Four InterContinental Hotel guests enjoying some wine and mixed drinks one August night decided to stroll the hotel's grounds along Fort Point Channel. But then they went too far - they walked from the hotel's granite walkways onto the bricks of the Harborwalk just as two BPD detectives were arriving for a snap inspection.
Unlike in some other world-class cities, it's illegal to consume alcoholic beverages on public walkways in Boston, so the detectives wrote the hotel up for the violation of Boston licensing rule 1.09D, which requires hotels and other liquor-license holders to keep their guests from taking drinks off their property.
That the guests may have been unaware of rule 1.09D was magnified by the fact the hotel had removed the paper signs warning guests not to leave the well-manicured grass and gray granite walkways because it had been pouring earlier in the evening and paper signs tend to fall apart in the rain, hotel officials told the board at a hearing this morning.
The hotel has since procured small metal signs (see photo above) that can be left out all the time, even when the outdoor bar is closed but guests wander out from inside.
But wait, this whole thing gets even better: The hotel used to have stanchions and ropes to mark off its property and try to corral guests feeling an ineluctable pull to the water's edge, but had to remove them on the orders of state environmental officials. Seems state regulators became concerned the stanchions and ropes could become part of a precedent that would let the hotel and other waterfront property owners slowly take control of the public right to waterfront access along the Harborwalk, hotel officials said, emphasizing that that was never their intent. Local groups also said the stanchions and ropes were blocking public access to areas the hotel had promised to keep public, including the lawns.
In addition to the little metal signs, the hotel now has security guards patrol the water side of the hotel grounds to gently guide any wayward guests back where they belong, officials said.
The licensing board decides Thursday whether any action on its part is required.