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As Coronavirus Keeps Boston at Home, the Mandarin Is Offering Room Service

The Back Bay hotel has pivoted to offering food delivery, cleaning services, and massages to Bostonians hunkering down.


mandarin oriental coronavirus

The Spa Suite at the Mandarin Oriental Boston | Photo provided

As a pandemic continues its march through Boston, thousands of us are working from home, self-quarantining, and putting our social lives on indefinite hold. To meet the needs of those hunkered down in their homes in what feels like a lockdown, the five-star Mandarin Oriental is offering a taste of luxury: room service.

For the first time ever, the general manager of the Boylston Street hotel announced on Friday, its staff will be made available outside its walls. On demand to anywhere within a two-mile radius of the hotel, they’ll be delivering meals from the Mandarin’s menu, from breakfast platters and charcuterie boards to lobster rolls and a “selection of fine teas.” The hotel is also offering up cleaning services from “highly trained Mandarin Oriental, Boston room attendants,” starting at $75 an hour.

And if you’re looking to de-stress in these incredibly stressful times, the Mandarin is also making its massage therapists available for house calls, starting at $250 for a single session or $525 for a “Couples Serenity Massage.” Or you can arrange for a 50-minute fitness training or yoga session with a Mandarin staffer for $150.

The unusual offerings come as the hotel industry in Boston and around the world has taken a blow from the spread of the coronavirus, as fears have fueled dramatic downturns in tourism and travel, and led to a slew of cancellations of flights, cruises, and hotel stays.

The Mandarin Oriental has been no different, says Philipp Knuepfer, the hotel’s general manager.  He declined to say just how much bookings have dropped off (Mandarin’s CEO said late last week that the outbreak’s impact on its Asian hotels had been “quite significant”) but Knuepfer says the slowdown has left the hotel’s 200 staff members with less to do, and has put their jobs in jeopardy. “As you can imagine, since the pandemic, the hospitality industry in general has seen a drastic reduction in occupancy and business levels,” Knuepfer says. “What keeps me awake the last couple of days is I think, ‘How do I make sure they all my staff have food for their families and can pay their bills and all of that?’ So we hope that this idea will allow us to bring them out and get them the work they would normally have in the hotel. Hopefully we can give back both to the community and also to our team.”

While it’s not unheard of for Mandarin staff to offer house calls under special circumstances, the hotel has never widely advertised such services, and they’re uncommon. This is not a company-wide initiative, Knuepfer says, and to his knowledge is only being tried at the company’s Boston outpost.

The hotel has been distributing fliers around Back Bay and emailing people in its database of local customers letting them know how to book the service. Those interested in adding a dose of luxury to their coronavirus-induced isolation while propping up local hotel workers can inquire by calling (617) 535 8888 or via this email: [email protected].