This past weekend I was able to explore my home city of Boston without the hassle of the T. (slang for the city’s subway system) What’s the catch you might ask? I had to surrender all of my devices upon checking in the The Element in the city’s seaport district. This was a slightly painful experience, these days my iPhone feels more like a vital organ than just a device. Forty-eight hours later, I have learned how relieving it can be to take a step back, leave work at the office for a few days, and live in the present.
A Home Away From Home
The Element offers many of the modern amenities offered in an extended day experience. These included a state-of-the-art gym, a beautiful outdoor patio with a barbecue, and self-service laundry. The hotel also offers complimentary wifi, an amenity I gladly did not take advantage of!
This Starwood family hotel also takes the environmental concerns seriously. The indoor pool uses a salt water sanitation system. In addition to the environmental benefits, you can take a dip without the experiencing the itchy dry skin feeling. Each room includes a water filtration system, so remember to pack your water bottle. The complimentary breakfast is served on reusable glassware, and you can earn 250 Starpoints for each night that you forgo housekeeping.
I found the one-bedroom suite to be the perfect spot to kick back, relax, and decompress from the stresses of a packed schedule and digitally connected life. All the spare time not being glued to a device went to good use. There was plenty of time to try out a new recipe using the well-equipped kitchenette. I had access to a full size fridge, microwave, cook-top stove and a dishwasher. The best part is there was no need to use the dishwasher because I didn’t need to clean up the mess!
Biking My Way Through Beantown
After catching up with a few friends over mimosas at brunch I decided to hop on a bicycle to tour the city from a new perspective. If you are interested in trading in the subway for an eco-friendlier ride, inquire about the complimentary bicycle rental service.
Anyone who has ever visited Boston knows how unpredictable the weather can be, especially approaching the winter months. It would have been shameful to not take advantage of a beautiful fall day in this historic New England city.
One of the best parts about Boston is the city center is only a few steps (or bike pedals) away from surrounding neighborhoods. A quick 10-minute cycle landed me right in the heart of the city, Boston Common. The Public Gardens were spotted with yellow, orange, and red as the leaves begin to fall off the trees. I especially enjoyed watching children pose for pictures by the duckling statues, a family favorite for tourists. If you are a history buff, you can catch the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail from here.
Dining at XYZ Lounge
All that cycling and walking built up quite the appetite. The XYZ lounge, located in the hip Aloft hotel, is a great spot grab a quick drink and appetizer before heading out for a night on the town. The beef empanadas and summer salad hit the spot for me. Aloft is conveniently located right next to The Element. You can even bill your drinks directly onto your room tab; simple and easy!
All the activity and fresh air wore me out! After dinner I opted to curl up with a book and a glass of wine in bed. In this digital age, I cannot remember the last time I have cracked up a hardcover book. Its certainty been a few years, but its the perfect way to round out a disconnected stay at the Element.
When I initially took on the challenge, I was dreading giving up my phone for the weekend. How does one stay connected with friends, check social media, or even catch a ride without having their phone handy? More importantly, what if that critical email arrives in my inbox on Saturday morning? What I learned is that taking time to live in the moment is the best way to tackle all the digital world wants to throw at me on Monday.