Amenity Breakthroughs of Yore

by  Norman Vanamee | Mar 2, 2009
Copley Square Hotel in Boston
Copley Square Hotel in Boston / Photo courtesy of the property

When Copley Square Hotel, Boston’s second oldest continuously operating hotel, announced that it had installed new, cool-sounding registration pods (left) as part of a major renovation, we wondered what other innovative guest services it had come up with over the years. Management obligingly sent us a history of the hotel, which contained a treasure trove of amenities of yesteryear. Below, a look back at the cutting edge of hospitality in the...

1890s Right out of the gate when it opened in 1891, Copley Square Hotel offered what has proven to be one of the most enduringly popular hotel amenities, Private Parlors and Baths.

1920s During Prohibition, the hotel kept ahead of the curve by providing guests with a Speakeasy in the Basement, accessed by a metal ladder hidden in the lobby drug store. (Little did they know that this trend would resurface circa 2007.)

1940s Opening a music venue (again, in the basement) may not sound innovative today, but the hotel had the good sense to host a Jazz Club Run By George Wein, who went on a decade later to launch the Newport Jazz Festival.

1950s Management leases new-fangled Black and White Television Sets for guest rooms.

1960s Copley is one of the first hotels to Rent Space To An Outside Restaurant Company when it turns over a downstairs space to Edith Ban and her Café Budapest, which remained open for 35 years and set the stage for generations of future hotelier/restaurateur love-ins.

The hotel was also at the forefront of other amenity-ovations when it installed In-Room Coffee Makers and, perhaps less presciently, decided to send Boston Baked Beans To Every Guest Within 30 Minutes of Arrival.

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