Most visitors come to Beantown to check out some of the most historic
sites the city has to offer. From the Freedom Trail to the USS Constitution, the city provides something for everyone but where are you going to stay while researching Boston’s storied past? The Omni Parker House just might be the place you are looking for. The hotel has a rich history, dating back to 1855 when the hotel first opened its doors. Charles Dickens lived here for two years and is the site where he gave his first American reading of A Christmas Carol
. The hotel is ideally situated directly on the Freedom Trail route.
Parker House also boasts being America’s longest continuously operating hotel and is the creator of the famed Parker House rolls and Boston cream pie. Renowned chef Emeril Lagasse got his start at Parker’s Restaurant as a sous chef in 1979, as did Malcolm X, who worked as a bus boy, and Ho Chi Minh who was a pastry chef at the restaurant from 1911-1913. “Omni Hotels are all about capturing the culture of the city,” said David Ritchie, area director of sales and marketing for the Boston property. “We are known for inventing the Boston cream pie and have done some fun things with it over the years by creating a Boston cream pie martini and working with The Chilly Cow in Arlington to create Boston cream pie ice cream.”
Standard rooms here are on the smaller side, the door to the bathroom barely clears the toilet, so be sure to check out the suites even if you aren’t traveling with a larger party. One of the most popular suites, which is booked weeks in advance, is the Freedom Trail suite. Here you will find one bedroom and a common living area adjoined to a children's sleeping nook with bunk beds, bean bag chairs, an activity table with chairs, barrel-style nightstands, fisherman-styled table lamps, brightly colored furniture and children's colonial style costumes for play within the suite. There is also an entire chalkboard wall for drawing while another offers a large scale mural displaying the route and landmarks of Boston’s Freedom Trail that passes along the Omni Parker House entrance.
We had dinner at Parker’s Restaurant where we indulged in the famous Parker House dinner rolls served warm with butter. We were seated adjacent to the perpetually booked table 40, which is where John F. Kennedy
proposed to Jackie. For starters, don’t miss the Georges Bank Jonah Crab Cakes served with a smoky chipotle pepper sauce and the crispy North End Calamari with vinegar peppers served with a spicy Pomodoro sauce. For main dishes, the Boston Baked Schrod (meaning “catch of the day” - a word that was coined here), which has been a Parker House tradition since 1906, should truly not be missed. This deliciously fresh and flaky fish was the best schrod we have ever tasted topped with just the right amount of bread crumbs and served with white wine, jasmine rice and lemon beurre blanc.
The Crab Stuffed Whole Lobster was just as good; a 1.5-pound lobster arrived overflowing with Jonah crabmeat stuffing served with roasted fingerling potatoes, spring vegetables and lemon beurre blanc. For dessert, the absolute must-have here is the heavenly Boston cream pie, the official Massachusetts state dessert, which consists of a nice light sponge cake filled with a creamy center topped with chocolate icing and toasted almonds.
The Omni Parker House is located at 60 School Street in Boston. The hotel is pet friendly but didn’t offer standard pet amenities, i.e. dog bed, bowls and treats, found at most locations that do accommodate your four-legged friend. While you’re there, be sure to check out the famous upstairs Press Room where John F. Kennedy not only gave his first speech at his grandfather’s 80th birthday party, but also where announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress and where he held his bachelor party.
For reservations or more information, call (617) 227-8600 or visit OmniParkerHouse.com