Raffles makes its North American debut in Boston

International hospitality brand Raffles Hotels & Resorts makes its North American debut.

Known for its iconic Raffles hotel in Singapore, first opened in 1887 and still serving as a waypoint for cosmopolitan jet-setters today, the brand has since opened a string of other luxury properties across the country. Asia and Europe.

Now, Raffles will bypass the major metropolises and luxury hotel scenes of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami to instead open its first North American location in Boston, the land of pilgrims and birthplace of Dunkin’ Donuts.

The new mixed-use building, developed by hoteliers Gary Saunders of Saunders Hotel Group and developer Jordan Warshaw of Noannet Group, occupies a prime location at 430 Stuart Street, within walking distance of Copley Square, the Public Gardens, the South End and from Back Gare de la Baie. Stonehill Taylor designed the hotel rooms, Rockwell Group designed the residences and several building amenities such as the spa and fitness center, Paolo Ferrari designed a bar area, and the architectural team (yes, that’s the name of the company) led the building, well, overall architecture.

The newly developed mixed-use building will include hotel rooms as well as condos.
Binian Studios
Stonehill Taylor designed the hotel rooms, Rockwell Group designed the residences
Stonehill Taylor designed the hotel rooms, Rockwell Group designed the residences.
Binyam Studios
The hotel is expected to open next May.
The hotel is expected to open next May.
Stonehill Taylor

“[We] bidding on the site in 2011 with the idea of ​​putting some stories on the site and doing a mid-priced hotel,” Warshaw said. But after four years of zoning and permitting, the courtship of various hotel brands had begun.

“All the high-end brands are interested…but we really fell in love with Raffles as the perfect partner for the site,” he said.

“Some luxury brands looked at our plans and said things like, ‘You need to change that, or we need to have a chandelier ten feet inside the door,’” Warshaw said. “But Raffles told us that their brand standards must have an incredible level of service, architecture, design and atmosphere, and that each hotel reflects its neighborhood.”

“It was going out on a branch one way, because the [larger international] brands are better known in the US and may have more European locations than people know,” Warshaw said. “Raffles is very well known to international travelers but not as well known to less international travellers.”

Raffles Boston is the most expensive real estate development per square foot in the city's history.
Raffles Boston is the most expensive real estate development per square foot in the city’s history.
Rockwell Group
The 35-story glass skyscraper will have 145 hotel keys and 112 residential units.
The 35-story glass skyscraper will have 145 hotel keys and 112 residential units.
Binyam Studios
Seventy-five percent of the units have already been sold.
Seventy-five percent of the units have already been sold.
Rockwell Group

After a year of construction delays related to Covid and the supply chain, the Raffles Boston is set to open in May 2023. And with seven months to go, a 35-story glass skyscraper, which contains 145 hotel keys as well as 112 residential units, is already breaking records.

With an average selling price of $3.8 million, the Raffles Boston is the most expensive real estate per square foot in Boston history and, according to Sue Hawkes, managing director of exclusive residences marketing agent The Collaborative Companies, inventory is already 75% sold out.

“There have been one-off high sales in the city that are exemplary, but to have a building this close to selling at this volume and price is quite extraordinary,” Hawkes said.

And despite Raffles’ international connotation, Hawkes shared that no buyer is international. Almost all of them, in fact, hail from the greater Boston area.

“Historically, Boston has never been a mass international shopping location like Miami, New York or San Francisco,” Hawkes said. “It’s very provincial. These [buyers] are all local.

Amenities include 24-hour concierge, 24-hour valet parking, butler services, sommelier wine selection services, nutritionist and wellness consultations, housekeeping, privileged access at the hotel spa, and much more.
Amenities include 24-hour concierge, 24-hour valet parking, butler services, sommelier wine selection services, nutritionist and wellness consultations, housekeeping, privileged access at the hotel spa, and much more.
Rockwell Group
The hotel will also become one of the best wedding venues in the city.
The hotel will also become one of the best wedding venues in the city.
Rockwell Group

Hawkes believes the building’s success with sales “wasn’t just about the finishes and the kitchen”, but had more to do with the “intangible but significant” amenities: dedicated 24-hour concierge, doorman and 24-hour security. – hourly valet parking, butler services, wine selection services by a sommelier, nutritionist and wellness consultations, housekeeping, privileged access to the hotel spa, etc. Residents will also benefit from a Pied-à-Tier reciprocal use program, through which nights in an owner’s unit can be exchanged for nights in select Raffles, Fairmont and other Accor hotels and residences in the world.

The arrival of Raffles Boston also marks a new chapter in the city’s special events and wedding landscape. Located on the 19th floor and accessible from the Sky Lobby, the hotel’s event spaces will offer panoramic views of the Boston area, from the financial district to Cambridge. In addition to a 3,000 square foot ballroom, five additional meeting rooms, including a boardroom and smaller breakout rooms, will provide residents and hotel guests with a range of options internal for entertainment and business events. There will be a total of six food and drink venues throughout the building, including a ground floor patisserie, a rooftop terrace and three separate restaurants.

In all the premises, the promoters have however taken care to favor smaller and bookable common areas.

“If you think of a Back Bay townhouse, you don’t walk into these cavernous rooms,” Warshaw said. “Each floor can have four smaller rooms, a few different living areas, dining areas. We have divided this building into a lot of intimate spaces as opposed to large common spaces. We have captured the spirit of a Back Bay brownstone in a 400 foot glass tower.

That spirit is what Warshaw and his partners hope to make Raffles Boston an instant classic.

“Bostonians don’t like buildings that could be easily dumped in Chicago, LA or Dubai,” Warshaw said. “So we really sympathized with Raffles because they encouraged us to do something very Bostonian.”

While Boston has a reputation for being a bit salty and perhaps a bit mired in its own history (there’s something about the illegality of Happy Hours that still seems vaguely puritanical), the city is also part of a select group of international destinations that have two Four Seasons, two Ritz-Carltons and, soon, a Raffles, an honor not even New York can claim.

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