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Massachusetts 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

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Belfry Inne & Bistro
8 Jarves Street
Sandwich , Massachusetts
02563
Tel: 800 844 4542 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 888 8550
info@belfryinn.com
www.belfryinn.com

Situated in a great spot for people-watching—close to restaurants and shops—the Belfry Inne encompasses three neighboring buildings in Sandwich: the Federal-style Village Inn; the Victorian Painted Lady; and our favorite, the Abbey, a converted Catholic church that's one of the Cape's most distinctive guesthouses. A second-floor addition at the Abbey makes space for six unusually shaped rooms with exposed beams, archways, balconies, and headboards constructed from old pews. A stained-glass depiction of Michael the Archangel overlooks one room, and Gabriel keeps an eye on another. The nave now houses a trendy bistro (wine is kept in the one-time confessional), and in warm weather, guests can eat breakfast on a brick patio surrounded by flowers and statuary. The Painted Lady received a renovation in 2005 and has nine small rooms (some with just enough room for a queen bed and dresser) with whirlpool baths and gas fireplaces. The sitting area in the turret has unrivaled views of Sandwich Village's pretty (and resurgent) historic center. The seven-room Village Inn—built as a boarding house in the 1830s—is neat and tidy but otherwise isn't distinctive compared with many other Cape Cod B&Bs.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Blantyre
16 Blantyre Road
Lenox , Massachusetts
Tel: 413 637 3556
welcome@blantyre.com
www.blantyre.com

The staff at this brick Elizabethan Tudor have a saying about the decor: "If it's not in the movie Sense and Sensibility, we don't do it!" Antique and toile-filled guest rooms with flower bouquets feel like "homes away from home." Formal dinners begin with cocktails in the great room. The surrounding 117 acres of woodlands and hills are "beautiful and serene." In the winter months, enjoy snow barbecues next to the "ice rink"—the tennis courts, flooded.

(23 rooms)

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Brass Key Guest House
67 Bradford Street
Provincetown , Massachusetts
02657
Tel: 800 842 9858 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 487 9005
ptown@brasskey.com
www.brasskey.com

This longtime Provincetown fixture was starting to look worn when new owners—who also bought the Crowne Pointe Inn across the street—took over in 2008 and shined it up like new. Comprised of nine buildings surrounding a private courtyard with a pool, the Brass Key has a pleasantly compoundlike feel that makes it an unlikely oasis in P-town's densely populated downtown. Its almost entirely gay clientele includes many regulars who have returned for years, elevating the guests' average age. So, in the hope of luring a younger crowd—not too young, though; no children are allowed—the owners have brought in new furnishings and replaced the bathrooms in nearly half of the 43 units (so far). Also in the works are two new suites. The rooms are masculine and tastefully decorated with reproduction furniture, but guests spend less time in the rooms than around the pool and in the many public spaces, including a high deck in a turret that's popular at sunset, and a living room–like lobby with comfortable couches and a piano.

$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.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Canyon Ranch Lenox
165 Kemble Street
Lenox , Massachusetts
02140
Tel: 800 742 9000 (toll-free)
Tel: 413 637 4100
www.canyonranch.com/resorts/lenox-home.aspx

This mansion sits in a "serene Berkshire landscape." Guests enjoy "a never-ending spa menu," holistic health and wellness services, and a "great team of staff." Rooms in earth tones with cherrywood furnishings are residential in style; bathrooms have granite countertops. In the dining room, with its antique mirrored wall and views of lawns and hills, dine on healthy preparations of everything from cauliflower to lamb chops—or learn how to make the dishes in the demo kitchen. Activities are "always cleverly adapted to the weather and surroundings."

(126 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Captain's House Inn
369–377 Old Harbor Road
Chatham , Massachusetts
02633
Tel: 800 315 0728
info@captainshouseinn.com
www.captainshouseinn.com

This handsome former sea captain's estate turned B&B—near Chatham's classic retail district and a short drive from the beach—is impeccably maintained by the enthusiastic young couple who bought the place in 2006. The 16 rooms are divided among four buildings: the Greek Revival–style main house, built in 1839, with beamed ceilings and walnut plank floors; a historic cottage relocated from Nantucket; a carriage house; and a converted stable. The best room is the Lydia Harding Suite, which takes up the entire second floor of the stable and has two fireplaces, a whirlpool, and a balcony. Several other rooms have whirlpools, too, and all are bright and tastefully decorated in colonial style. The friendly staff—composed almost entirely of hospitality and tourism students recruited from England—serves breakfast and afternoon tea in the airy dining room, which has patio tables overlooking the quiet lawn and garden. Subtle modern amenities, including Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a heated pool, don't detract from the old-world charm.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Captain Farris House
308 Old Main Street
Yarmouth , Massachusetts
02664
Tel: 508 760 2818
thecaptain@captainfarris.com
www.captainfarris.com

A restored 1845 mansion, the Captain Farris House puts you in the middle of a Yarmouth neighborhood populated with homes on the National Register of Historic Places and just steps from pretty Bass River. Three of the ten guest rooms have private sundecks, and two have fireplaces; all have an especially nice bathroom (most with two-person whirlpool tubs). The common areas, however, outshine the rooms—especially the glass-covered greenhouse courtyard, the particularly pretty garden, the formal dining room with its Waterford chandelier, and the antiques- and velvet-filled parlor, where guests gather to sip complimentary sherry in the evenings. The modern age intrudes in the form of traffic noise from busy Route 28, so ask for a room off the garden. And if you're a late riser, avoid the first-floor rooms beside the courtyard and dining room: The buzz of your fellow guests enjoying their three-course breakfast will make it hard to spend a lazy morning in bed.

