The hotel’s openly gay Timothy Kirkpatrick, a Boston native, who serves as Director of Human Services, began his hospitality career at Boston grande dame The Ritz-Carlton almost thirty-five years ago.
Boston’s buzzing and expanding Seaport district is home to the sleek and arts-centric Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport (omnihotels.com/hotels/bostonseaport), which opened its doors in September 2021. With 1,054 guestrooms divided between two towers (dubbed Artist and Patron) respectively, each one boasts a distinct vibe, design, perks, and price point, with Patron being more expensive and upmarket as the name implies. Both feature floor to ceiling views with clean, contemporary design and splashes of art.
In fact, the art (including some by Boston area creatives) represents a major component within the Omni, from a tech-forward, ever changing electronic mix up of masterworks on monitors behind the check-in desk to installations, with an especially cheeky assortment of contemporary sculptures and paintings in the lobby and Basque cuisine-inspired restaurant Coquette. The Omni’s other in-house F&B venues include a sprawling, multi-space sports bar/restaurant, The Sporting Club, with a 40 foot-long stretch of monitors and, in its aptly named Trophy Room, vintage sports items including a 2002 SLC Olympic torch. The hotel is also home to the Seaport District’s only outdoor pool and adjacent cocktail bar, Lifted. Add a massive 100,000 square feet of function space, full service Breve Spa, and a gym, and why bother leaving?
The hotel’s openly gay Timothy Kirkpatrick, a Boston native who serves as Director of Human Services, began his hospitality career at Boston grande dame The Ritz-Carlton almost thirty-five years ago. He offers up plenty of recommendations, both outside and inside the Omni, a brand he notes is family owned and prioritizes diversity and “a promise to be engrained in the community and drive DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).”
“As a gay man with bi-racial granddaughters, this opportunity provided the perfect intersection for me, personally and professionally, to make a difference in the Boston community,” he says. “At Omni, I get to implement crazy, fun, and out-of-the-box ideas with the support of our leadership, and we’ve been recognized for our creative thinking by our corporate leadership.”
Where are the coolest places in Boston for cocktails these days?
Pink Taco (374 Congress St. Tel: 617-535-8070. pinktaco.com/boston) serves a Cadillac Margarita with a Grand Marnier mini that drips into the drink with each sip. The Sporting Club at Omni Boston Hotel’s bartenders make you feel like you’re at home, and they never fail to remember your drink, name, and your team if a sports fan. The cocktail menu playfully revolves around Boston: the ‘Gahden Party’ is a fresh gin drink with a hint of celery, the ‘Tea Party’ a hardly taxing delight with rum, hibiscus tea, bitters and a fresh flower, and, my favorite, ‘Like a Bos,’ (yes, just one s) with bourbon, amaro nonino, and a miniature paper plane.
What are the best restaurants for a romantic dinner?
James Beard Award winner Chef Barbara Lynch’s No. 9 Park (9 Park St Pl. Tel: 617-742-9991. no9park.com) is a great spot for holding hands, people watching, and planning the future, distant or immediate, with your beloved. Barbara’s prune-stuffed gnocchi is not to be missed, and pasta with her Bolognese sauce is mouthwatering. Be sure to kick off the evening with a Brooding Boar, a gin cocktail with honey and burnt orange. A hot tip for a second date: cozy up in a corner booth! In the Fort Point neighborhood, Lolita (253 Summer St. Tel: 617-369-0931. lolitamexican.com) is a terrific, romantic spot for dinner and cocktails on the patio, and one’s never too old to enjoy cotton candy, especially when served as a digest if after your meal. My third recommendation is Coquette right here at Omni. Meaning “to flirt” in French, Coquette features a magnificent bar with High Renaissance-inspired fresco, and an atmosphere of romance and playful irreverence. The Borek Spring Rolls with chicken, gruyere, and dates will blow you away.
Who serves the greatest weekend brunch?
