Lauren Gamp reviews the W Boston and its Bliss Spa for a moment of calm during a busy city break
The spa is decorated in tones of icy turquoise and cool white, yet it’s a warm and cosy refuge from what’s a blustery Boston day outside. Various products line the shelves around reception, including the in-house brand Bliss, as well as SkinCeuticals and Elemis. The receptionist shows me to my locker and robe, before taking me to a refreshments room where I wait for my therapist. There’s a large party of friends in there and I feel rather like an intruder — I return to the room after my treatment and, to my delight, it’s empty of people and there are platters of olives, cheese cubes and brownies to keep me occupied. Outside the locker room, I’m encouraged to have a look through a basin of tester Bliss products while waiting for Vince, my massage therapist.
Vince finds pressure points I didn’t know were tense. I have a lot of tension between my right shoulder blade and armpit, as well as in between the ribs, it turns out. A lot of attention is paid to the armpit knots and I just about hold it together until the ticklishness finally gets too much, breaking what was a tranquil silence.
Vince lays hot towels on the right-hand side of my upper back after he’s massaged that area, then gets to work on the left-hand side. He does this, he explains, partly because it feels nice (it does) and partly because it causes blood to rush to the area to begin to heal it naturally while he works on the manual healing.
The soundtrack to my treatment is unexpected to say the least. Tracks include my favourite vintage Justin Timberlake ballad and what sounds like a saxophonist’s rendition of Beyoncé’s Run the World (Girls). Not exactly Zen, but a delightfully refreshing change from the usual wind chimes and whale sounds.
Vince finishes with a complimentary hot wax treatment for the feet. My feet go into bags of warmed liquid wax while my legs are massaged. This is incredibly relaxing, as well as being a softening and moisturising treatment for the skin.
The hot liquid wax, along with the warmed massage oil and heated massage bed, were a very welcome treat from the blustery, cold Boston day. My muscles continued to ache throughout the rest of the day, but in a relieved and relaxed way.
The hotel is everything you’d want and expect from a W establishment. It’s monochrome and stylish with accents of hot pink and mood lighting. The revolving doors open into the lobby bar — a casual eatery during the day, and a city hotspot by night.
Upon check in, I’m upgraded to a WOW suite, a fitting name for a truly breathtaking room. My suite has windows for walls, allowing me to take in the city surroundings from a great height. The very spacious living room area flows into a master bedroom. The bathroom is stocked with Bliss spa products, helping me reminisce about my earlier treatment.
When dining at The Gallery, you really are spoiled for choice. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’d looked up the menu online two weeks before my visit, and was already excited. My boyfriend and I both opt for tartare to start; he goes for the steak while I opt for tuna. Both are fresh and rich with all the right flavours. For main course, I have the chipotle, honey glazed chicken with street corn salad and grilled avocado. The second main course on the table (to my delight) is duck breast with sweet potato and agave, truffle nectar on a foie gras waffle. We also order a side dish of lobster mac and cheese (if lobster mac is on the menu, lobster mac is coming to my table).
Just when I was sure I was minutes away from opening the top button of my jeans, a surprise Nutella birthday flatbread with fresh berries and salted almonds is brought out. I don’t decline.
Dancing in the lobby bar to the soundtrack of W’s in-house Saturday night DJs. The sheer volume of people demonstrate that it’s the place to be, whether you’re staying at the hotel or not.
City slickers looking for a stylish, contemporary hub in which to explore Boston by foot.
Rooms from $249. The massage costs $170 for 75 minutes