Boutique hotel aims to open this month

June 8, 2012
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A new “boutique” hotel, long in development at 81 S. Huntington Ave., is aiming to open for business on June 25, according to manager Trevor Cross.

The 41-room hotel in a former nursing home was originally announced as a possible Comfort Inn. But now it will be EnVision Hotel Boston, an independent hotel with mid-range prices but an upscale feel. It aims to hold nightly events such as wine and cheese tastings or sushi demonstrations, Cross told the Gazette.

“We’re really going to be stressing service” and a personal touch, Cross said.

The property is being developed by SMC Management Corporation and is being leased to the Needham-based Global Vision Hotels.

“I’m very pleased” with the building’s redevelopment into a hotel, said SMC’s Stephen Chapman in a Gazette interview. “We think it’s looking good.”

The EnVision Hotel will have a cafe serving coffee selected with the advice of Fazenda Coffee Roasters, the company that runs a cafe in Forest Hills, Cross said. The cafe will be open to the general public and eventually offer “grab-and-go” food, he said.

“We’re trying to source local products,” Cross said. The building also aims to use recycled materials and will seek some energy-efficiency certification.

Sandwiched between S. Huntington and the Jamaicaway along an alley called Craftson Way, Envision Hotel will have only about 15 to 20 on-site parking spaces. It will have on-site valet parking, but is still working on arrangement for off-site valet parking, Cross said. It also plans to offer shuttle bus service to the Longwood Medical Area institutions, and possibly to Jamaica Plain restaurants and Fenway Park, he said. Guests will be encouraged to use public transit, though Cross was not aware that the MBTA plans to halt Green Line streetcar service along S. Huntington on the weekends starting July 1.

“Boutique” means the hotel will be “modern, but also stylish” and “more on the trendy side of things,” Cross said.

The EnVision Hotel website at envision-hotel-boston.com says that the hotel will “bridge the gap between the hip, trendy Jamaica Plain neighborhood and the convenient Longwood Medical Center [sic], all within reach of Fenway Park, Brookline and local colleges.” It suggests “high tea” and live music as possible future offerings.

The idea of holding nightly events is a way to show appreciation to guests, Cross said.

“A lot of these places offer a cookie or something like that, and we’re trying to go a step beyond that,” he said.

Global Vision has developed other hotels under such brand names as Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn. This is the company’s first independent hotel, Cross said. It will be affiliated with a boutique hotel brand called Ascend, but will operate independently.

The hotel is aiming for a soft opening on June 25, or at least sometime before July 4, Cross said. A grand opening “pep rally” would follow, likely in July or August, with Police and Fire Department bagpipers possibly performing, Cross said.

The hotel building was formerly the Pond View Nursing Home, which closed in 2008. The hotel has been in development under various names and concepts for two years.

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