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by Sarah J.F. Braley | September 01, 2013
Why Here?

Boston is experiencing a huge boom in hotel development, which includes plans for a new headquarters property at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, above. Two smaller hotels also are being built there to house overflow attendees for the facility's events.

To-Do List. See Boston Harbor by hiring a yacht for small groups from Boston Harbor Sailing (bostonharborsailing.com/bhcharters.html). The rental day extends from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Explore the scenic Charles River by kayak via Charles River Canoe & Kayak Boston (paddleboston.com/boston).

Stroll along the Charles River Esplanade, alongside inspiring river views. Find a great map at bit.ly/17AeM16.

Like many cities now, Boston has a bike-rental program, the two-year-old Hubway system (thehubway.com).

Chef chat: Rumor has it Mario Batali is bringing his Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca to Summer Street in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood. Watch this space for more news: mariobatali.com.

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LOCAL UPDATE

The Boston Redevelopment Authority Board has approved a $190 million plan to erect a 330-room Aloft Hotel and a 180-room Element property near the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). CV Properties LLC has been announced as the developer. Construction could start by year's end on the vacant lot on D Street that was purchased last year. The hotels are expected to open in 2015.

The Massachusetts Convention Center Author­ity (MCCA) recently finished a major upgrade to Internet access at the BCEC and the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center. Improvements to the wide-area network at both facilities increase speeds to a 10-gigabit capacity per second. The wireless service at both the BCEC and the Hynes will continue to be offered for free.

A 120-suite Residence Inn by Marriott has opened in Boston's downtown Seaport District. The hotel, in a former sugar and molasses warehouse that dates from the early 1900s, features a meeting room spanning approximately 500 square feet, complimentary Wi-Fi, a 24-hour on-site food-and-beverage market, dry-cleaning services, a fitness room and a business center.

In June, the boards of the MCCA and the Massachusetts Port Authority (MPA) approved a letter of intent to develop a headquarters hotel complex of 1,200 to 1,500 rooms on Massport land across the street from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

A 250-room hotel is on the drawing board for the Seaport District. The land, owned by the MPA, also will include retail, residences, office space and underground parking.

The 270-room Hyatt Harborside near Logan International Airport is now the Hyatt Boston Harbor. The property recently renovated its 21,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms and 22 meeting rooms.

Loews Hotels & Resorts has renamed the 225-room Back Bay Hotel in Boston as the Loews Boston Back Bay Hotel. The property, built in the 1920s, features five meeting rooms that together can host events of up to 100. The hotel's two dining options are Cuffs, an Irish bar, and the Stanhope Grille.

A $6 million lobby renovation has been completed at the 318-room Langham. The upgraded space now features a new champagne lounge called The Reserve. The hotel has a total of 10,000 square feet of meeting space, the Chuan Body + Soul spa, the Bond restaurant and the Cafe Fleuri.

The planned 25-acre Seaport Square development in the Waterfront District will include 6.35 million square feet of residential, office and retail space, and possibly 1,000 guest rooms across four hotels. Several new parks also are in the blueprints. A timeline for the project has not yet been revealed.

A $50 million, 135-room Autograph Collection hotel by Marriott will open on the Fort Point Channel near the Barking Crab restaurant. The property will feature a rooftop terrace overlooking Boston Harbor and a pedestrian plaza linking the hotel to the Boston Harborwalk.

The 400-room Royal Sonesta Cambridge will renovate its lobby and West Tower guest rooms from this November through March 2014. Some executive offices will be transformed into 2,200 extra square feet of meeting space, bringing the hotel's total to approximately 24,200 square feet.

Meeting Hotels
More than 22,000 guest rooms are in Boston and Cambridge, with a total of 36,715 rooms in Greater Boston.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit mcvenues.com.

Convention Centers
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center; exhibit space, 516,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 82; (617) 954-2000; massconvention.com

John B. Hynes Vet­erans Memorial Con­vention Center; exhibit space, approximately 176,480 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 35; (617) 954-2000; massconvention.com

Seaport World Trade Center; exhibit space, 118,800 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 40; (617) 385-5000 or (800) 440-3318; seaportboston.com

Airport Transit
Logan International Airport, three miles from downtown Boston, one mile from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Transfer cost by taxi, $20 to $35; by Silver Line rapid transit bus, $2

Taxes
Room tax, 14.45%; sales tax, 6.25%, total tax on hotel rooms, 14.45%

Group Venue
The Frost Ice Bar, which opened in August, brings a touch of Sweden to Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The bar's walls, bar, furniture and drink glasses all are made of the cold stuff, just like the original joint in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. The venue is kept at 21 degrees F; capes and gloves are provided upon entering. The venue welcomes groups of up to 100. (617) 307-7331 frosticebar.com

Contact
Greater Bos­ton Convention & Visitors Bureau, (617) 867-8256; bostonusa.com