BOSTON-Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? If you were one of the people who could afford the estimated average of $495 a night to stay at the Taj, you likely did the night it closed for rebranding on October 31. Then again, if you can afford $495 a night, you would probably feel perfectly at home in what essentially amounts to a luxury prison named after a landmark synonymous with colonialization.
Whatever can be said about economic barriers in Boston, and there’s quite a bit that can be said, especially from those of us for whom an overnight stay at a Motel 6 means the difference between two weeks worth of instant noodles and learning not to bite the hand that barely feeds you, the Taj had history for better or worse. Or at least the building did.
Prior to its most recent iteration, it was the site of the nation’s first Ritz Carlton. You didn’t actually assume classism was a recent phenomenon, did you?
But if you came to bury the Taj and not praise it, you’re going to find yourself short-lived. And if you’re expecting affordable housing, or an affordable sense of accountability and personal integrity in its wake, it’s the Back Bay. Trevor and Marcia would like to remind you to please park your Lexus where the other guests can’t see it.
Rebranding is apparently as vital a component of the ostentatious flaunting of personal wealth as insecurity. After all, you can’t plop down $125 million without expecting a complete do-over.
The Newbury Boston, the imaginatively titled replacement of the Taj, isn’t scheduled to open until the Spring of 2020 despite its purchase in 2016. And while that may make the hearts of Condé Nast readers go aflutter at the prospect, for many of us that simply means another Back Bay rooftop restaurant we can't afford to eat at and more importantly, we don’t want to be able to afford to eat at no matter how picturesque the view of botched nose jobs and matching Kate Spade handbags might be.
Perhaps I'm missing out on something. Then again, maybe not. According to Eater, New York-based hospitality firm Major Food Group has signed on as the official restaurant group for the refurbished hotel, which will boast of an aforementioned 4,000- square foot rooftop restaurant complete with glass enclosures and retractable panels.
Haven’t heard of Major Food Group yet? You’re not the only one. While they may not be particularly shadowy, the likes of the firm coming into contact with us unwashed rabble are virtually none.
They operate the Michelin star-awarded Carbone in New York City, as well as the Polynesian (their fanciful interpretation of a classic Tiki bar, complete with $85 Scorpion Bowls), the Picasso-inspired Japanese eatery the Lobster Club, the $97 an entree Dirty French and Sadelle’s—which is either a reimagination of brunch food or a brazen nightmare better left unbroached. They’re part of the new breed of design focused luxury dining experiences; half restaurateur and half architectural firm. Or essentially what it would look like if Todd English and Mike Brady had an exceptionally ugly love child.
If you’re surprised that the Newbury will be Major Food Group’s first local venture, don’t be. It is, after all, exactly what Boston needs. But if you really can’t wait until 2020, there’s a Falafel King a couple blocks away.
Admit it. You’d prefer it. And it’s frankly what Boston needs more of.
Image Via Wikimedia Commons