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The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel
Front of the hotel, St. James Avenue on the south side of Copley Square
Front of the hotel, St. James Avenue on the south side of Copley Square
Hotel facts and statistics
Location 138 Saint James Ave., Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Opening date 1912
Architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh
Management Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
Owner Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
No. of rooms 383

The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel is a three-star hotel[1] in downtown Boston, Massachusetts owned by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. It stands on Copley Square, by the John Hancock Tower.[2]


Construction and opening

The hotel in 1920

The Copley Plaza was built on the original site of the Museum of Fine Arts[3] and named in honor of John Singleton Copley, an American painter. The total cost was $5.5 million.

The hotel's architect was Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who also designed other hotels, including the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. and the Plaza Hotel in New York City, the Copley Plaza's sister hotel.[3][4] The seven floor hotel is constructed of limestone and buff brick in the Beaux-Arts style. The E-shaped building is supported by pilings driven to a depth of 70 feet (21 m) below the street level.

It opened in 1912, and the Mayor of Boston, John F. Fitzgerald, presided over a reception of over 1,000 guests. Rooms had been booked as early as 16 months in advance.


Fairmont Hotels and Resorts bought the Copley Plaza Hotel, as it was then called, from Wyndham Hotels Management in September 1996.[5] The hotel was owned by Sheraton throughout the 1950s, 60's and 70's and operated as the Sheraton-Plaza Hotel.


The entrance hallway has been called Peacock Alley since the 1920s. The 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) lobby has a 21-foot (6.4 m) high gilded coffered ceiling with matching Empire style crystal chandeliers and Italian marble columns. Much of the classical architecture and decor have been preserved, including the back-to-back "P" monogram.

The hotel is known for these industry firsts: the first hotel completely air-conditioned in Boston, the first hotel with an international reservations system, and the first to accept credit cards.


In 1979, a fire broke out at the Copley Plaza Hotel, in which media mogul Sumner Redstone survived by hanging from a third-story window. His hand was partially paralyzed from the fire. Film director Rob Cohen was also caught in and rescued from the same fire.

Frederick Kerry (born Fritz Kohn), the paternal grandfather of John Kerry, committed suicide with a gunshot to the head in the restroom of this hotel in 1921.


The Dartmouth Street entrance to the Fairmont Copley Plaza

The Copley Plaza Hotel has been host to many famous people. Every U.S. President since William Howard Taft, and royalty from Greece, Thailand, Abyssinia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Belgium, Denmark, and the United Kingdom have visited the hotel. Celebrities including Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Dorothy Lewis, Frank Sinatra, and Luciano Pavarotti have also been guests, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton chose the Copley Plaza for their second honeymoon.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Teresa M. Hanafin (1988-10-30). "QUALITY INN OWNER IN SERIOUS TALKS TO BUY 'GRANDE DAME' COPLEY PLAZA". Boston Globe.  
  3. ^ a b Mary Melvin Petronella and Edward W. Gordon (2004). Victorian Boston today: twelve walking tours. UPNE. pp. 70. ISBN 1555536050.  
  4. ^ Marie Morris (2005). Frommer's Boston 2006. Frommer's Series. 112. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 79. ISBN 0764588907.  

External links

Coordinates: 42°20′57″N 71°04′35″W / 42.349295°N 71.076286°W / 42.349295; -71.076286



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