Boston's Seaport District is close to iconic downtown Boston attractions like Faneuil Hall and Boston Commons, yet off the beaten path enough to not be on the radar of tourists. It takes a little extra effort to walk over the Seaport Boulevard Bridge and head to the piers packed with boat tours and restaurants.
Located in South Boston or Southie as locals affectionately refer to it, the Seaport District has long been a trade port for Atlantic seafood trawlers. It's no accident that Legal Seafood Harborside along with its more edgy sister restaurant Legal Test Kitchen are literally across the street from each other. Further down Seaport Boulevard adjacent to Harpoon Brewery, local institution Yankee Lobster Company has been serving fresh seafood staples like stuffed haddock and lobster rolls since 1951. During most weekends, the restaurant can be clearly identified by the line snaking out the door.
Eight blocks away from the waterfront up D Street, newly opened Element Boston Seaport, is surrounded by blocks that were up until recently occupied by distribution centers, municipal bus garages, and industrial use. But with the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center right across the street as a catalyst, all this is changing with newly constructed infill residential development, and new hotels like Element and next door sister property Aloft transforming the neighborhood into a 24-7 community.
Checking into Element Boston Seaport may not get you bellhops, room service, or valet, but their 510 rooms and suites are the closest you can get to having your very own Boston apartment. Longer stays are amply accommodated with a pull-out couch in the living area, a large desk outfitted with charging ports, a bedroom with a king-sized Heavenly bed, wall-mounted flat screen TVs, expandable table, and full closets in both living area and kitchen.
Ensuite kitchens purposely include everything you need to get started on your favorite recipes like a stove top, full-sized refrigerator, coffee maker, dishwasher, plates, salt and pepper, pans, and utensils. Blue Apron and Peapod stand at the ready for more substantial ingredients since there isn't yet a supermarket in the neighborhood. For those times when you're too busy and tired to cook for yourself, XYZ Lounge across the parking lot at Aloft offers light bites and signature cocktails that can conveniently be charged to your room.
Floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows comprise the outer front and back walls of the expansive lobby allowing you to look back from the front desk onto the outdoor patio featuring a self-service BBQ grill during warmer months. Their indoor saline pool and adjacent exercise gym embrace the same concept making it entirely possible to see clear across the pool, through the lobby, and into the front parking lot while using the gym. The lobby's minimalist interior decor dominated by greens, browns, and whites along with modern, low-profile furnishings including plenty of living room- like seating, become especially vivid on sunny days.
Part of Starwood’s eco-conscious brand, Element embodies a commitment to the environment and balanced living. Built with recycled materials, water filters on the kitchen sinks eliminating the need for plastic bottled water, shampoo and conditioner pumps in the showers that cut down on packaging, and priority parking for fuel efficient cars, the hotel's mission also blends nicely with the redevelopment projects sprouting up around it.
A complimentary RISE breakfast buffet daily features smoothies, homemade granola, egg white omelets, fresh fruit, gourmet coffee, and fresh baked pastries. A self-serve 24/7 RESTORE Gourmet Pantry situated behind the front desk, for which all guests receive a $20 credit, is stocked with healthy grab-and-go options like baked coconut and apple chips, daily pre-made sandwiches, and Annie's microwavable meals. Each day ends with a complimentary RELAX evening reception offering appetizers and complimentary wine and beer encouraging you to unwind and connect informally with other guests.
Element's BIKES to BORROW gives you complimentary access to bikes accompanied with a local trail map for exploring the neighborhood. One excellent destination is Castle Island Park featuring Fort Independence overlooking the ocean just 2.5 completely flat miles away.
Photos: Steve Mirsky, Element Boston Seaport, & Wikimedia commons. Coverage made possible by a partially sponsored visit.