Travel

Back Bay

Establishment neighborhood
Four Seasons Hotel Boston
200 Boylston St, Back Bay
The recently renovated Four Seasons in Boston’s Back Bay has made comfortable bedding into an art form (they designed their own mattresses, for starters). Silky-smooth Frette sheets and double-glazed, practically soundproof windows contribute to transforming the beautifully outfitted guest rooms into sleep sanctuaries. A stroll around the Boston Public Garden’s lake is a gorgeous way to start the day (the hotel's bright, twenty-four-hour gym is another) before hitting the sights, most of which are walkable. The hotel's restaurant, the Bristol, excels at traditional New England eats served in an elegant, wood-paneled dining room. Tuck into the king crab tortellini—it’s every bit as good as it sounds.
Alan Bilzerian
34 Newbury St, Back Bay
Alan Bilzerian and his family have been bringing their own—quite specific—point of view to Boston’s sartorial scene since 1967. This is not the place to come for a simple white button-up and sensible flats. Bilzerian homes in on Japanese and European fashion specifically, and the stock of designers speaks the family’s broad-ranging tastes: Thick, chunky knits from Irish designer Lainey Keogh sit alongside floaty Isabel Marant blouses and voluminous Issey Miyake silk pants. On the home front, the store skews toward modern, sculptural vases and candleholders, while the Murano stemware is strictly old-world—gilded and formal in a count-and-countess-are-coming-for-dinner way.
MiniLuxe Boston
31 Newbury St., Back Bay
Like MiniLuxe’s other locations around the country, this spot is known for its soothing, minimalist interiors, a selection of six-free polishes (meaning free from six toxic ingredients, like formaldehyde, found in conventional polish), excellent service, and waxing specialists cheekily called “editors.” Maximize your time and book brows, nail treatments, and waxing, since, as we mentioned, this spot has it all. Trust us and spring for the slightly more expensive performance polish manicure, a forty-five-minute treatment that uses the brand’s in-house polish line that dries in five minutes and wears like a gel (meaning it will last close to two weeks).
Bella Santé
38 Newbury St., Back Bay
Bella Santé is a convenient one-stop shop for beauty in Boston—facial treatments, massage, manicures, pedicures, and a full hair program. These are no run-of-the-mill facials, either. Expect medical-grade treatments, like dermaplaning (gently scraping off the top layer of dead skin cells to allow deeper penetration of products) and microneedling (tiny needles are run over the face to induce inflammation—the good kind—that kick-starts collagen production). Both may sound torturous, but they don’t hurt in the least. The nonmedical facials use Skinceuticals products. Moving from the face to the crown, the blowouts are speedy, and the color technicians know what they’re doing; the same goes for the manicures and pedicures. Book in for a full day of pampering with a girlfriend and allow for plenty of time between treatments to kick back in the relaxation rooms in your robes.
Balans Organic Spa
216 Newbury St., Back Bay
The only 100 percent organic spa in Boston (on pretty Newbury Street, no less), Balans specializes in plant-based treatments. This is a full-service outfit with an adjacent wellness center for nutrition, meditation, and exercise needs. The facials are customized entirely to your skin and accompanied by a complimentary nutrition and health consultation (if you like). Aside from the aesthetic treatments, Balans has a flotation tank to help fully relax the mind, the idea being to remove any kind of stimulant—unless you want to listen to music or a guided meditation. This water is Dead Sea–level salty by way of Epsom salts, to permeate the skin with essential minerals, so floating isn’t something you need to think about—it just happens. The massages can be boosted with body brushing, too.
Drybar Boston
234 Clarendon St., Back Bay
It is impossible to dislike Drybar—the concept just works. Forty-five dollars will get you a wash and blowout, done in a beautiful, calm, yellow-flecked setting in record time. Cough up an additional ten dollars for a scalp massage during your shampoo. What’s most convenient about Drybar is that founder Alli Webb and her team realize that for many, two blowouts a week can save precious hours in the morning. Drybar’s membership options address this need and make that sleek, bouncy crown of hair a weekly reality rather than a celebratory treat. Just ask your stylist to go easy on the products—they tend to have a strong, identifiable scent that some don’t like.
Serenella
134 Newbury St, Back Bay
Serenalla has occupied this elegant townhouse in Boston’s Back Bay for over thirty-seven years and is a testament to the locals’ love of a neighborhood standby. Stocking the likes of Bottega Veneta, Erdem, and Gucci, as well as harder-to-find brands like Vilshenko and Marlo Laz, the store is a pleasure to browse in. Serenella is easy to navigate and the staff could not be more helpful (or knowledgeable). The store often hosts trunk shows with international designers. You’ll find sister stores in Palm Beach and Nantucket.
Saltie Girl
281 Dartmouth St, Back Bay
Owner Kathy Sidell spent her childhood sailing with her father and fell in love with the feeling of salt on her face after a day at sea. And while New England is synonymous with seafood, Saltie Girl pushes the boundaries far beyond oysters and clams. Saltie Girl’s claim to fame is the largest tinned seafood collection in New England. We’re talking Siberian Osetra caviar, Pacific salmon roe, tinned Spanish anchovies, Portuguese sardines…the list goes on. Be brave and order something out of your comfort zone—you won’t be disappointed. If it's comfort you’re after, the fried lobster on a waffle soaked with sweet corn butter is the way to go. The interior is a further nod to Sidell’s love of the ocean. The walls are bright turquoise, the bar is set off in blue tile, and the wooden booths make you feel like you’re eating on a boat.
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