The best hotels in Boston

Looking for affordable accommodations or a deluxe room? Find the perfect place to stay with our guide to the best hotels in Boston.

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One of the best hotels in Boston, Nine Zero was at the vanguard of the boutique trend in the Hub

One of the best hotels in Boston, Nine Zero was at the vanguard of the boutique trend in the Hub

Hotels in Boston can finally count the chic and boutique among their ranks, in addition to the old-school opulence and business-class hotel options that have long been the city standard. Before the 1999 arrival of the first bona fide boutique hotel, XV Beacon, the choices for visitors were limited to old-school establishments, homey guesthouses or bland corporate chains. That's all changing. After 80 years, the Back Bay landmark Ritz-Carlton flagship moved across the Common and the older space was taken over by Indian luxury group Taj. Downtown, the trendy, modern and hotly anticipated W Hotel in the Theater District complements the refurbished Paramount Center performance complex. Meanwhile, the grande dame Fairmont Copley Plaza, which once housed the Museum of Fine Arts and is now well placed for shopping in the nearby Copley Place mall, is looking fine following its $34 million facelift.

Mid-range

Charlesmark Hotel

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Converted from a private residence, the slender Charlesmark is a beacon of minimalist boutique elegance on busy Boylston Street. The chic lounge and patio, opened in 2005, draws a local crowd. There's no restaurant, but Back Bay's culinary wealth more than compensates. The hotel is the work of local architect Dennis Duffy—a man responsible for some of the hippest restaurant, commercial and private revamps in town—whose clean, simple aesthetic is perfect for maximizing space in the modestly proportioned rooms.

  1. 655 Boylston Street, at Copley Square, MA 02116
More info

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. The Clarendon suite, with its splendid freestanding Victorian bath, is popular for romantic breaks. Wireless internet access is complimentary, and limited guest parking (reserved in advance) is a boon in the area.

  1. 198 West Brookline Street, between Tremont Street & Warren Avenue
More info

Boutique

XV Beacon

  • Price band: 4/4

In a former office building near the State House, XV Beacon opened in 1999, introducing contemporary boutique chic to Boston. Although there's more competition now, XV's air of discretion and exclusivity still carries considerable cachet. The sleek, spacious guest rooms are decorated in a lively mix of stripes and patterns, browns and beiges, and feature marble bathrooms and a lounge area with a grand gas fireplace (which, inexplicably, seems to emit heat whether you want it or not, battling with the air conditioning). The modern four-poster beds are a bit twee, but recent updates have introduced flatscreen TVs. The swanky restaurant, Mooo, offers steakhouse dining with a tongue-in-cheek twist. The hotel's free chauffeured car service is a boon, especially in winter, although its prime Beacon Hill location puts you just steps away from the Financial District and Back Bay.

  1. 15 Beacon Street, (at Park Street), MA 02108
More info

Hotel Commonwealth

  • Price band: 3/4

Rumors of Kenmore Square's rise are as greatly exaggerated as those of Hotel Commonwealth's fall. While Kenmore, a stone's throw from Fenway Park, is taking its time in 'coming up', the Commonwealth lost none in recovering from its early hiccups. Yes, Bostonians hated its fiberglass, faux 19th-century façade so much it was redone at huge expense, only to be met with more pained sighs of disapproval. But inside, the spacious suites and rooms have a rustic, boutique elegance, along with superior technological conveniences. The lauded Radius Group runs the adjoining seafood restaurant and bar, Great Bay, while room service comes courtesy of Eastern Standard, a hip adjacent brasserie that's made waves on the city's dining scene. Good soundproofing and superbly comfortable, Italian linen-clad beds are further plus points.

  1. 500 Commonwealth Avenue, (at Kenmore Square)
More info

Nine Zero

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

When it opened in 2002, Nine Zero was one of a select sprinkling of boutique-style hotels in Boston. Now part of the Kimpton group, the hotel retains its aura of chilled-out chic - 'relax' is etched in brass lettering on the sidewalk outside the entrance as a welcome mantra - and exclusivity. The white-painted rooms are sleekly modern, with plush bed linens and oversized black vinyl headboards (with slight dominatrix overtones). Extras include Kimpton's signature leopard print robes, free wireless internet access and a complimentary 'wine hour' in the evening. Celebrated local chef/restaurateur Ken Oringer opened a deluxe steak house, KO Prime, in 2007, which operates as the hotel's in-house kitchen for room service too.

  1. 90 Tremont Street, (at Bosworth Street), MA 02108
More info

W Hotel

  • Price band: 3/4

This trailblazing, chic and ever-so-slightly snooty urban hotel chain continues to expand around the country, but it hasn't yet reached the point at which hip and fashionable turns to yesterday's thing. For that, full credit goes to the design, which eschews grand flourishes in favour of a simple and unobtrusive stylishness in both the rooms and the public spaces. Immediately on entering the hotel, you'll find yourself in a buzzing lobby bar, crowded with visitors and after-work locals making the scene.

