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Concierge.com

Boston Hotels

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ames
1 Court Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02108
Tel: 800 697 1791 (toll-free)
Tel: 617 979 8100
www.ameshotel.com

It's no surprise that the clubby Ames hotel—where even the elevator has its own playlist—quickly became a hip local hangout following its 2009 opening. Occupying the 19th-century Ames Building, which is ideally located near Faneuil Hall, the hotel has style built in: The largely white-on-white guest rooms show off the landmark's fine bones, including high arched windows. A little local color (decorative plates hung on the wall depict a map of Boston), metallic accents (silver side tables), and the softening effect of faux fur throws relieve the arctic blizzard palette; big marble walk-in showers (though no tubs in many of the 114 rooms) are an added bonus. Room service, typical of the efficient (if sometimes short-staffed) service overall, delivers your requisite Boston lobster-salad sandwich in the stated time, and the 24-hour fitness center is well equipped. On the weekends, the twentysomething crowd that spills out into the lobby and the street from the ground-floor Woodward restaurant and its adjacent bar can force the hotel's guests to run a boozy gauntlet. And the lack of sufficient sound-proofing in the guest rooms means that the club kids, along with the traffic noise, may keep you up. But if you'd rather party than retire early, the Ames delivers a rousing local scene.—Raphael Kadushin

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Bulfinch Hotel
107 Merrimac Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02114
Tel: 617 624 0202
BulfinchGM@ih-corp.com
www.bulfinchhotel.com

It takes a little creativity to pull off a stylish-yet-affordable hotel in a desirable Boston neighborhood. The owners of the Bulfinch Hotel went with a Scandinavian feel (blond woods, brushed steel, large windows, and smooth marble), and custom-designed tufted-leather headboards and silk curtains mold to the highly unusual spaces. Since it's a budget hotel, expect to give up a few luxury amenities. Standard rooms can be tight at only 250 square feet (it's worth the extra $60 to upgrade to one of the 450-square-foot Junior Suites, located in the "nose" of the building). The minibar is a bottle of Voss, and valet parking is nonexistent, though guests get a few dollars off parking in a nearby garage. The upside is that just by walking a few minutes, you can pick up a cannoli in the North End, catch a Celtics game at the Garden, or take in a history lesson at Faneuil Hall. And since it is so close to Massachusetts General Hospital, the hotel offers a flat fee of $165 a night for those visiting sick loved ones. In 2006, the three-year-old hotel opened a tapas bar and lounge downstairs—after a few Mata Haris (cognac, chai-infused vermouth, and pama), you won't even notice how small the rooms are.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Charles Hotel
1 Bennett Street
Cambridge , Massachusetts
02138
Tel: 617 864 1200
reservations@charleshotel.com
www.charleshotel.com

Located just off Harvard Square and next door to Harvard's JFK School of Government, it's no surprise that the luxe Charles Hotel has welcomed its fair share of dignitaries—everyone from the Dalai Lama to Bill Clinton. The 294 business-meets-Americana rooms mix Wi-Fi with checkered Shaker quilts, and all were spruced up in 2006. Among the upgrades: LCD televisions (including a smaller one imbedded in the bathroom mirror), and custom chalkboard art poking fun of its scholarly surroundings (one has a professor teaching economics to a classful of pigs). A Web kiosk on each floor gives guests sans BlackBerry or computer a chance to check e-mail and send instant messages. And while it's within walking distance to all of the Square's restaurants and bars, the hotel's downstairs hosts some of Cambridge's finest after-dark activities. After dining on pulled barbecue lamb shank at Henrietta's Table or spaghetti and lobster at Rialto, grab a chartreuse basil martini at the sultry Noir or take in some jazz at Regattabar before heading back upstairs. In 2007, the Liberty Hotel—another project from managing director Richard Friedman—took up residence in Boston's historic jailhouse across the river.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Eliot Hotel
370 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston , Massachusetts
02215
Tel: 800 443 5468 (toll-free)
Tel: 617 267 1607
email@eliothotel.com
www.eliothotel.com

