In downtown Springfield, above, Massachusetts welcomed its first casino resort in August; a second, near Boston, is on the way. Other hotel options in the state run the gamut from oceanside resorts and luxury city properties to rustic mountain retreats.
• The 250-room MGM Springfield, the first casino resort in the state, opened on Aug. 24. Two ballrooms named for other properties in the MGM Resorts International family -- Aria and Borgata -- anchor the 34,000 square feet of meeting space, and the 6,200-square-foot Terrace overlooks Armory Square, the city's 19th-century U.S. National Guard Armory, now part of the resort.
• Phase 1 of a renovation is complete at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The $25 million project created the Tip-Off Pavilion Lobby, the surround-sound NIKE Theater and the Coaches Circle exhibit. The new interactive Players Locker Room highlights 24 Hall of Famers. All renovations will finish by the end of 2019.
Group properties include the 325-room Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, 265-room Tower Square Hotel Springfield, 250-room MGM Springfield and 88-room Residence Inn by Marriott.
The mecca for dining out and having a blast in Springfield is Theodore's Booze, Blues & BBQ, an atmospheric club that's been operating in the city for 39 years. Live acts from national bands to open-mic events entertain Tuesday through Saturday nights. On the menu, hickory-smoked meats are the draw, with choices like pulled pork, beef brisket, Texas sausage, chicken wings and more. (413) 736-6000
Groups in town in September arrive just in time for the area's flamboyantly fun state fair, the Big E. All the favorites are there: parades, animals, concerts, rides, a farmers market and wine barn, a butter sculpture and giant corn dogs. (413) 737-2443
Getting Here and There
Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., about 18 miles from downtown Springfield. Transfer cost by taxi, $52; via Lyft and Uber, starting at $26
Another Safe Bet
The rafters are rising at the state's second casino resort, the 671-room Encore Boston Harbor
in Everett. The $2.5 billion property debuts next June with 50,000 square feet of event space.
Happening in Boston
This historic city is welcoming a new wave of hotels.
One of the country's most storied cities, Boston continues to grow and change, as exemplified by its evolving hospitality scene.
More meeting space
Ground was broken in May on the 1,055-room Omni Boston Seaport Hotel. When it opens a block from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in 2020, the $550 million property will be the city's fourth largest and the biggest in Omni Hotels and Resorts' portfolio. Its 100,000 square feet of meeting space will include the largest hotel ballroom in the Seaport District, but the Omni also will be connected directly to the convention center. Among the amenities will be a Mokara Spa, an all-day restaurant, a lobby lounge, an entertainment lounge, and a French brasserie and boulangerie. An urban rooftop pool deck on the fourth floor will have space for year-round events with views of Boston's skyline.
The luxury Raffles brand is making its first foray into the North American market with a new city property. Scheduled to open in 2021, the Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences will feature 147 guest rooms and 146 residences, joining a very exclusive collection of just 12 hotels around the world. Other highlights will include a two-story lobby high above Copley Square, five food-and-beverage venues, a state-of-the-art Raffles Spa with an indoor pool, and a rooftop garden terrace and lounge. The meeting space has yet to be defined.
Wellness and luxury abide at the 126-room Canyon Ranch in Lenox
. The resort's meeting space can host up to 50 people, but the real draw here is the full slate of programs that focus on health. Start the day with yoga, end it with New England Clam chowder and throw in a digital detox (ditch your cellphone) midway for total relaxation.
North of town
An Autograph Collection by Marriott property has debuted in Somerville, Mass. The 158-room Row Hotel at Assembly Row, featuring 6,192 square feet of meeting space, is part of a multi-use development of shops, fitness facilities, entertainment venues, residences and eateries. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up the lobby, which is marked by a spiral glass-and-metal staircase and decorated with glassworks by artist Feliciano Bejar. Reflections, the lobby lounge and café, is the hotel's all-day restaurant.