  1. 100 Stuart Street, (at Tremont Street)
More info

Deluxe

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)
More info

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)
Book online

Seaport Hotel

  • Price band: 3/4

Before the harbor area development, the Seaport was a lone beacon, accommodating business types attending the adjacent Seaport World Trade Center. Now that the nearby Institute of Contemporary Art has broadened its attractions and Fort Point is blossoming, putting up here offers a different perspective on the city. Facilities are faultless: the spa is highly recommended, while the third-floor fitness center has a wonderful 50ft pool with sky views and underwater music. There's also plentiful parking in the adjacent garage, and a good in-house restaurant, Aura. Innovations include the touch screen in-room 'Seaportal' service, which provides gusts with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocal) telephone calls, information on local dining spots, cultural attractions and events, public transport schedules and the latest flight information from Logan International's website - all at the tap of the monitor screen.

  1. 1 Seaport Lane, (at Northern Avenue)
More info

Four Seasons

  • Price band: 4/4

The five-star Four Seasons is known for its famous guests. When the Stones roll into town, this is where they set up camp. Problem: there's only one Presidential Suite, an apartment complete with baby grand piano and dedicated maid or butler service. So who gets it, Mick or Keith? Or do they bunk up together? Apparently, Keith defers to his Glimmer Twin and takes the less lavish - but still deluxe - Ambassador Suite. Built on the site of a former Playboy Club, the hotel boasts an ideal location in the Back Bay, with swooning views of the Public Garden and impeccable amenities (such as a 44ft swimming pool, fitness center and spa - none of which is open to the public) and service. Traveling with Pongo? Pampered pooches can chow down from a dedicated pet room service menu, while their owners bask in the Brahmin splendor of the Bristol Lounge and haute dining room, Aujourd'hui.

  1. 200 Boylston Street, (at the Public Garden)
More info

Taj Boston

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Few saw it coming, but in early 2007 the venerable Ritz-Carlton on Arlington Street was taken over by the Indian hotel group Taj. While tea at the Taj may not have quite the same ring to it as tea at the Ritz, very little has changed about the old girl really. As the Ritz, it had already undergone refurbishment that kept to its old world European style. Decor is unremarkable but pleasantly pastel, with plenty of ruffled window adornments and dark woods, creating a classic, elegant feel. Rooms vary from standard deluxe and garden view (the only difference being they overlook the Public Garden) to the 1,540sq ft Presidential Suite, with its own jacuzzi, parlor, kitchen and a dining area to seat six. Taj Boston Club guests have members-only services and privileges and a dedicated, catered lounge. As the Ritz, the place had a mystique engendered by decades of famous guests, from Frank Sinatra to Winston Churchill. It may look basically the same, but there's no doubt that an era ended when the new nameplate went up.

  1. 15 Arlington Street, (at Newbury Street)
More info

Boston Harbor Hotel

  • Price band: 3/4

The Big Dig blighted the Harbor Hotel's west side for years, but now - overlooking the Kennedy Greenway - the hotel is having the last laugh. It's in a superbly central location, close to the North End's Italian restaurants, Faneuil Hall and the Financial District. Rooms and suites are appointed with every little luxury, from high-speed wireless internet access and plush bathrobes and slippers to an umbrella - a thoughtful touch, considering Boston's famously changeable weather. Although the decor is old-fashioned by most hotel standards - New England country house-style florals and heavy woods - it's understated, not fussy, and the lobby's high ceilings and cool marble add an air of classic elegance. Rowes Wharf Bar has the atmosphere of a gentlemen's club, while the stunning Meritage restaurant offers first-class dining; the Intrigue Café is more informal. The hotel's spa and fitness rooms are among the best in the city, with a welcomingly warm 60ft pool as the centrepiece.

  1. 70 Rowes Wharf, (at Atlantic Avenue)
Book online

Lenox

  • Price band: 3/4

The privately owned Lenox, which first opened in 1900, boasts a prime location next to the Boston Public Library. The hotel's old-style gold and blue decor oozes quiet elegance, while its rooms feature brass chandeliers, dark wood furniture and marble bathrooms; several also boast working fireplaces, as does the charmingly restored lobby. The Lenox also houses the independently owned restaurant Azure - superb New England cuisine with a twist, courtesy of young, vivacious chef Andy Fathman - and the chic City Bar and City Table.

  1. 61 Exeter Street, (at Boylston Street)
More info

Ritz-Carlton Boston Common

  • Price band: 4/4

Although efforts have been made to smarten up this part of Downtown Boston, overlooking the Common near the Theatre District, it's still working on the idea of the rise. The hotel, however, offers all the luxury associated with the Ritz-Carlton name - although it eschews old-fashioned opulence in favor of more contemporary styling. A creamy, neutral colour palette creates a warm, relaxing atmosphere and the suites are fabulous, with sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows and imposing fireplaces. There's a slick (and expensive) in-house restaurant and bar, Jer-Ne, along with a chic bar/restaurant, Blu, and the vaguely health-oriented Blu Café. The vast Sports Club/LA is next door (guests pay a $15 fee per room, per day), along with the Splash Spa.

  1. 10 Avery Street, (at Washington Street)
More info


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