Westin Boston Waterfront
The Westin Boston Waterfront is the only hotel so far attached to the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The hotel has been host to Boskone since 2007 (shortly after its opening) and Arisia since 2011.
78,000 +/- square feet of function space are located on five levels: first and third floor levels on either side of a street, and a second floor level bridging the street. Access between Lobby and any other level is primarily by escalator. A pair of high speed elevators serves the Galleria, Lobby, and Conference levels. The Mezzanine and Lobby levels are served by the guest room elevators, which form the fastest accessible path between those levels. A single low speed elevator serves the Concourse and Lobby levels, and also travels to the Mezzanine level. Travel between any two levels requires transiting the second-floor Lobby level. The hotel is large enough that, except for some room pairs on Lobby and Mezzanine, no breakout room can be reached from any breakout room on a different level via an accessible path within five minutes, and some breakout room pairs are more than ten minutes apart by accessible routes.
Galleria has had large chunks taken out of the near left corner and center left for taprooms for the bars on the lobby level, plus access around the left edge from one to the other. This is generally not shown on maps of the hotel. A new Meeting Matrix drawing exists but is not vetted, so it can't (yet) be used by customers.
Ceiling heights listed on the Westin's web site are generally to the highest point in the ceiling. Actual clear ceiling heights are 120" on the Conference level, 121" on the Mezzanine level, and 149" on the Lobby level. The listed maximum height is typically for a center section; in Otis, for instance, a screen 167" high can be erected 51" away from the southwest wall.
Airwalls in Harbor are in 4' sections. The second section from the front of each of the two airwalls has a 36" door centered in it. These doors cannot be locked, and open to the southwest (that is, from I into II, and II into III.
Doors to the airwall pockets in Harbor only close when the airwall is open, so there is an unsightly gap of 10" on one side and 20" on the other, large enough for a person to pass through the pocket.
Lobby level rooms on the perimeter of the hotel have windows.
Access to rooms is by cardkey, except Galleria which uses a hard key. Doors can be set to stand open or closed but not to toggle. Most but not all doors can be dogged using a 4mm allen wrench. One set of the double crash doors leading to Galleria is installed with the crashbars on the outside of the room, but can and may be secured with a bicycle lock. One ingress to Galleria, from the freight elevator lobby, cannot be secured except by physically blocking it. If the hotel disabled that elevator, access would not be an issue.
The hotel has quite an ample inventory of tables and chairs, particularly of 18"x72" schoolroom tables. Apparently 100 additional 30"x72" tables have been purchased since this inventory was taken. A few tables are in semi-permanent use; this particularly affects quarter-pies. The housemen will sub 30"x72" tables for doubled 18"x72"s without permission if there is inventory available when they're being set, without regard to whether future sets need them, so be sure to ask them to perform the sets you care about first.
Conference cloths for 18" tables are light green; for 30" tables are "coconut" which refers to the outside of a coconut; and for round tables are "chocolate". Often 30" tables will be set with cloths for 18" tables, resulting in no drape on one side.
As of September 2013, the hotel has only 12 water coolers; water stations above this number must be with pitchers (which run out quickly).
The hotel has gotten rid of some of their coat racks since 2009. 12 coat racks remain available for events: 5 Z-racks (with hangers), and 7 T-racks (with hooks).
Foodservice in function space
Service charges for food service in function space can vary depending on whether it is delivered by catering or room service, which in turn can depend on who is available at the time to deliver it.
The hotel is reluctant to commit to timing for setting up dancefloor, though they have said that setting up a "standard" (perhaps this means 21x21) dancefloor takes an hour, and that extending a dance floor from 21x42 to 42x42, opening an airwall in Grand, and taking up a few hundred chairs can all be done concurrently in an hour and a half.
The hotel's heating and cooling systems are very responsive; no pre-chilling is necessary. All function space and public areas of the hotel are a single "zone" in terms of their target temperature, though there are many zones in the sense of sensor feedback loop areas.
Rooms on the Lobby level generally have one NEMA 5-30 30A single phase straight blade ("dryer") outlet plus an assortment of ordinary house power on two 20A circuits including one quad box near that dryer outlet that has power from both 20A circuits.
Electrical rates are as follows:
|20A 120V||$ 105.00|
|30A 120V 3phase||$ 325.00|
|60A 208V 3phase||$ 525.00|
|100A 208V 3phase||$ 850.00|
|200A 208V 3phase||$1050.00|
The hotel possesses 75' and 100' camlock extenders and about a dozen wheeled 50A distro units which break out the stove plugs found everywhere into 20A edison outlets via twistlock intermediate connections. The distro units are similar but not quite identical; some (barely) fit under a table, while others (barely) do not.
3-phase power is available in the Harbor prefunction.