In Back Bay, convenient to Fenway, Symphony Hall, Newbury Street, and especially the Harvard Club, which is next door, the neo-Georgian Eliot is named after Harvard President (1869–1909) Charles Eliot, even though he didn't live to see the building finished. Still belonging to the family that bought it during the Depression, the place goes for traditional comfort with either taupe toile and frills or raw brown silk accented by leopard prints, and framed prints in its suites—yes, suites—there are 79 of them, plus only 16 rooms. Each room also has a touch-pad tablet to connect with the valet, room service, and restaurants, and for free Internet access. The hotel is distinguished by its world-class restaurant, Clio, and its sashimi bar, Uni, plus its uncommon kid-friendliness: Under-18s share your room free, in a crib if required, and there's babysitting on demand (for a fee).

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Boston
200 Boylston Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02116
Tel: 617 338 4400
Fax: 617 423 0154
www.fourseasons.com/boston

Sitting on perhaps the most coveted piece of the city's real estate, the Four Seasons Boston overlooks the Public Garden and is within walking distance of Newbury Street's couture boutiques. The red-brick exterior is unassuming, and after a $43 million overhaul, belies the contemporary lobby swathed in black polished marble. The spacious rooms are now stripped of heavy drapery in favor of a sunny Beacon Hill–inspired disposition (bright color scheme, striped wallpaper, antique writing desks). The hotel's restaurant, Bristol Lounge, serves "upscale comfort food," and does a traditional afternoon tea. Perhaps what makes this and all Four Seasons so popular, though, is the highly personal, professional, and courteous service, appreciated by both leisure and business travelers alike. Managers make themselves available in the lobby each morning to assist guests, the concierge doles out boxes stocked with cuff links, socks, and belts to forgetful travelers, and a chauffeur will convey guests anywhere within a two-mile radius, free of charge. A new business center with free Wi-Fi was added off the lobby in 2010, there's a 15-minute delivery guarantee for "quick bite" items from room service, and kids can join the pastry chef on Saturdays for cookie-baking.—updated by Jon Marcus

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
The Harborside Inn
185 State Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02109
Tel: 617 723 7500
Fax: 617 670 6015
info@harborsideinnboston.com
harborsideinnboston.com

The Harborside's location, near Faneuil Hall Marketplace and right alongside the Rose Kennedy Greenway, sounds expensive, but it's actually an affordable alternative. Some of the 98 guest rooms even have water views, though be aware that others look inward, cruise-ship style, onto an eight-story, skylit atrium. Rooms got an upgrade during a 2006 renovation and have teak platform beds, flat-screen TVs, hardwood floors, and, in some cases, exposed brick. Set in an 1854 granite warehouse, the Harborside is also just a short walk from the North End Italian district, the Financial District, and the hopping Seaport, meaning there's a wide choice of close-by restaurants, bars, and shopping. That also means that the neighborhood can get noisy after dark, with crowds waiting to get into the area's rowdy bars.—Jon Marcus

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
InterContinental Boston
510 Atlantic Avenue
Boston , Massachusetts
02210
Tel: 866 493 6495 (toll-free)
Tel: 617 747 1000
Fax: 617 217 5190
icboston@ihg.com
www.intercontinentalboston.com

