Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Boston ClubAcela

I was in Boston today, attending the Enterprise 2.0 Expo in Back Bay. There's an Amtrak station there, but I opted to wander down to South Station for two reasons: one, I had time; and two, I figured I'd fill up my Thermos with coffee at the ClubAcela.

Amtrak has four ClubAcela locations, one each in Boston (at South Station), New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. I had been to the other three several times. Despite a few trips to Boston, though, I hadn't been to the ClubAcela here.

When I arrived at 8:40 p.m., I was greeted by two guys cleaning the carpet. The attendant was mystified by my presenting him with a Continental Presidents Plus membership card; apparently, news that Amtrak has reciprocity with Continental for club access hasn't made its way to Boston even after being posted on the Amtrak Web site for more than a year.

Despite being utterly unclear as to the value of my membership card, he shrugged and pleasantly told me that I was welcome to wait for my train up here. I think anyone might have done the same.

Alas, he told me, he had already dumped the coffee--odd, since the stated hours go until 9:30 p.m. He did ask if I was hungry; evidently, my lack of demonstrable eligibility (in his mind) didn't preclude me from enjoying whatever he could offer. I had just had some pizza, so I politely refused and wandered a bit.

The ClubAcela in South Station is quite impressive on its merit, larger than the D.C. or New York locations and with some of the elegance of the Phildelphia club. It's elevated above the main concourse, and there are expansive views from large windows that overlook the tracks and the outside street. Furniture is comfy if utilitarian, and they have a pair fo thin-client workstations for Web access.

I didn't stay in the ClubAcela long, on account of the shampoo scent and damp floors. Maybe I'll come back again. It seems worth another try.

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