Originally constructed as The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in the early 1920s, the Renaissance Revival-style building’s façade was designated as a Boston landmark in 1978, just before being converted into a hotel. Shawmut partnered with architect Dyer Brown and interior design firm Richmond International on the renovation to preserve the history of the building and highlight its architectural elements while incorporating the finest materials and bringing the national landmark to a new standard of modern luxury.
The renovation of the 288,000 square-foot hotel included the 312 guest rooms, eight loft suites, and the Chairman Suite; new Grana restaurant and The Fed cocktail pub; the new, private Langham Club; and the new Lincoln Ballroom. The team installed new finishes, millwork, and furniture in guest room corridors, lobby, and meeting spaces and updated the hotel’s infrastructure with all new heating and cooling units, plumbing, and life safety.
“The completion of The Langham, Boston renovation is a significant milestone not only for Shawmut but for Boston’s luxury hotel market,” said Randy Shelly, executive vice president of hospitality, Shawmut Design and Construction. “Our team expertly managed the delicate balance of honoring the building’s origins through preservation and restoration techniques while enhancing the guest experience with technological integrations and the finest of finishes.”
The Langham, Boston’s exterior received updates including new awnings—trading in the hotel’s signature red for charcoal—and a new entrance canopy with custom-made bronze panels from the Czech Republic.
The updated lobby includes a concierge and lounge area featuring a new fireplace. Brass and glass decorative screens create privacy between the lounge and concierge, and reception and elevators. In the rear lobby, the Shawmut team installed a brand-new grand staircase, clad in ebonized wood panels with antique brass accents and a leather-wrapped handrail.
Set in what was once the grand hall of the Federal Reserve, Grana restaurant features the building’s original terrazzo floors, which the team restored, repaired, and infilled with custom color-matching. Gold leaf was applied to the original decorative plaster box trims and floral reliefs on the ceiling’s perimeter, which were carefully protected during construction. To mimic the building’s original domed glass skylight, the team installed a backlit suspended ceiling. The original brass Federal Reserve seal embedded in the floor when the bank first opened in 1922 was protected during the renovation and remains in the center of the room.
The Fed, the Langham’s new cocktail pub, pays homage to the building’s origin as the Federal Reserve with walnut millwork inspired by safety deposit boxes. A fluted walnut bar face and Italian marble bar top is complemented by a custom brass and glass drink rack with illuminated panels, installed by Shawmut. To access the outdoor patio, the team created a new opening by cutting through two feet of the building, including the granite façade, and installed a new brass door.
The Langham’s former restaurant, Café Fleuri, was transformed into the new Lincoln Ballroom. The team added a new ceiling with a large central skylight under the existing atrium to provide natural light to the new ballroom. Gold leaf was applied at the coffered ceiling trims and silver leaf under the skylight. A fully-integrated A/V system was also installed, and the team performed structural work to support the projectors, which are installed on integrated scissor lifts to allow for remote control and extension from the ceiling.
The Governor’s Room, formerly the Officers Lounge and conference room for the Federal Reserve, was converted to a formal boardroom, marked by the original marble fireplace which was shifted three feet over to be centered in the updated room. The Langham Club, a new private club space on the eighth floor, reconfigured guest rooms to create a reception area, dining area, library with custom millwork bookcases, and buffet featuring grigio biliemi, blue volga, and statuario extra stones.
New features of the hotel’s 312 guestrooms and suites include a sitting area with custom corbel shelves made to complement the crown molding; doorbells tied to a Lutron switch to allow guests to indicate if they don’t want to be disturbed or if they’d like their room cleaned; and Legrand Adorne switch systems with dimmable lights. The bathrooms feature marble hand-selected by the project team from the Santucci Quarry in Carrara, Italy, and amenities including rain shower heads, heated toilet seats, demister mirrors, and speakers connected to the bedroom television.
The residentially-styled Loft Suites feature 16-foot-high ceilings and the original 12 ½-foot high brass-embossed windows. The Shawmut team refurbished the brass mullions to make the original feature feel new. Connecting the two floors, the team installed a glass railing with antique brass details on the loft level that overlooks the first floor of the suite.
The Chairman Suite channels the spirit of New England with a contemporary classic nod to the 1920s. The living room boasts a new electric fireplace with Calacatta Oro stone, coffered ceiling, and silver leaf glass panels within the built-in millwork. The dining room features a Calacatta Oro wet bar with specialty resin cabinet doors that feature inset panels of overlapping solid silver oak fern leaves. The suite’s luxurious finishes include fabric wall panels made of horsehair and wool with leather piping, custom light fixtures, and a standalone soaking tub.