Hotel Commonwealth renovation features BU-themed signature suite

Hotel Commonwealth, located at the edge of Boston University’s East Campus in Kenmore Square, finished the first of several major renovations to upgrade its 149 guest rooms and added three luxury suites, one of which celebrates BU’s history and culture.

“Style and technology upgrades are helping us boost Hotel Commonwealth’s already high-end guest experience, while also celebrating our close-knit community,” said General Manager Adam Sperling in an email. “The overall renovation has exceeded our already high standards for guest stays, and we’re hopeful this will be a draw to discerning travelers, from college alumni to Red Sox diehards to jet-setters.”

The hotel’s new suites feature localized themes including BU academics and athletics, modern art culture and the Rathskeller music hall, a punk rock club that hosted acts such as The Pixies and Gang Green, a Wednesday press release stated.

When designing the Terrier suite, Hotel Commonwealth worked with BU to obtain permission and access to the university’s logos and additional images to decorate the room, Sperling said.

“We were very fortunate to collaborate with Boston University on The Terrier Suite, which honors the school’s athletic, academic and cultural legacy,” Sperling said. “It includes a giant graphic mural of Rhett … a photo montage of archival Boston University news clippings and a ‘Wall of Fame’ headboard. The school gave priceless guidance on tailoring the room to appeal to Boston University alumni, students, faculty and parents.”

Original work from BU’s College of Fine Arts students will also be included in the modern art-themed Loft signature suite, Sperling said.

Dr. Michael Oshins, associate professor of the practice in the School of Hospitality Administration, said Hotel Commonwealth’s renovation will help attract more customers.

“Increasing suites increases the ability to attract both higher up people and also connect more to the local market,” he said. “For example, since they are the gateway to Boston University, having an all BU suite really ties in to BU [as a] target market … BU is probably their biggest market because of all the connections we have with BU faculty, alumni, staff and other people visiting the university.”

Promoting Kenmore Square’s history and culture will likely help the hotel generate buzz and market itself in a unique way, Oshins said.

“One of the things that hotels and most brands like to do is play to the historical roots,” he said.

Several residents said a major renovation project will have a positive impact on customers and bring the hotel more attention.

Megan Carthon, 24, of Roslindale, said the hotel’s revamped brand correlates with the changing neighborhood around Kenmore Square.

“It’s good for them to rebuild and make it fresh and new to people coming in,” she said. “Some areas like Kenmore are becoming gentrified because certain populations and demographics of people are moving in. BU is bringing a lot of traffic and businesses into the area, and Boston is a big college town.”

Shawn Core, 38, of Roxbury, said the hotel renovations will help travelers learn about Boston’s diverse history.

“In some cases, there are people who don’t know about the area or haven’t been here,” he said. “If they go to the hotel and stay in one of these rooms, they can get an idea of what it was like in the past compared to how it is now. They get a taste and glimpse into the culture and history.”

Hayden Mitchell, 23, of Kenmore, said while the suite themes are interesting, Hotel Commonwealth’s most important decision was trying to preserve and promote Kenmore Square’s culture.

“It’s always good for the area to keep up change and development,” he said. “I’d rather see the hotel renovate than for them to tear down the whole building. The buildings themselves are historic and old. It keeps up with the historic feel by having them look the way they do.”

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