Opened in late 2006, this soaring blue glass–sheathed tower is a stone's throw from South Station. Like many modern buildings, it has a contemporary mahogany-and-marble design scheme, but in an effort to stand out, the 424-room Intercontinental has adopted some thoughtful touches. Sliding wooden-shuttered windows behind the king-size bed open the sleeping area to the bathroom, which is equipped with a sunken tub and glass-enclosed shower. The ergonomic furniture makes working on the road more bearable. And phones have caller ID to give you the option of privacy. The downstairs spa and gym, with an infinity edge lap pool, looks out onto a park, while the restaurant Miel, fashioned after a Provençal brasserie with matching decor, has fantastic views of the Fort Point Channel. If you're up for a stiff caipirinha or an even stiffer rum, RumBa (RumBar, but with a Boston accent—get it?) is handsome and perpetually humming with hotel visitors and well-to-do Bostonians. Sushi-Teq serves up an unlikely combo, sushi and tequila. Guest rooms occupy only eight of the 22 floors (the rest are taken up by condominiums, public spaces, and function rooms). Be sure to request a room in the north tower, so as to overlook the harbor.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Lenox Hotel
61 Exeter Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02116
Tel: 617 536 5300
Fax: 617 267 1237
reservations@lenoxhotel.com
lenoxhotel.com

One of Boston's oldest hotels, opened in 1900, the Lenox underwent an extensive 2003 restoration that modernized the bar and restaurant while respecting historic touches. The 214 rooms have heavy brocades, brass chandeliers, and Italian marble bathrooms (many also have working fireplaces). The renovation also paid particular attention to the thoroughly modern initiative to go green by minimizing waste, offsetting carbon emissions (the rooms were the first in the world to be certified climate-neutral), and using hybrids for car service. The area around the Lenox is also coming into modern times, thanks to the arrival of flashy shops, salons, and restaurants on nearby Boylston Street. Or head to the hotel's City Bar, a popular late-night hangout for the local club set. But skip the faux-Irish pub: It's nowhere near as good as any of the real Irish pubs you'll find all over Boston.—Jon Marcus

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Liberty Hotel
215 Charles Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02114
Tel: 617 224 4000
reservations@libertyhotel.com
www.libertyhotel.com

Once home to Boston's most feared and reviled citizens, this remarkable granite structure on the Charles River is now populated by executives and trendsetters. The mid-19th-century jailhouse was deemed unfit for habitation in the early 1970s, eventually shuttered, and reopened in 2007 by hotel developer Richard Friedman, of Charles Hotel fame. Elements of the building's previous life remain, such as the 90-foot-high central rotunda (now the lobby), catwalks linking public spaces, and wrought-iron bars in the hallways. Most of the "inmates" now reside in a 16-story addition, where the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, streamlined mahogany furniture, and granite-and-glass bathrooms stocked with Molton Brown toiletries. Of the 298 rooms, 18 are in the jail building—they have the same amenities as the new Tower rooms, but with dramatic arched windows and exposed brick. The food is also much improved, thanks to Lydia Shire's upscale trattoria, Scampo (derived from the Italian for "escape"). Even though lockdown is voluntary and Champagne is served upon arrival, there is one thing about the place that hasn't changed—you still have to pay a hefty "bail" to get out.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mandarin Oriental, Boston
776 Boylston Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02199
Tel: 866 526 6567 (toll-free)
Tel: 617 535 8888
Fax: 617 535 8893
mobos-reservations@mohg.com
www.mandarinoriental.com/boston/

Mandarin Oriental sunk $250 million into the opening of this Back Bay hotel in late 2008. Part of the building is taken up by 50 very expensive condos, home to some of the city's wealthiest and most powerful people. But don't concern yourself with those. Bright hallways lead to the 136 hotel guest rooms (13 of them are suites) on eight floors, which begin at 450 square feet (oversized in this neighborhood). The decor is composed of woods and warm colors, and the amenities are nice, including Frette linens (there's a Frette shop downstairs), yoga mats, and touch screens on the telephones that call up news, the local forecast, and menus for the hotel's restaurants. Even if you don't stay here, check out the impressive art collection in the public spaces, with selections by Frank Stella and David Hockney (ask for the guidebook to the collection at the front desk). There's a huge Asian-inspired spa that is a destination in itself, and a little-known spa café that's a hidden oasis in the busy Back Bay.—Jon Marcus

