Dawson & Sanderson sales consultant Danielle Rowley jumped at the chance to return to Boston, and experience the delights of nearby Cape Cod. She also overcame a dislike of being photographed, which stemmed from a dog attack 15 years ago.
Q. What made you enter the Cover Star competition?
A. I wanted to see Boston in the fall. I went to Boston in 1997 (and it was minus 16C!), so I wanted to go back again when it wasn’t so cold. As soon as I saw details of the Cover Stars trip, I knew I had to apply. When we got to Boston, it was really warm. Cape Cod was -1C but still nice. It was a better experience than in 1997, seeing how beautiful it was in the fall. I didn’t enter for the makeover: I dreaded it. I have a scar on my face from a dog bite I suffered at the age of 20, when I lost my top lip. That’s why I was nervous having my photo taken. Doing Cover Stars was definitely a big deal for me but the photographer Steve and Robin [Searle, Travel Weekly managing editor] made me feel relaxed at the shoot at Copley Place Mall. I feel I have put the experience behind me.
Q. How easy has it been to sell Massachusetts since your Cover Stars trip?
A. You have to be more proactive to sell it. Customers don’t necessarily think to ask to go there. If they want to go to the US, they tend to specify New York or Las Vegas. It’s a great destination to offer because it’s a more laid-back break – in Boston, you don’t get all the hustle and bustle. I have booked three sets of clients to go to Boston. So far, they have all loved it.
Q. How was the flight?
A. I got upgraded to Upper Class. I started off with cocktails and cream scones in the lounge. I spent the first hour of the flight pressing buttons! It’s amazing being able to relax in so much comfort. It’s hard to go back to economy after that. You have got so much room, and when you get on, there’s a glass of champagne. There was no chance I would sleep – I was too excited, I watched three films back-to-back; it was fantastic.
Q. Where did you stay?
A. In Boston, I stayed at the Sheraton hotel in a huge suite overlooking the Charles River. As I was so high up, I didn’t need to use the blinds, so I woke up in the morning to watch the sun rise over the river. I saw a Traditional Guest Room, which was spacious and of a decent standard. The hotel was in a good location, five minutes from everything and linked to a shopping centre. It was a good four-star property and I would recommend it.
Q. What did you think of Cape Cod?
A. Coming from the modernness of the city, Cape Cod was like a breath of fresh air. It’s so different from Boston and only about an hour away. It was amazing to see the timber-clad pastel-coloured houses, and visiting the area where the Kennedys once lived. The area is stuck in time – in a nice way. We went to see the famous lighthouses, and at the beach we saw a mother and baby seal near the shore. Provincetown was authentic and quaint. The hotels are more traditional. The food was consistently good. I became a seafood fan on this trip: I’m definitely converted!
1. Suggest Boston as a city shopping break and get a discount booklet for clients. It’s definitely worth suggesting shopping malls such as Simon Shopping Destinations.
2. Massachusetts is a destination for all types of clients. There are some lovely parks and it’s particularly family-orientated.
3. Make it a twin-centre. If your client can go for more than four nights, combine Boston with Cape Cod.
Asked to name her trip highlight, Danielle doesn’t hesitate: Boston’s parks.
“My favourite part of Boston is the park in the centre: Boston Common,” she says.
“We were there at the end of the fall period but the colours were still vivid. It’s really something to see Boston at this time of year – just amazing!
“I don’t think people expect Boston to be as pretty as it is.
“As a city, it’s well looked after and has a safe feel to it. I was impressed by Boston from the moment I arrived.”
The views of the city from the Prudential Tower were a highlight for the sales consultant.
“It was lovely because you get to see so much of Boston,” she adds.
Walking through the historic district of Beacon Hill, next to Boston Common, was another favourite experience for Danielle, as well as seeing other parts of the city in a more unusual way – on a Second World War amphibious vehicle with Boston Duck Tours.
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