Boston hotels waive bottled water charges while city remains in a water emergency

Two million people in the Boston area remain without water today following a catastrophic pipe rupture this weekend. While state officials work to repair the pipes and restore normal water usage through Boston and its surrounding 29 counties, Boston hotels are handing out freebies on what is usually a hot hotel room commodity: bottled water.

What would normally cost visitors upwards of $3 from the hotel mini bar or presentation tray is now free to guests staying at hotels.

State officials have issued a mandatory “boil water order” to affected counties that include: boiling water for at least one minute before use; no hand-washing or dish-washing in tap water; and most importantly, no drinking water from a tap or faucet, even if it’s filtered. I checked in with a few hotels in the city to learn what they’re doing to help guests cope with the water outage.

The Colonnade Hotel
informed me that all bottled water and all mini-bar water is complimentary for hotel guests. The Mandarin Oriental Boston is handing out free bottled water to all guests and the hotel colleagues, and all the dish-washing units in the hotel rooms have sanitizing cycles with sanitizing tablets. The Four Seasons Boston is putting extra bottled water in all the rooms at turndown and using bottled water to brew all coffee.

At the Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common, general manager Erwin Schinnerl told me the hotel is taking every precaution to ensure guest and staff safety.

“The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common has operated uninterrupted for the past couple of days,” said Schinnerl. “All guest rooms are provided with ample bottled water, fresh ice is being provided, cooking, coffee/tea brewing and dishwashing processes have been modified to include previously boiled water and sanitation procedures for dishwashing, to assure no health and safety procedures are compromised.”

Thankfully, the water crisis is close to over. State officials were able to take a water sample early this morning from the busted pipe and results are expected back this afternoon, according to Ria Convery, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. The MWA hopes that full water restoration will be back to normal within 24 to 48 hours, but until the all-clear comes from authorities, everyone in Boston is required to use and drink only bottled or boiled water.

Were you traveling through Boston during the water crisis? How did your hotel help you? Let us know.