Hotels

Where to stay in Boston—from luxury lookouts to boutique bargains



Where to stay on a budget

Clarendon Square Inn

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Housed in a beautifully renovated 1860s merchant's townhouse, this luxury bed and breakfast is a far cry from Boston's staid, conservative image—take the rooftop hot tub, for instance, with its views over Back Bay. Rooms are individually designed and furnished with impeccable attention to detail, mixing carefully chosen antiques with sleek contemporary pieces. Some rooms have original fireplaces, but they're now only for decoration. Marble and limestone bathrooms and high-thread-count linens add to the appeal, although there are no king-sized beds, only queens. 

  1. 198 West Brookline Street, between Tremont Street & Warren Avenue
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Hotel 140

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Sharing a landmark 1920s building with original tenant the YWCA, private apartments and the Lyric Stage Company, Hotel 140 offers great value for money. While it may not be the pinnacle of luxury—the modern decor is plain but unassuming, with blond woods and neutral colours—the rooms come with all mod conveniences (including high-speed internet and nice bathroom products), the staff are very friendly and the Back Bay location can't be beat.

  1. 140 Clarendon Street, at Stuart Street, MA 02116
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A Bed & Breakfast in Cambridge

  • Price band: 2/4

Minutes away from Harvard University, this family-run B&B offers three rooms, with a shared bathroom, each furnished in keeping with the Colonial Revival-era house, built in 1897. Breakfast features home-baked pastries, waffles and jams, and, deliciously quaintly, guests are offered complimentary afternoon tea or a glass of sherry. But old customs meet New Age here—the proprietor is also an Alexander Technique teacher, should you wish to book a session or two during your stay.

  1. 1657 Cambridge Street, at Trowbridge Street, MA 02138
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Luxury lodgings

Mandarin Oriental

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Blending global luxury, Back Bay stye and New England charm, the Mandarin Oriental is an oasis in on bustling Boylston Street. The city's most sought-after shopping and dining is just steps away, but inside the Mandarin, elegant and modern guest rooms wow with stately decor. Elsewhere in the building, the world-class Bar Boulud serves up seasonal French fare, while the 5-star spa pampers guests with hydrotherapy, steam rooms, vitality pools and more.

  1. 776 Boylston Street, (at Gloucester Street)
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Liberty Hotel

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The cells in the Liberty Hotel, by the Charles River near Beacon Hill, have an altogether less tranquil history than the guesthouse; drunks and assorted villains were once locked up in the tiny cubicles in what is now the bar. Built in 1851, the Charles Street Jail was a model prison for the times - but by the 1970s, the facility was outmoded and in disrepair. A district court ruled that the jail violated prisoners' constitutional rights, and it finally closed in 1990. Needless to say, there's no trace of its former squalor. For its conversion into a luxury hotel, some $120 million was pumped into renovations and the construction of a 16-story wing, which contains most of the 300 guest rooms. The airy central rotunda, which houses the main lobby, is topped by a cupola that was formerly covered over, and magnificent, original floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the landscaped patio. Rooms are more comfortable than cutting edge, with pale, neutral decor, mahogany furniture and handmade patchwork throws. Luxuries abound, from plush bed linen and Molton Brown toiletries to flatscreen HD-LCD TVs.

  1. 215 Charles Street, (at Cambridge Street), MA 02114
More info

Fairmont Copley Plaza

  • Price band: 3/4

This little sister to New York's Plaza Hotel occupies a prime spot overlooking Copley Square, in the heart of Back Bay. Built in 1912, its mirrored and gilded lobby and function rooms are quite spectacular, with beautiful murals and ornate ceilings. But this place also has the air of an old family business, with black labrador Catie holding court in the lobby. A major renovation has introduced modern comforts while preserving the old-fashioned charm; rooms have high-speed internet access as well as stately club chairs and marble bathrooms. On the fourth floor, the discreet Fairmont Gold hotel-within-a-hotel has its own dedicated check-in and concierge, business center and lounge. The Fairmont's mahogany-paneled bar and restaurant, the Oak Room, is a Boston institution.

  1. 138 St James Avenue, (at Copley Square)
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