Minibar makes a memorable hotdog in Boston

I was surprised that fellow Gadlinger Melanie Nayer was willing to be seen in a restaurant with me. She generally covers the good life, and when it comes to culinary, I rush for the lowest common denominator. After kicking back martinis at the Fairmont Copley’s Oak Bar – and old haunt from my White Collar Travel days – we circled the Back Bay looking for an upscale alternative to the stuff I’d normally chomp in diners. We landed at minibar in the Copley Square Hotel, an establishment also recommended by @LuxeTiffany, who, as you can guess from her Twitter name, has tastes that tend to run higher than mine.

In this fine establishment, where we were looking to pick up some sliders, Melanie nearly shouted at me upon opening the menu, “They have hotdogs!” No, not for her of course. She’s seen that I look for a dog everywhere I go, however, and knew that a luxe dog from Boston‘s sexiest hotel was a must. So, still buzzing with vodka – not to mention the Pepin Garcia cigars and port I’d enjoyed earlier with Chris Lynn (@colonnade) of the Colonnade Hotel – I prepared to sink my teeth into a Kobe beef dog at minibar.I’ve always been skeptical about Kobe beef. In burgers, for example, the extra fat which delivers the flavor burns off in the cooking process, delivering far less of a Kobe experience than you’d find with a steak. So for hotdogs, I had no idea if the meat from the laziest cows on Earth would make a difference. I still don’t. Maybe it was the Kobe beef … or just the fact that Minibar knows how to find a damned good hotdog. I can’t be sure. But, the Kobe hotdog was nothing short of delightful.

Though my palate was fried with liquor and cigars, I was able to detect an interesting balance among the hotdog roll, the mustard (I missed much of the flavor here, I suspect) and even the roll, which was toasted to perfection, recalling the experience I had with Montreal foodie Katerine Rollet back in September.

For years, I steered clear of the upscale hotdog world. Even with my unrefined (perhaps obliterate) sense of taste, I could still appreciate the sorts of dishes that define an excellent restaurant, and I preferred to get my dogs from the “experts” stands and beside carts on the street. Yet, minibar has confirmed for me what I first began to sense in Antigua last summer: even the stylish can put together a hell of a hotdog.

Hotel Review: Copley Square Hotel Boston

The Copley Square Hotel opened in 1891 in Boston’s famous Back Bay neighborhood. Near trendy Newbury Street and tucked behind the Boston Public Library, the seven-story boutique hotel seems overshadowed by its Westin and Marriott neighbors, but what it lacks in stature it makes up in grandeur.

The hotel closed in January 2008 for a $18-million renovation and reopened later that year as a luxury contemporary boutique with old-school elegance and modern amenities.


I heard about the modern-meets-sexy designs and decor that graced the rooms at the Copley Square Hotel post-renovation, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the seductive atmosphere I walked into. Simply put: these hotel rooms set the mood.

I was expecting a few silk throw pillows and a curvy bedside lamp, but was greeted with a leopard-print sofa, champagne-colored drapes and a king-size bed perfectly positioned to view the entire city (or be viewed from the city). Yes, there were decorative silk pillows and curvy lamps, and also a 32-inch flat-screen TV, WiFi in the room, and an iPod docking station. There’s also plenty of strategically-placed mirrors, which is a good thing if you’re intent on looking your best before you make your way down the grand staircase that leads into the hotel lobby.

The hotel claims it’s catering to business professionals and it is – I had no problem plugging in, getting on, and communicating from the comforts of my king-sized bed. But, in my opinion, it’s also a the perfect little hideaway for some rekindling of the romantic kind. Just remember to put the sign on your door (the hotel’s risqué-read-between-the-lines way of saying ‘do not disturb’.)


A decent size for a hotel bathroom, it was complete with a tub/shower combo and basic amenities (shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotions). The standout part of this area, however, is the hotel’s “green” commitment. Placed in every bathroom is a plastic chip – flip to green and you don’t need any restocking; flip to red and your cleaning crew will supply fresh towels and amenities. It’s a nicer way to signal a change is needed if you’re not into throwing your dirty towels on the floor.


Room service comes directly from Xhale or minibar, the Copley Square Hotel’s restaurant and martini bar. I opted for a mid-evening snack from the room-service menu and was pleasantly surprised with my options. While there’s a full menu complete with salads, burgers and pasta entrees, the in-room dining menu also includes a snacks page, which offers everything from caramel corn to ice cream sandwiches. I opted for a bowl of “fresh popped corn” but I hear the marshmallows with chocolate dipping sauce is worthy of a try.

Admittedly, the 18 percent gratuity on a bowl of popcorn seemed a bit much, but I chalked this one up to the experience.


My first impression of the hotel staff came when I was greeted at the check-in counter by a lovely woman who wanted to know if I preferred a glass of white or red while I wait. Score 10 for knowing I needed a cocktail. Apparently, the hotel hosts a wine hour every evening and all guests – whether you’ve checked in or not – are welcome to wind down. The check-in process took only a few minutes (disclaimer: I was the only person in line), and I was asked if I required a wake-up call or wanted to join the company staff on a run the following morning. No to both, but it was a lovely touch.

The hotel was debuting a new restaurant concept – Sushi and Sake Nights – the evening I checked in. The food was good, but the waitstaff was unclear as to what sushi and sake really is. Once the kinks were figured out, there was plenty of spicy tuna rolls to go around.


On the outside, the Copley Square Hotel looks like a simple, commuter-friendly, business-oriented hotel perfect for the overnighter needing a place to stay before the big board meeting. One step inside and you’ll forget you have a big presentation due the next day. The renovation put this hotel back on the map, but it came with a price: rooms start at $170 in the off-season and spike to a starting price of $500 for stays during the summer months.

Bottom line:
Business travelers might choose a less-expensive hotel, but for those looking for a hidden hotel perfect for a quick escape from the chaos of everyday life, complete with amenities that ooze “the mood”, this is undoubtedly the place to stay.