Industrial chic and intriguing art drive the décor, and fuel the vibe of the new Row Hotel at Assembly Row. The Marriott Autograph Collection member opened in August 2018, in the Somerville, Massachusetts, neighborhood named for the Ford Motor Company assembly plant that operated here from 1926-1958.
The 158-room boutique hotel, part of the upscale Assembly Row retail, residence, entertainment, and restaurant complex edging the Mystic River, is minutes from downtown Boston via the T, the city’s mass-transit system: The orange line’s accessible Assembly T station is barely a two-block walk over flat terrain.
Step inside, and the Row Hotel at Assembly Row sparkles and shines with natural and reflected light. The floor-to-ceiling windows let in natural light that interacts with artist Feliciano Bejar’s Majiscopes. These playful, mixed-media sculptures comprise glass prisms and lenses on bases of artfully arranged, reclaimed auto parts.
The reflections dance off the sculptures and the mirrored bar and reception desks and around the open and airy lobby lounge, aptly named Reflections. Low couches and chairs, grouped in carpet-defined living room arrangements, give way to tables and chairs and the bar. Here and there, nooks offer more intimate seating. Behind the bar, Reflections continues as a restaurant serving all meals.
A stairway spiraling upwards from the lounge echoes the design motif with a solid, galvanized metal half-wall with railing on one side with a glass refrain on the other. Upstairs, another lounge area opens onto an outdoor terrace. If you’re getting the idea that there are plentiful areas to relax, you’re right. And there are more.
Guest amenities at the Row Hotel at Assembly Row
Hotel guests also have access to a few other second-floor amenities. Walk down one art-accented hallway, and find the wellness area with fitness room and indoor pool. Even if not using these facilities, peek in to see the art displayed in both.
The especially spacious fitness room is outfitted with Matrix bikes and cardio equipment as well as free weights. Pedal while watching On-Demand Fitness TV in a wood-floored studio that’s also ideal for yoga or stretching. Help yourself to towels, bottled water, and fresh fruit.
Off the fitness room is the pool, with inviting cabanas lining one wall. Floor-to-ceiling windows in both the pool and fitness room allow in plentiful natural light, and each space opens to an outdoor terrace with comfy seating, running the full length of the wellness space. If the weather had been more cooperative, I would have curled up here with a book and a cup of tea. Making that easy to do was the nearby guest pantry, tucked behind the elevators, with self-serve coffee, tea, bottled water, soft drinks, apples and sweets.
I loved the hotel’s corridors leading to guestrooms. Instead of the usual bland sameness, these were broken up with alternating carpeted and uncarpeted sections, dark wood against white walls, and art elements such as 3D metal wall and free-standing glass sculptures. This pulled me down the hallway, making the journey to the room more of an adventure.
Guestroom perks and amenities
Guestrooms continue the industrial chic theme with clean, contemporary lines. Rooms are spacious, with seating areas, free Wi-Fi, and all the amenities expected at this level. These include a robe, Illy espresso machine, Dammann Freres French tea, safe, and Bigelow toiletries.
I checked into a handsome, corner king suite, with a separate sitting area and bedroom, each with a large, smart TV with streaming channels (hello Netflix). In the sitting room, a corner-couch with chaise and a work desk made it easy to relax or work. Contemporary abstract artwork, including a 3D metal sculpture, echoed the décor in the hotel’s public areas.
The sitting room exited into a hallway, with closet and refrigerator stocked with two bottles of complimentary water. A sliding door opened to the bathroom, with water closet, dual-sink vanity, and an oversized shower with rain and handheld showerheads, along with a barn board wall, which added texture.
In the bedroom, big windows, with both privacy and blackout curtains, provided two different views over Assembly Row’s shops, restaurants, and residences. A mini chaise and king bed dressed in white linens faced the TV, which topped a dresser. The four bedside outlets and two USB ports, along with two adjustable reading lamps and master light switches, made it easy to charge, power, and control my domain, not to mention read in bed.
The only things missing: luggage racks. This seems to be an emerging trend, and one I despise. Few guests want to keep an open suitcase on the floor, and I’m sure hotel management doesn’t want guests to put suitcases atop white bedding. I called down a request, and two were delivered to the room.
Reflections on dining
One evening, I dined in Reflections. The menu offers tapas-style starters, salads, entrées, and desserts. My Asian noodle salad with citrus- and herb-marinated chicken surprised me with its presentation. I thought it would all be mixed together, but it arrived beautifully plated but semi-deconstructed: noodles, chicken, and a salad made with baby greens, cucumber, cashews, and avocado with sesame vinaigrette. It not only hit the spot, but also filled me up so I didn’t need to order anything else. My server was friendly, informed, and helpful. Even if he weren’t, I would have asked questions just to hear his wonderful brogue.
I didn’t eat breakfast at the hotel due to the irresistible eye-candy croissants at Paul, a bakery/patisserie in Assembly Row. It’s part of a small, international chain owned by a family that began baking bread and patisserie in France in 1889.
Another plus of staying at The Row Hotel at Assembly Row is, of course, Assembly Row. Beyond shopping at its myriad upscale factory outlets, it offers choice entertainment options
The biggest lure for those with grandkids is the Legoland Discovery Center, an interactive experience as well as a shop. Afterward, walk over to J.P. Licks for ice cream and/or hot chocolate (I can vouch for the latter).
Lucky Strike Social is a bowling center for the 21st century. Sure it has eight lanes, but it also offers more than 130 high-tech games, multiple high-def screens, billiards, floor shuffleboards, and food and drink. It’s family friendly until 8pm, after that its restricted to ages 21 and older.
An AMC theater offers Dolby Cinema, IMAX, and RealD3D as well as reserved seating, including in recliners.
The pleasures aren’t limited to indoors. Pedestrian and bike paths weave through the riverfront parks and greenways.
And of course, all of Somerville, neighboring Cambridge, and Boston beckon. Which means the Row is a good option if you have grandkids attending college in Greater Boston.
Despite this neighborhood’s automotive heritage, one doesn’t need a car to enjoy almost everything Greater Boston offers. That’s the real perk of staying at The Row Hotel at Assembly Row.
What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?
- A boutique hotel, with an industrial chic artsy décor, in one of Boston’s hottest areas
- Sited in a complex that includes a theater offering IMAX, Dolby, and Real D3D; a Legoland Discovery Center; bowling and games; upscale outlet shopping; restaurants and more
- Steps from a Boston mass transit subway stop, allowing easy access to key area sights
- Indoor pool and fitness area and outdoor terraces
- Rooms, suites, and connecting rooms offer options for families
- Hotel attracts business travelers midweek, keeping its lounge and restaurant buzzing.
- Request luggage racks in advance for placement in room
- Valet parking is $35 per night.
- While the Assembly T stop is accessible, not all are. Find accessibility info including access guides for all modes of MBTA transit here.
IF YOU GO
The Row at Assembly Row, Somerville, Massacusetts
The author was the guest of the Row Hotel at Assembly Row during her stay in Boston, but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.
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