I may be biased, but Omni’s Lifted Pool Bar is the grand-slam of weekend brunches Lifted features a 270-degree expanse of hydraulic windows that open for a view of the Boston Skyline from our fifth floor, and the breeze, music, and energy it can bring is unparalleled. Another favorite is The Emory (21 Beacon St. Tel: 617-430-6325. theemoryboston.com) in the architecturally stunning Beacon Hill neighborhood. The brunch menu features upscale American dishes infused with a worldly flair, sultry ambiance, and their bartender’s creativity and willingness to craft something especially for you also makes The Emory a goto. Stephanie’s on Newbury (190 Newbury St. Tel: 617-236-0990. stephaniesonnewbury.com) is a classic, offering casual dining in the Back Bay neighborhood on the most fashionable street in the city. And for a true New England classic that continues to remain relevant and fresh, Harvard Square’s Harvest (44 Brattle St., Cambridge. Tel: 617-868-2255. harvestcambridge.com) has seen acclaimed Boston chefs including Lynch, Lydia Shire, and Scott Bryan do stints in its kitchen, while openly gay dessert guru Joshua Livsey, who competed on Food Network’s Best Best Baker In America 2019, currently serves as Executive Pastry Chef.
What are the hottest shows in town?
In August 2022, The Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave. Tel: 617-266-0800. huntingtontheatre.org) is launching a production of the musical Sing Street, which has a lot of Broadway names attached and will actually be headed to NYC once it completes its run. We’re an official Sponsor of Huntington Theatre and will be offering VIP Packages with tickets and an exclusive experience that we’re keeping secret for now.
Which museums are a must see for visitors?
Museums in Boston have rich history, a touch of folklore, and always a vivid story, some involving a crime scene that wraps tightly into its charm. Case in point: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (25 Evans Way. Tel: (617) 566-1401. gardnermuseum.org). Adding to its allure is the infamous 1990 heist of thirteen works, including a Vermeer and several Degas and Rembrandts, that still remains an unsolved mystery. Their gilded empty frames still act as placeholders awaiting the original paintings’ return. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) (465 Huntington Ave. Tel: 617-267-9300. mfa.org) entails a global experience, taking visitors to Egypt, Rome, Greece, Europe, Africa and the Americas with fine art, photography, fashion, etc. Special exhibits are always worth the extra ticket. And The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) (25 Harbor Shore Dr. Tel: (617) 478-3100. www.icaboston.org) at the Seaport features fantastic views and plenty of avant-garde, queer-inclusive exhibitions. They have a robust calendar of events and free admission on Thursdays from 5 P.M. – 9 P.M. Also look out for touring, pop-up exhibitions and “immersive” experiences around Boston and Cambridge like 2022’s The Art of Banksy (banksyexhibit.com/boston) and Immersive Klimt (immersiveklimt.com/boston).
Which guided tours do you recommend most often to guests?
Boston by Foot (Tel: 617-367-2345. bostonbyfoot.org) offers experiential walking tours that meet at the State House, or
you may opt for a private guided tour.
Which annual Boston events should we consider scheduling a trip around?
Sadly, 2021 saw the dissolution of Boston Pride after 50 years, but here’s hoping a new LGBTQ+ event replaces it. Head of The Charles Regatta (hocr.org) is a landmark event, the largest two-day regatta in the world, and a true Boston experience, next scheduled for October 21-23, 2022. As its official hotel, Omni will offer VIP Packages with access to exclusive events. Another recommendation would be Boston Fashion Week (bostonfashionweek.com). And for cinema lovers, Wicked Queer (wickedqueer.org), one of North America’s longest-running LGBTQ film festivals, founded in 1984, and the Boston Film Festival (bostonfilmfestival.org). The latter’s upcoming 38th season launches in September, 2022.
Where can you enjoy the best views of the city?
Honestly, from our vantage point in the Seaport District, guests have fabulous views of the magical city skyline, Boston Harbor, and Massachusetts Bay. Our hotel’s Artist Tower offers the best views of the Bay, and the Patron Tower provides an incredible, truly unbelievable view of downtown Boston. Fenway Park (4 Jersey St. Tel: 877-733-7699. mlb.com/redsox/ballpark) in the right field roof (Budweiser deck) is a fun place to catch a game or a concert while drinking local brews, and if you can’t get in there, the bleacher seats in the Monster offer great views. Peter’s Hill at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum (125 Arborway. Tel: 617-524-1718. arboretum.harvard.edu) offers an unforgettable view of the Boston skyline, and the second weekend in May brings its Lilac Sunday. Shane, one of my oldest friends, used to host a white-dress party and we would sip homemade root beer, play cricket, look at boys, and waft in the incredible scent of lilacs.
