Concierge.com's insider take:
India-based Taj Hotel Group has been snatching up iconic American hotels for a few years nowNew York's Pierre, Campton Place in San Franciscobut its 2007 acquisition of the 1927 Boston Ritz-Carlton, the very first property in the chain, raised eyebrows. The hotel was as famous for its prime location at the edge of the Public Garden and Newbury Street and its illustrious history (past guests have included Tennessee Williams and Winston Churchill) as for its steadfast traditionalism. (The newer Ritz-Carlton Boston Common, across the park, is much more contemporary.) Despite a 2002 restoration, the 273-room grande dame is still traditional, though not in the best way: Furnishings are grandmotherly, televisions are still cathode-ray, and the interiors overall could use a facelift. Taj is quietly modernizingadding flat-screen TVs, overhauling the roof deck, and refurbishing the fitness centerbut is retaining the property's sense of classic charm. The public spaces are gilded, service is genteel, and the dimly lit, leather-studded bar overlooking the park is still a favorite with Boston Brahmins.