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The Essential 18 Greater Boston Hotels, November 2014

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The newest Curbed Boston Hotels 18 seeks to answer that eternal question: "Where should I or someone I care about stay when visiting the Boston region?" The answer lay in the form of these dozen and a half lodges. They range from more affordable options such as the Liberty and the Westin Boston Waterfront (affordable meaning in the $200s or less per night) all the way to ultra-luxurious numbers such as the Taj Boston and the W Boston. Thanks to all who emailed the always-discreet Curbed Boston Tipline with suggestions. And stay tuned for another update in the new year.


· Our Curbed Maps archive [Curbed Boston]

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The Fairmont Copley Plaza

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The 102-year-old dowager countess of Boston hotels, the 383-room Fairmont Copley is enviable for its higher-end aura: the entryway has been known as Peacock Alley (as in strutting) since the Jazz Age and John Kennedy’s grandfather, then the mayor of Boston, threw a party for 1,000 when the hotel opened. Room rates start above $300 and run to over $600. A 3,000-square-foot rooftop fitness club was added in 2012.

W Boston Hotel

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A hipper member of Boston’s higher-end, the W’s 235 rooms can actually start in the relatively affordable $200s, so long as you book at least a few days in advance. The hotel portion—floors 3 through 13—only opened in 2009, after funding troubles spawned by the Great Recession got in the way. The rest of the tower is luxury condos.

Boston Harbor Hotel

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The 256-room, five-star hotel helped change the whole area, though it still has the feel of being out there on the water’s edge in the best and worst senses (i.e. fabulous views, but isolated). Room rates average as low as the high $300s to just under $1,000. You’ll find more vacationers than business travelers at the Boston Harbor.

The Langham Boston Hotel

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The Langham's building started life in 1922 as a Federal Reserve building, and became the Langham as we know it in 2003. You'll note that the second-floor rooms all have soaring ceilings, a la the old bank milieu. You'll also note that the luxury hotel's rates are not so luxurious, if you act early enough: Some rooms go for just over $200 a night.

The Taj Boston

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The old Ritz-Carlton is for the business traveler with a formidable expense account or the tourist going all out. Rates start at more than $200 and amp up quickly, with the Taj often sold out.

Marriott's Custom House

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The Custom House has bones going back to the mid-19th century, though the tower wasn't plunked there until the 20th. Today, the spire functions as an extended-stay Marriott, the sort perfect for business travelers in town for a while or those relocating to the region. Rates start in the upper $200s.

Ames Boston Hotel

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When this 114-room inn opened at the tail end of last decade just north of the Financial District, it was noted for being a hip redo of an 1889 building—a trendy envelope-pusher, if you will, about what Boston boutiques can be. It’s not pushing any envelopes price-wise: The Ames, with rooms starting just south of $300, is competitive with other city boutiques.

Westin Boston Waterfront

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The Globe called the Westin’s 2006 opening “the Hub’s biggest in 22 years.” Indeed, the sheer scope of the hotel—790 rooms—places it on our map, but so does its connection to the largest convention center in New England. As you’d expect, it’s got the feel of a business-traveler/conventioneer hotel, with rates starting as low as the high $100s (seriously).

The Liberty Hotel

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Just north of the Longfellow Bridge, the Liberty is kind of out of the way for Boston (as you can see). So it’s definitely more for tourists than for business travelers, a solid historical choice (it’s housed in the old Charles Street Jail, for one thing). The Liberty’s 300 rooms start as low as the low $200s—a real bargain on this map!

Hyatt Regency Cambridge

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The Charles-side complex has 470 rooms, including 11 suites, and offers plenty of meeting space as well as a 24-hour fitness center. Mostly, though, it's that straddling-Cambridge-Boston-border location that puts in on the Hotels 18. All rooms generally fall within the $200 to $300 range.

Nine Zero Hotel

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This 190-room Kimpton boutique opened in 2002, smack-dab in the middle of downtown Boston. It combines luxury amenities, like personal shoppers by request, with a sort of buzzy contemporariness that the city needs more of if it’s to retain its young (read: trendy, but not just for the sake of being trendy; it's functional). Best part for those young folk: Rooms can be had for under $300.

