Having stayed in an abundance of different lodgings in all parts of the world over the last few years – some I would love to return to and others I could not leave fast enough - it takes a very special place to top my list of favourite guesthouse of them all. And a very special place it really is!
I was travelling through New England with a friend and we consulted the Rough Guide for places to stay in Boston a few days before arriving there. The Beech tree inn was recommended in the guide and a short and pleasant phone call later we were booked in for a few days.
It was late afternoon when we turned into the quiet tree-lined suburban street of Brookline and drove up to the quaint multi-story Victorian house with the lovely green garden and old shady corner tree. As we pulled into the driveway I couldn’t help but smile at a sign clearly aimed at preventing people from blocking the entrance to the driveway: “Don’t even think about parking here!”. Probably a lot more effective than your average no parking zone sign I thought. After parking in an ‘acceptable’ parking space at the back we entered the house and were welcomed by the wonderfully warm and friendly innkeeper Nancy, who immediately made us feel comfortable and at home.
While we were completing our check-in detail Nancy requested information of a friend or relative in our home countries that the guesthouse could contact in case of an emergency. I realised that never before has a guesthouse or hotel asked for this and I was impressed with this practical yet thoughtful gesture.
Nancy explained that the house used to be a commune for students until it was converted to a guest house. Knowing that we were new in town Nancy gave us a lot of very useful information and tips for our stay in Boston. This included how to use Boston’s public transportation system the T, how to get to the best local restaurants, and why unless you have tickets to the game, it is a very good idea to stay away from the nearby Fenway Park when the Red Sox are playing. This turned out to be very good advise as the world series was underway and a few nights later we heard that some Red Sox fans were turning over cars near Fenway park after they lost to the Yankees. The game was in New York City!
Our room was a lovely loft twin room on the top floor of the house. It was inviting and homely with many special touches that made it feel like more than just a guesthouse room. We were in a room without an en-suite but the bathroom was just across the hall and there was soft white fluffy bathrobes and slippers available for us in our room. Each room had a file containing lots of useful information about the area and Boston itself. There was also a video player in our room and an extensive video tape library was available for the use of guests in the downstairs area.
There was a wonderful continental breakfast available every day including fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals, bread and scones which you could enjoy in the dining area while catching up on the local news with the morning’s edition of the Boston Globe or New York Times. Loving flavoured coffees I was spoilt for choice and could choose from a selection of French Vanilla, Hazelnut and Irish Cream. After breakfast, before you rush off for the day you can get an up to date weather forecast, conveniently pinned up on the fridge to help you plan for either a park or museum day. Another lovely touch.
When we arrived back ‘home’ during the course of the day there were always tasty freshly baked biscuits that Nancy made during the course of the morning. Guests were invited to help themselves and the supply never seemed to end.
I have very fond memories of my time in Boston still today and I have no doubt that the Beech Tree Inn played some role in this. I realised there that the comfort and style of your accommodation can greatly influence your impression of a travel destination. I am sure that the Beech Tree Inn will continue to leave guests with wonderfully pleasant memories of Boston.