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by Foxboro Marmot
June 26, 2001
Encore occupies the top floors of an 1860 Victorian brick bowfront townhouse on a leafy side street, around the corner from busier Tremont Street. The B&B underwent extensive renovation and redesign earlier this year under the masterful touch of the owners: Reinhold Mahler, an award-winning architect, and David Miller, an award-winning set designer.
A theatre motif starts at the front door. Above, where a fanlight usually sits, is a stained glass inset featuring the masks of comedy and tragedy. The three guest rooms are decorated with posters and materials from each author's work. David's collection of masks from around the world - Korea, Greece, Italy and elsewhere - hang in the breakfast nook.
Each room is decorated differently in contemporary style - no off-whites or beiges here. Exposed red brick plays against unusual, yet tasteful color combinations: lilac and purple in the Albee, darkish gray with bold color splashes in the Sondheim, and dark green and soft yellow in the Bernstein. Descriptions can't adequately capture the way walls and furnishings work together. See pictures on Encore's web site
The Albee Room gets morning sun, while Sondheim and Bernstein have windows that fill them with afternoon light. Early risers will like the Albee, while guests who sleep-in might appreciate one of the others. Each room has its own bathroom with shower.
The Albee Room is special. Sliders open onto a vest pocket balcony atop the curved bow front. There's only room for a pair of chairs and a few plants, but it's a wonderful spot to relax and look through the trees at the townhouses across the street. In the distance is the mirrored glass Hancock Tower. There's a feeling of being atop a protected castle turret while the world goes about its business below that becomes even more special after dark.
Continental breakfast featuring "strong European coffee" is served buffet style in the breakfast nook each morning. Weak Americans should request a less potent drink in advance. Guests select the night before from a menu listing possibilities - hot drinks, juices, muffins, croissants, yogurt, fruit, granola among others.
Shops on Newbury Street, Copley Place and the South End are within walking distance. Nearby theatres including the Lyric Stage, the Huntington Theatre and the three BCA stages are easy walks as well. Iconic Boston attractions like the John Hancock Tower, Copley Square and Back Bay are convenient, as are the South End's many restaurants and galleries. For further excursions, a subway stop is three blocks away.
Be sure to ask your hosts about theatre. They know what's going on and will gladly guide you to some of Boston''s smaller, more intimate venues.
Visitors looking for a colonial, early American or antique-filled B&B will probably be happier elsewhere.
From journal Boston Bests
November 12, 2003
Located down a quiet, tree-lined street, Encore's unobtrusive doorway hides the key to a magical and relaxing Inn. Reinhold is a gracious and friendly host, and his touch can be seen throughout.
The common areas are decorated with vintage movie and theatre posters and masks. I especially liked the Kabuki masks in the dining area.
The rooms are themed after famous writers. Due to a scheduling conflict, we had the opportunity to stay in both the Sondheim room and the Edward Albee room. This gave us the chance to experience both.
The Sondheim room is contemporary and comfortable, and includes a great desk area if you are a traveling businessperson. The Albee room has a balcony (which we were only able to use a little bit, as the weather was quite cold) and an alcove window seat that was quite cozy. Both rooms had attached bathrooms with showers and stainless-steel sinks (blow dryers included).
Due to laws in Boston, B&B's cannot serve full breakfasts (I don't know the exact details, but I found this to be true of all the B&B's I researched). Reinhold makes up for that with fresh croissants, lovely granola, cheese plates, and other choices.
I definitely recommend Encore as a great place to stay in Boston. It is conveniently located within walking distance of just about everything (or the subway, the T).
From journal Walking & Eating Boston
February 2, 2009