The Eliot Hotel

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This boutique on Back Bay’s western borderlands always garners props for its quiet elegance (Time magazine, in fact, called it “small and traditional without being stuffy”). The 95-room inn is more than a half-century old, and, speaking of props, Travel + Leisure in 2012 named it the No. 1 hotel in Massachusetts. Suites can run over $500, but regular rooms start at under $300, meaning this might be the best boutique on a budget in Boston.

Seaport Boston Hotel

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Opened in 1998 and seriously redone in 2009, this 428-room hotel is a ground-breaker in green. It was, in fact, named one of America’s greenest hotels by Forbes Traveler in 2008, and has picked up several other awards to that effect. Big with business travelers as it’s near the World Trade Center and the Innovation District, room rates run from the $300s to just over $500.

The Charles Hotel

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The Charles is usually the most expensive hotel in Cambridge, depending on when you book. Since its opening in 1984 (it replaced an empty lot), the 294-room inn has been a rite of passage for M.I.T. and Harvard parents—and proof you can charge $350-plus a night outside of downtown Boston.

Onyx Hotel

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The boutique in 2013 spent $2.3 million redoing its lobby, bar and lounge; and the Onyx is finishing up a renovation of its guest rooms. Rates usually range in the $200s.

The Lenox

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The 214-room Lenox sits smackdab in the middle of choice Back Bay, with its shopping and tourist-y spots. Rates remain, however, affordable, starting (and often staying) in the $200s. Perfect for tourists as the summer approaches.

Omni Parker House

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A rival to the Fairmount Copley in terms of old-school grandeur, the 551-room hotel went up in the late 1920s on the site of the old Parker House, which dated from just before the Civil War. (Also: JFK held his bachelor party there.) But! The Omni Parker is more affordable than the Fairmount: Rooms start in the $200s and rarely go higher. Make of the cheaper accommodations what you will.

Colonnade Boston Hotel

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The Colonnade has one of the best rooftop pools in all of Greater Boston (not a feature, by the way, of every hotel on our map). A $25 million redo—and the rooftop pool—turned the 285-room hotel into one of the region’s top boutiques (e.g., not for the business traveler). Rates hover in the $300s and $400s.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza

The 102-year-old dowager countess of Boston hotels, the 383-room Fairmont Copley is enviable for its higher-end aura: the entryway has been known as Peacock Alley (as in strutting) since the Jazz Age and John Kennedy’s grandfather, then the mayor of Boston, threw a party for 1,000 when the hotel opened. Room rates start above $300 and run to over $600. A 3,000-square-foot rooftop fitness club was added in 2012.

W Boston Hotel

A hipper member of Boston’s higher-end, the W’s 235 rooms can actually start in the relatively affordable $200s, so long as you book at least a few days in advance. The hotel portion—floors 3 through 13—only opened in 2009, after funding troubles spawned by the Great Recession got in the way. The rest of the tower is luxury condos.

Boston Harbor Hotel

The 256-room, five-star hotel helped change the whole area, though it still has the feel of being out there on the water’s edge in the best and worst senses (i.e. fabulous views, but isolated). Room rates average as low as the high $300s to just under $1,000. You’ll find more vacationers than business travelers at the Boston Harbor.

The Langham Boston Hotel

The Langham's building started life in 1922 as a Federal Reserve building, and became the Langham as we know it in 2003. You'll note that the second-floor rooms all have soaring ceilings, a la the old bank milieu. You'll also note that the luxury hotel's rates are not so luxurious, if you act early enough: Some rooms go for just over $200 a night.

The Taj Boston

The old Ritz-Carlton is for the business traveler with a formidable expense account or the tourist going all out. Rates start at more than $200 and amp up quickly, with the Taj often sold out.