Where are the best places to workout if craving some cardio?
The Seaport District is very walkable: in fact, the whole city is pedestrian friendly. Walking around Boston and the Seaport is truly the best perspective from which to see the city, and our state-of-the-art fitness center at the Omni has 200 continuous feet of floor-to-ceiling windows and an abundance of natural light. Hitting the gym in the morning will really get you geared up for the day.
If someone is looking for a full-service spa, where do you send them?
Breve is Omni’s full-service luxury spa, and they have a marvelous variety of treatments. One of my go-to treatments is the Signature HydraFacial, a deep cleanse, toxin extraction, and boost of hydration to bring out that natural glow. Other great spas include Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street (1 Dalton St. Tel: 617-377-4888. fourseasons.com/onedalton/spa). It’s located on the seventh floor with an indoor pool, and unique treatment highlights include a Cryotherapy Massage to reduce muscle soreness and joint swelling, Celestial Diamond Antioxidant Facial with age-stripping 111Skin products, and all-out splurge 5.5 hour Royal Ritual that includes champagne and pedicure. Also, the 16,000 square foot Spa at the Mandarin Oriental (776 Boylston St. Tel: 617- 535-8820. mandarinoriental.com/boston/back-bay/luxury-spa) is a long running luxury favorite.
For retail therapy, especially when it comes to clothing, do you have any suggestions?
I’ve always adored the idea of New York’s Garment District in its heyday, so when I heard about a store in Cambridge called The Garment District (200 Broadway, Cambridge. Tel: 617-876-5230. garmentdistrict.com), it was top of my list. A phenomenally eclectic thrift store in the best way, an exploration through its aisles is a treasure hunt, as if the proprietors combed the best items from every thrift store in the region. Any day of the week you can find designer labels, but I like to search for the hidden, unlabeled gems such as kimonos that would suit the likes of the late Andre Leon Talley.
What are Boston’s best gay/lesbian bars these days?
Some things that are old are new again, and it’s like coming home at the almost 40-year-old Club Café (209 Columbus Ave. Tel: 617-536-0966. clubcafe.com), where I celebrated my first guy crush with a few Grand Marnier’s, neat. The Alley (14 PI Alley. Tel: 617-263-1449. thealleybar.com) is fun for karaoke, bear watching, a cold beer and conversation. Jacque’s Cabaret (79 Broadway St. Tel: 617-426-8902. jacquescabaret.com) was my very first gay bar and drag show, and is a great place to redefine your destiny on a Friday evening. Midway Café (3496 Washington St.. Tel: 617-524-9038. midwaycafe.com) is a newer hotspot in Jamaica Plain and hosts bands, dance nights, and Queeraoke every Thursday. Gay sports bar and pub Cathedral Station (1222 Washington St. Tel: 617-338-6060. cathedralstation.com) is fun, more family-oriented, and offers great bar food, pool, and darts. And Dbar (1236 Dorchester Ave. Tel: 617-265-4490. dbarboston.com) in Dorchester, to Boston’s south, offers Show Tunes on Tuesdays, Karaoke on Fridays, and Magnum Saturdays for great, sweaty, Studio 54 vibe dance parties.
Where can someone go at 3 A.M. for a good meal?
Well, all the bars in Boston close at 2 A.M., and Boston isn’t really a late night town. In Chinatown, Peach Farm (4 Tyler St. Tel: 617-482-3332. peachfarmseafood.com) serves Chinese seafood until midnight sharp, and they’re known locally for their jumbo crab with ginger and scallion dish. If you’re looking for something a little more sweet, Doughboy Donuts (220 Dorchester Ave. Tel: 617-269-7560. www.doughboydonutsanddeli.com) in South Boston is open 24 hours. The Apple-Spice donut is worth the stroll down to Southie if you’re staying at Omni.
Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Boston without…
Stopping by the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and checking out the views of the harbor from their full-windowed north-facing gallery; absorbing the beauty and raw gilt of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; and catching a musical performance at the Leader Bank Pavilion (290 Northern Ave. Tel: 617-728-1600. leaderbank.com/leaderbank-pavilion), an open air concert venue with Boston Harbor as its backdrop!