Power in Harbor is through pass-throughs to the service area; the pass-throughs for Harbor II and III are located such that cabling can run around the airwall between the two rooms without crossing any doorways in the service area.
House lighting is by Lutron. Each room and possible airwall configuration has four scenes available. System binding between sections in Harbor is by buttons in the airwall pockets. House lights cannot be remoted, nor can the wall controllers be disabled (though there are locking covers in Grand). There is no per-channel manual control. Chandeliers in Harbor do not dim as of March 2010, though the hotel is said to be working on it.
House sound tie-in panels have jacks marked "Assistive Listening Feed". The hotel has an unknown number of assistive listening devices and there is no charge for their use.
There are drops from the hotel's cable TV system in Grand A, Grand D, Grand E, Revere, Quincy, and Executive Boardroom.
There is automated signage (pictures) available for use by events.
Guest rooms are located on floors 4 through 16 (the back of house numbering scheme counts "Lobby" as "2").
Headboards and bedside tables in all the rooms are permanently attached to the wall. Beds themselves are moveable. There are no overhead lights in the main area of any of the rooms; all light is from desk and bedside lamps.
Bathing chairs in Access rooms have a weight limit of 250 lbs.
The hotel has three large suites. Presidential and Ambassador (Floorplan pictures) are located at the end of the long hallway on 16 and 15 respectively and are very similar. They each contain a 42"x120" table, two 18"x96" side tables, a 24"x96" TV armoire, two 84"x38" sofas, a 48" square coffee table, two lounge chairs, two side chairs, and eight dining chairs in their main rooms, plus the usual furniture in their bedrooms. Commodore (Floorplan) is located near the elevators on 16 and contains a 43"x60" table, four dining chairs, four lounge chairs, an 84"x38" sofa, a 25"x72" TV cabinet, and a side table in the main room, plus a king bed, another TV cabinet, a 72"x25" desk, and a desk chair in the bedroom (this is less than the usual complement of bedroom furniture).
The hotel has 23 mini-fridges and ample cots. By law, cots may not be placed in Double/Double rooms.
Stairs and Elevators
Three stairwells connect the guest floors. These come out as follows:
- Stair #1 (near the elevators)
- 3rd floor: comes out in the public hallway leading to the pool
- 2nd floor: alarmed exit
- 1st floor: comes out in a service area (probably the one behind the grand ballroom)
- Stair #2 (by the executive suites)
- 3rd floor: alarmed door
- 2nd floor: back of house (probably in the kitchen area for the Sauciety hotel restaurant)
- 1st floor: alarmed exit
- Stair #3 (by the harborview suites)
- 3rd floor: locked door which *might* lead to the harborview ballroom foyer or might be an electrical room
- 2nd floor: in back of O'Connors restaurant (i.e. you would have to walk thru the restaurant to get to / from this stair)
- 1st floor: I believe this was the service corridor leading the harbor loading dock and also the galleria foyer.
Restaurants and Concessions
The hotel operates an expensive restaurant (Sauciety), a lobby bar (Birch Bar), and a Starbucks over whose menu and hours they have control. There is also a pub (MJ O'Connors) and bar (City Bar) operated by third parties; these can bill to hotel rooms but do not accept hotel-issued scrip.
Of late Sauciety has been open only for brunch (M-F 6:30-11, 11:30-2:30; Sa 7-11:30, 12-2:30; Su 7-noon, 12:30-2:30) and the hotel has sometimes made the (open to the lobby) space available to conventions in the evenings. This consists of a 45x80=3600sf seating area and a 36x18=~650sf bar area.
Incoming package handling is handled by Penfields, who handle the hotel's non-food shipping and receiving for free in exchange for being able to charge guests for receipt of packages. Their fees are as follows:
|Package||0-5 lbs.||$8.95 per package|
|Package||6-20 lbs||$16.95 per package|
|Package||21-40 lbs||$29.95 per package|
|Package||41-49 lbs||$39.95 per package|
|Package||50lbs +||$59.95 per package|
|Display Case||0-50 lbs||$39.95 each|
Penfields also rents out scooters for $50/day; they keep one or two on site and can get many more. They don't rent the "Maximus" scooter that's popular in fandom, but this can be rented from Scootaround.
The Westin is (as of 2013) a Pepsi hotel, but the MJ O'Connor's restaurant is Coke.
The hotel has a small, expensive garage. There is metered on-street parking in the area which is free in the evenings (starting variously at 6 or 8) and on Sunday. There are various non-hotel surface lots in the area, with prices starting as low as $5/day.
The hotel sometimes runs a fundraiser in which their employees earn permission to wear blue jeans to work by contributing $10 to a designated charity. Conventions can suggest charities, particularly if they also contribute to the charities in question.