Sunday, December 16, 2007

A decadent winter afternoon

Tim and Peter mark 15 years of togetherness in April, but have decided, in a fit of brilliance, to spread the celebration out over the next few months. Genius.

For December, that meant a weekend at the Copley Plaza, and they invited us to share their rented luxury, starting with lunch in the Oak Room.

We'd been given a table for 2pm--which turned out to be the same time the kitchen closed--but the staff were very apologetic and kept things running long enough for us to eat. The food was pretty good all round, though Peter made the winning choices. First, fluffy, fist-sized crab cakes on a fresh red-pepper coulis:

And then eggs Benedict topped with caviar, with insanely light roast potatoes:

We were the only people in the room, apart from a table of four black-clad dowagers in fur-covered hats. The walls were paneled in oak (natch), carved with leaves and acorns, decorated with stag heads; the ceiling had plaster cherubs and half-clad reclining women.

And then the waiter brought an extra plate of Boston cream pie.

I like this place.

Other ways the Copley Plaza does customer service well:

Lobby dog!
Catie the black lab hangs out in the hotel's lobby, and is available for walks and snorgling. Sadly, she wasn't around on Saturday (I guess she needs a day off from being fussed over). Still, the concept suggests a friendly, unpretentious, comfortable atmosphere.

Fairmont Fit
Available throughout the Plaza's corporate chain, this program delivers workout gear to your room, to save you traveling with sneakers and yoga mats. Of course, I have no personal interest in, you know, exercise, but it's a nice example of identifying a user need and filling it.

Gold Floor
The hotel's fourth floor, whence we retired after lunch. It feels like a private club; guests staying on that floor have access to large sitting rooms with leather wing chairs and books and board games, and a kitchen regularly replenished with wine, champagne, egg nog, cheeses and fruits and sausage rolls and pretzels and olives and roasted artichokes.

We liked it. A lot.

Just when it seemed things couldn't get any better, halfway through an intense game of Scrabble, the waiter/concierge guy came round with oversized chocolate-chip cookies. Yay!

There were only two downsides to the afternoon: the fact that the piped-in music consisted of exactly one song (something by Enya that just kept going and going and going), and the fact that we had to leave, eventually, and go back out into the freezing night.

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