staff has a list of suggested romantic restaurants for honeymooners as well!)
The aforementioned kind front desk clerk generously upgraded us to a Junior Suite, when she realized there were four of us who'd been planning to share a Deluxe Room with two double beds.
What surprised me is that the Junior Suite here -- two double beds, a work desk and two chairs in a small sitting area -- was actually not that much bigger than a standard room I've stayed in at moderate hotels. The bathroom was tiny, with a small sink and little room on the shelves to store toiletries.
The room was elegantly furnished with custom cherry furnishings and Victorian-style accents. Beds and linens were ultra comfy.
With its long history (check out the old chute in the hallway once used for a mail drop), it's no surprise, really, that there are some haunted tales that come with this hotel, according to Boo.com. Apparently, a guest mysteriously died in Room 303 years ago, and ever since, other guests and staff members reported smelling whiskey and hearing loud laughter coming from the room. It happened so often, and was so disturbing to staff, that the room was turned into a closet.
Also on the third floor, a famous 19th-century actress died, and today an elevator sometimes travels up to the third floor without any buttons being pressed!
Want more spooky stories? Hotel founder Harvey Parker, who died in 1884, was particularly passionate about keeping guests happy. He's been known to appear in guest's rooms to ask about their stay!