The latest iteration of the Curbed Boston Hotels 18 seeks to answer that eternal question: "Where should I or someone I care about stay when visiting the Boston region?" (Presuming you or they don't stay on someone's couch.) Here then is the answer in the form of a dozen and a half lodges. These range from more affordable boutiques like the Chandler Inn and the Inn at Saint Botolph 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. We'll be updating the Hotels 18 again, don't fret. In the meantime, enjoy the map.Read More
The Essential Greater Boston Hotels, March 2014
1. 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.
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2. 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.
3. 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.
4. The Inn at St Botolph
The boutique hotel in the converted 19th-century brownstone bills itself as "the sister hotel" of XV Beacon, another boutique. Studio suites can run under $200, and it escalates from there. It's near some of Boston's most prime shopping spots, and therefore is popular with tourists who aren't going to do the Freedom Trail.
5. 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.
6. The Taj Boston
Boston, MA 02116
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.
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7. Marriott's Custom House
Boston, MA 02109
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.
8. 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!
9. Hyatt Regency Cambridge
Cambridge, MA 02139
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.
10. 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.
11. Chandler Inn
Boston, MA 02116
The hotel promises "simple, chic" rooms, and pretty much delivers that: a kind of budget luxury hotel, with rooms start at just under $200. Not to be confused with its newer "sister hotel," Chandler Studios.
12. 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.
13. The Eliot Hotel
Boston, MA 02115
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.
14. Seaport Boston Hotel
Boston, MA 02210
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.
15. Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel
The 471-room hotel opened in early 2008 as Marriott’s attempt at a boutique-y inn in Boston. That largely still holds, though it’s unlikely the business travelers and conventioneers in the Renaissance Boston Waterfront really notice the boutique-y part. Rates hover in the $400s, some cheaper, some (rarely) more expensive.
16. 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.
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17. Onyx Hotel
Boston, MA 02114
The boutique recently 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.
18. The Lenox
Boston, MA 02116
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.