Back Bay, May 2014


fairmont copley plaza  (sonya kovacic)

fairmont copley plaza (sonya kovacic)

The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Copley Square has hosted hundreds of famous personalities since it opened in 1912. Almost every U.S. president since Taft has stayed at the hotel, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton got a room in 1975 for their second honeymoon.

Additionally, artist John Singer Sargent stayed at the hotel while completing the Boston Public Library's murals next door. It was during his stay – it's believed – where Sargent discovered his muse. The man was Thomas McKeller, a Copley Plaza elevator operator and bellhop. McKeller modeled for several of Sargent's male figures, and also posed for his famous Nude Study — now displayed at the MFA.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza has continued to evolve, including a new experiment with urban beekeeping. Following the lead of a few other local institutions, the hotel installed several beehives in their rooftop garden in 2012. They're making good use of the honey, too: it's used in their restaurant's dishes, smoothies, and cocktails.