If you are looking for a place to stay in Boston that is more sustainable and green, look no further than Boston’s Element Seaport Hotel.
The hotel invited me to stay and check out what they had to offer so my hubs and I jumped on the invitation. We decided to make this a kid-free night and had fun doing it up in Boston’s up and coming Seaport District.
The Element is an “eco-wise extended stay brand” of Starwood Hotels with 23 locations globally. They are built with sustainability in mind and with the intention of become in LEED Certified within the first two years. The hotel features a ton of green features including:
- fully equipped kitchens in each room as well as a common area grill (so key – especially with kids).
- low-flow faucets and fixtures
- energy efficient appliances
- recycling bins in guest rooms and common areas
- recycled tile flooring and wall mountings for art
- refillable shampoo/conditioner and body wash dispensers to cut down on plastic waste
- electric vehicle charging stations
- 24/7 fitness center
- a master on/off switch in each guest room (my husband loved this feature).
My top three FAVE amenities/services here were by far, and in this order:
- Filtered water in every room
- Saline swimming pool
- Bikes-to-Borrow Program
Filtered Drinking Water
Okay first of all – the hotel installed a water filter into every guest room kitchen so you have access to free filtered water 24/7. I travel quite a bit and one of the hardest things for me when I travel is finding CLEAN drinking water. Most bottled water is no better than tap water plus it has been sitting in plastic for God only knows how long. But what’s the alternative? Chemically treated, fluoride enhanced tap? I try to seek out real spring water bottled in glass but it’s not always available and it’s wicked expensive so anyways this perk was the highlight of my stay.
Indoor Saline Swimming Pool
After our kid-free night, we had the boys join us so they could explore the hotel too. I mean lets be honest, they are 3 and 4 and at this age a hotel + a hotel room is like a weekend away at Disney for them. So anyways, I was so excited for them to play in the hotel’s Saline pool! If you want to talk about toxin exposure, lets talk about the average public swimming pool and the chemicals required to maintain it. But the Element hosts a saline pool which uses a saline solution to keep the water clean. My son Quinn has a mild case of Eczema so I was especially excited for him to get a chance to enjoy this nontoxic amenity.
My other fave perk was the Bikes-to-Borrow program. The hotel has a fleet of bikes and helmets that guests can use at their leisure FREE OF CHARGE. This is great for the Seaport District and Boston in general because you can really get anywhere with a bike in this midsize city. And with the recent installation of bike lanes in Boston, it makes bike travel even that much easier. Even better than this is the bikes are NICE. I tested one out the next morning when I went to grab us lunch from Sweet Green. I was expecting a clunker like the Hubway ones but I have to say it was like, a real bike.
Right across from The Lawn On D – this hotel is not in the heart of the Seaport – I would consider it more on the outskirts. That being said, it is still an easy 5-10 min walk down to the waterfront where the restaurants and bars are located – which we did several times with pleasure.
I actually really liked The Lawn On D – I’ve never been there before but it is essentially like a beer garden/play space featuring mod swings, bean bag toss, Bocci, ping pong, solar power phone charging stations and a food/beverage stand. And by beverage stand I mean beer and wine – WOAH WOAH Boston – so progressive! Let’s not jump the gun, I mean it’s only 2016 and our last call is still 12:30am. Sarcasm aside, the kids loved this space and so did the adults.
Okay so this wouldn’t be a legit TOG post without a food critique. But let me back up for a minute. The Element hotel focuses on sustainability, reducing waste, recycling and energy efficiency – it’s not marketing itself as an organic eatery. That being said there were some pros/cons with the food. They were really generous with what they had to offer, it just was not organic which is what I would have preferred.
They offer complimentary hot and cold breakfast. Hot sandwiches, smoothies, granola, fruit, coffee, pastries and more. The staff was telling me the chef will cook fun things for the kids too with an occasional waffle or pancake bar. So my husband travels A TON for work – like probably 50-70 nights a year he stays at hotels – and when he saw this breakfast he was like, “This is the best COMPLIMENTARY breakfast I have ever seen.” He was impressed.
I ended up grabbing a coffee and a yogurt from this new coffee shop that opened in the area because I wanted to check it out but turns out there were no organic options there either and is not worth a mention.
They also offer a complimentary evening reception with snacks and adult beverages on their patio four nights a week (M-TH). Were were there on a Friday night so we missed it but it sounds fun! And they have a pantry with sundries for purchase. There were the usual suspects in the pantry like big name chip brands and sodas BUT I was happy to see some Amy’s Kitchen non-GMO frozen meals available too.
Here are some snacks that welcomed us when we checked into our room.
Okay I also have to talk about the toiletries. Super cool that the hotel is aware of plastic waste and makes an effort to conserve by installing refillable product dispensers. They even take the barely-used bars of soap that are left after guests check out and send them off to a recycling company to be repurposed. Love it.
They stock Pharmacopia which is better than what is offered at most hotels but after checking out the ingredients, I was still not comfortable using it. I can totally see why they picked it – check out the marketing description here. I see all the right buzz words but the proof is in the pudding and the ingredients didn’t line up. I didn’t take a pic of the ingredients and I can’t find them online (telling) but what I can tell you is I didn’t like all of them. But I always BYO anyways so I was ready for it.
The bed and pillows were awesome. Bed was firm in support but soft upon contact. And the pillows were supportive and forgiving.
The view from our bedroom – with floor to ceiling windows was killer. Plus they came with full blackout shades.
There was no tub but the shower head delivered.
We asked for a late checkout and they obliged with a 4 pm checkout time. That is BY FAR the latest late checkout we have ever been granted. Blogger perk? I have no idea but it sure was nice to stay and play the following day.
This two room suite was less than 150.00 with taxes – a great space with a bedroom, living room and a walkthrough kitchen. Here is short video walk-through and some additional pics.
This hotel is within walking distance to South Station, Faneuil Hall, the Aquarium, The Bank of America Pavilion and the Harpoon Brewery….also the Moakley Court House where James “Whitey” Bulger was tried.
Boston is pulling in the rear with the organic eats but I still have faith! I am seeing more and more options pop up daily and I can’t wait to see more.
That being said, I would recommend Row 34 for dinner which has some seasonal and local fare including a killer raw bar if you are into that kinda thing – they even feature a beer that is brewed in a brewery that abuts their establishment. Talk about local. And their crab toast is to-die-for. Make a reservation.
First time I tried Sweet Green and it was yum. Perfect for lunch. Not organic but local, veggie focused and fresh.
I also really like Flour Bakery and Cafe – again not organic but made from scratch and dang delicious. Great for lunch or a coffee break and they have a cute kids menu too. My kids got the ham and cheese on house-made bread. They have some gluten-free baked goods options too.
James Hook for a locally caught lobster roll. Their place burnt down a few years ago so they put up a temporary trailer which they are still operating out of – a hole in the wall that is worth the stop.
Legal Seafoods for some local seafood fare. Legal’s is synonymous with Boston and can be touristy but I like their fish. I always ask what the wild caught selections are and the Seaport waterfront location has a killer roof deck – gorgeous view, laid back atmosphere and a lengthy line on the weekends.
Drink for a cocktail – a quirky underground bar that is literally underground and prides itself on having NO drink list/menu. Patrons are encouraged to describe flavors they like and the bartenders whip up something to fit your taste. Two words: tequila, spicy. They also have a one-in, one-out seating policy and the door is manned with a seating host so expect a line.
And that’s a wrap! If you are ever in the Seaport consider these options and enjoy your stay!