Marriott's Custom House

The Custom House has bones going back to the mid-19th century, though the tower wasn't plunked there until the 20th. Today, the spire functions as an extended-stay Marriott, the sort perfect for business travelers in town for a while or those relocating to the region. Rates start in the upper $200s.

Ames Boston Hotel

When this 114-room inn opened at the tail end of last decade just north of the Financial District, it was noted for being a hip redo of an 1889 building—a trendy envelope-pusher, if you will, about what Boston boutiques can be. It’s not pushing any envelopes price-wise: The Ames, with rooms starting just south of $300, is competitive with other city boutiques.

Westin Boston Waterfront

The Globe called the Westin’s 2006 opening “the Hub’s biggest in 22 years.” Indeed, the sheer scope of the hotel—790 rooms—places it on our map, but so does its connection to the largest convention center in New England. As you’d expect, it’s got the feel of a business-traveler/conventioneer hotel, with rates starting as low as the high $100s (seriously).

The Liberty Hotel

Just north of the Longfellow Bridge, the Liberty is kind of out of the way for Boston (as you can see). So it’s definitely more for tourists than for business travelers, a solid historical choice (it’s housed in the old Charles Street Jail, for one thing). The Liberty’s 300 rooms start as low as the low $200s—a real bargain on this map!

Hyatt Regency Cambridge

The Charles-side complex has 470 rooms, including 11 suites, and offers plenty of meeting space as well as a 24-hour fitness center. Mostly, though, it's that straddling-Cambridge-Boston-border location that puts in on the Hotels 18. All rooms generally fall within the $200 to $300 range.

Nine Zero Hotel

This 190-room Kimpton boutique opened in 2002, smack-dab in the middle of downtown Boston. It combines luxury amenities, like personal shoppers by request, with a sort of buzzy contemporariness that the city needs more of if it’s to retain its young (read: trendy, but not just for the sake of being trendy; it's functional). Best part for those young folk: Rooms can be had for under $300.

The Eliot Hotel

This boutique on Back Bay’s western borderlands always garners props for its quiet elegance (Time magazine, in fact, called it “small and traditional without being stuffy”). The 95-room inn is more than a half-century old, and, speaking of props, Travel + Leisure in 2012 named it the No. 1 hotel in Massachusetts. Suites can run over $500, but regular rooms start at under $300, meaning this might be the best boutique on a budget in Boston.

Seaport Boston Hotel

Opened in 1998 and seriously redone in 2009, this 428-room hotel is a ground-breaker in green. It was, in fact, named one of America’s greenest hotels by Forbes Traveler in 2008, and has picked up several other awards to that effect. Big with business travelers as it’s near the World Trade Center and the Innovation District, room rates run from the $300s to just over $500.

The Charles Hotel

The Charles is usually the most expensive hotel in Cambridge, depending on when you book. Since its opening in 1984 (it replaced an empty lot), the 294-room inn has been a rite of passage for M.I.T. and Harvard parents—and proof you can charge $350-plus a night outside of downtown Boston.

Onyx Hotel

The boutique in 2013 spent $2.3 million redoing its lobby, bar and lounge; and the Onyx is finishing up a renovation of its guest rooms. Rates usually range in the $200s.

The Lenox

The 214-room Lenox sits smackdab in the middle of choice Back Bay, with its shopping and tourist-y spots. Rates remain, however, affordable, starting (and often staying) in the $200s. Perfect for tourists as the summer approaches.

Omni Parker House

A rival to the Fairmount Copley in terms of old-school grandeur, the 551-room hotel went up in the late 1920s on the site of the old Parker House, which dated from just before the Civil War. (Also: JFK held his bachelor party there.) But! The Omni Parker is more affordable than the Fairmount: Rooms start in the $200s and rarely go higher. Make of the cheaper accommodations what you will.

Colonnade Boston Hotel

The Colonnade has one of the best rooftop pools in all of Greater Boston (not a feature, by the way, of every hotel on our map). A $25 million redo—and the rooftop pool—turned the 285-room hotel into one of the region’s top boutiques (e.g., not for the business traveler). Rates hover in the $300s and $400s.