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Nine Zero Hotel
90 Tremont Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02108
Tel: 866 906 9090 (toll-free)
Tel: 617 772 5800
concierge@ninezerohotel.com
www.ninezero.com

Five minutes on foot to the financial district, this 190-room Kimpton property is a business hotel—as long as you're in tech stocks or A&R or the creative department. Rooms in three categories ("deluxe," "premier," and "premier with view"—the latter with giant windows on high floors) have ergonomic leather desk chairs, Wi-Fi, and customized minibars. Yoga, Pilates, meditation, and core-strengthening fitness programs are on-demand on the TV. Snazzy decor in an array of metals—nickel, chrome, steel—is accented with glass and stripes and dramatic lighting. Opened in May 2007, KO Prime restaurant sates diners with hearty steaks and chops, as well as a number of lighter dishes (such as king salmon and Dover sole).

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common
10 Avery Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02111
Tel: 800 241 3333 (toll-free)
Tel: 617 574 7100
Fax: 617 574 7200
www.ritzcarlton.com/boston

Still known to locals as the "New Ritz" to distinguish it from Boston's original Ritz-Carlton (now the Taj) around the corner, the Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common opened in 2001 and underwent an $11 million renovation in 2008. Another spruce-up in 2011 added a cozy U-shaped lobby bar with private alcoves and a fireplace, and revamped the restaurant, now called American Bistro, which serves small plates and local and seasonal dishes. The 193 rooms (43 of these are suites) are done up in cheery hues of apricot, blue, and yellow, with hardwood furniture and flat-screen TVs. Check out the original contemporary New England art in the public spaces (there are self-guided exhibition brochures in the rooms). Despite the name, the Ritz is not on the Common, but some rooms do have a view.—Jon Marcus

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Taj Boston
15 Arlington Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02116
Tel: 877 482 5267 (toll-free)
Tel: 617 536 5700
taj.boston@tajhotels.com
www.tajhotels.com/boston/

India-based Taj Hotel Group has been snatching up iconic American hotels for a few years now—New York's Pierre, Campton Place in San Francisco—but its 2007 acquisition of the 1927 Boston Ritz-Carlton, the very first property in the chain, raised eyebrows. The hotel was as famous for its prime location at the edge of the Public Garden and Newbury Street and its illustrious history (past guests have included Tennessee Williams and Winston Churchill) as for its steadfast traditionalism. (The newer Ritz-Carlton Boston Common, across the park, is much more contemporary.) Despite a 2002 restoration, the 273-room grande dame is still traditional, though not in the best way: Furnishings are grandmotherly, televisions are still cathode-ray, and the interiors overall could use a facelift. Taj is quietly modernizing—adding flat-screen TVs, overhauling the roof deck, and refurbishing the fitness center—but is retaining the property's sense of classic charm. The public spaces are gilded, service is genteel, and the dimly lit, leather-studded bar overlooking the park is still a favorite with Boston Brahmins.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
XV Beacon
15 Beacon Street
Boston , Massachusetts
02108
Tel: 877 982 3226 (toll-free)
Tel: 617 670 1500
hotel@xvbeacon.com
www.xvbeacon.com

A 62-room Beaux Arts beauty high up on Beacon Hill, this place generally gets top billing in the Boston boutique stakes. It's rich on detail, from its black-walled lobby to rooms with open (gas) fires, printer/scanner/fax machines, five-disc CD players with library, Deco-esque four-poster beds, and furniture of dark wood, brushed steel, and leather. Mooo—a steakhouse, clearly—opened in August 2007 with a modern design, a notable wine cellar, and rare scotches to pair with your six ounces of Kobe-style beef flown in from Gunma Prefecture. Best of all—or so it will strike you after a long day of meetings, sightseeing, shopping, or offspring-visiting—the hotel puts its two Lexus LS 460 sedans at the disposal of its guests for their entire stay, gratis (with the Dav El Sedan Service as backup).

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.