Back Bay is Boston’s premier luxury residential address/neighborhood and one of America’s most desirable neighborhoods. The neighborhood plan was designed by Arthur Gilman of Gridley James Fox Bryant inspired by Haussmann’s renovation of Paris with parallel streets and tree lined avenues (Commonwealth Mall). There are five east-west corridors: Beacon Street (closest to the Charles River), Marlborough Street, Commonwealth Avenue, Newbury Street and Boylston Street which is intersected by north-south cross streets: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester and Hereford, all blessed with historic brownstones originally dating from the mid-1850’s to early 1900’s.
The neighborhood was originally built on filled tidal marshes in the mid-1800s and added 450 acres to the City. During this time, the new neighborhood attracted wealthy citizens of the day who commissioned leading architects to design and construct stately homes. Considered one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century urban design in the United States. The Back Bay has a high concentration of luxury condominiums created from the originally constructed large brownstones and townhouses. The interiors as well as the exterior details (strictly regulated by the Back Bay Architectural Commission) and materials of these magnificent brownstones represent craftsman from a different golden era. The inspiration for this historic neighborhood came to be from the great cities of Europe seen today. Many of the full-service luxury buildings are in this area which include but are not limited to: The Four Seasons (220 Boylston Street), Mandarin Oriental Boston (776 Boylston Street), Ritz Carlton House (2 Commonwealth Avenue), Heritage on the Garden (300 Boylston Street), Le Jardin (250 Boylston Street), The Clarendon (400 Stuart Street), Belvedere (100 Belvidere Street) and Trinity Place (100 Huntington Avenue).
Within Back Bay is the fashionable shopping district (made up of unique shops and trendy restaurants on Newbury Street, Boylston Street and Copley Place), convenient public transportation and neighborhood features such as: Charles River Esplanade, Hatch Shell (features concerts and festivals), Boston Public Garden, Boston Public Library, Trinity Church and Commonwealth Mall. Boston is also home to the finish line of the world-renowned Boston Marathon.
Since the 1960s, the High Spine has influenced large-project development, reinforced by zoning rules permitting high-rise construction along Massachusetts Avenue and air rights siting of buildings. Some of Boston’s tallest buildings are in this area such as the Prudential Tower and John Hancock Tower.
Hotels in this area include: The Four Seasons Boston Hotel, Mandarin Oriental Boston Hotel, Taj Boston, The Boston Park Plaza, The Fairmont Copley Plaza, The Lenox Hotel, The Copley Square Hotel, Colonnade Boston Hotel, Lowes Boston Hotel and The Westin Copley Place.