Closed November through early April, except on Valentine's Day weekend.

$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.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Charlotte Inn
27 S. Summer Street
Edgartown , Massachusetts
02539
Tel: 508 627 4151
charlotte@relaischateaux.com
www.relaischateaux.com/charlotte

This rustic Relais & Châteaux property in the center of Edgartown is the best hotel on Martha's Vineyard—and one of the most expensive. (Rooms start at $295 and top out at $950 per night.) A no-kids and no–cell phone policy and a doting but discreet staff make this equestrian-themed oasis with manicured gardens and intimate nooks our first choice for romantic getaways or special occasions. (Book way in advance.) Owners Gerret and Paula Conover decorated the five 18th- and 19th-century houses so beautifully that the inn inspired its own coffee-table book: Behind the Times on Purpose. While each of the 25 rooms is distinctive, all are appointed in comfortable English country style with antiques, old paintings, objets d'art, and large bathrooms. For extreme privacy, ask for the three-room carriage house; if you want to lounge on your own private terrace, snag room 21.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Chatham Bars Inn
297 Shore Road
Chatham , Massachusetts
02633
Tel: 800 527 4884 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 945 0096
welcome@chathambarsinn.com
www.chathambarsinn.com

The grandest of the classic Cape Cod hotels, and by far the best, the Chatham Bars was built in 1914 by a Boston stockbroker. In 2006, another Boston mogul, Richard Cohen (formerly Mr. Paula Zahn), bought it for $166 million and spent another $30 million on renovations and an expansion. With 18 room types to choose from—there are 40 rooms in the main inn, and an additional 176 in the surrounding cottages—making a reservation can feel like choosing a college. Rooms in the main inn, Cranberry Cottage, and Privet Cottage were renovated in 2009. Each room has a Bose Wave radio, plasma TV, espresso machine, and a new bed enveloped in Frette linens; the best one of all is the two-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot Presidential Suite, with a deck overlooking the ocean. For privacy and direct access to the quarter-mile hotel beach, book a room in one of the cottages along the water; ocean-facing rooms in the main house have the best views. Avoid the rooms in the Beach House—they're above a restaurant and bar that can get noisy. The Chatham Bars is a ten-minute walk from Chatham's quaint downtown and 20 minutes from picturesque Chatham Light—but with a private beach, poolside minibar-equipped cabanas, a wide veranda overlooking Pleasant Bay, a 52-foot Viking yacht for deep-sea fishing, and on-site spa treatments, you'll find plenty to do right here. There are also children's programs during the summer—including etiquette classes!—and an adjacent nine-hole public golf course. (Many of these services cost extra, on top of the $9 daily resort fee.) The dining options, all overseen by chef Anthony Cole, are equally diverse: seafood-centric formal dining, comfort food in the tavern, tapas-style snacks from the Veranda, or a clambake and a drink on the beach at the Beach House Grill. At peak season, a staff of 460 employees is on hand to make sure your stay is flawless—they'll hover but not intrude.

The Veranda and Beach House Grill close in the winter, but the inn stays open year-round.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Cliffside Beach Club
46 Jefferson Avenue
Nantucket , Massachusetts
02554
Tel: 508 228 0618
ackbeach@aol.com
www.cliffsidebeach.com

The Cliffside's big draw is its right-on-the-sand location, just west of Jetties Beach a mile from town: You can walk out of your room or suite (there are 26 total) and a minute later be in the water. A private club since 1949, the Cliffside owns its stretch of shore and has a healthy respect for its history. The beach pavilion and a set of wooden changing rooms have been there since 1904, and some of the interiors (especially in the 10 Gold Coast rooms and the beach cottage) have a vintage feel, with patchwork quilts and antique wood or wicker furniture. There's a 3,000-square-foot exercise room, hydrotherapy spa, and a guests-only bar and café. The outdoor pool complex is great for lap-swimming, but otherwise superfluous, since the waves beckon just outside. Although certain rooms are designated adults-only, the hotel is very family-friendly; you'll see more than a few tykes making sand castles or napping under the trademark yellow, blue, or green beach umbrellas.

Open mid-May through mid-October.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin
24 Old South Wharf
Nantucket , Massachusetts
Tel: 866 838 9253 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 325 1499
www.thecottagesnantucket.com

With downtown Nantucket and the Boat Basin within walking distance, this property provides "the best of the island," reflected in the perfect location score. Harborfront-facing cottages—with full kitchens, polished pine floors, slate bathrooms, and dormer windows—overlook the docks, "hearing the water softly lapping against the pylons, seeing boats bobbing around, it just felt so appropriate." There is no restaurant on-site, but meals are available in town, or at sister hotel, the White Elephant.

(24 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Crowne Pointe Historic Inn and Spa
82 Bradford Street
Provincetown , Massachusetts
02657
Tel: 877 276 9631 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 487 6767
welcome@crownepointe.com
www.crownepointe.com

The Crowne Pointe's 36 rooms are among the most luxurious (and most expensive) in P-town. A total makeover completed in 2008 exhibits strong attention to detail: Housed in six adjacent 19th-century buildings, the rooms combine historical accuracy—reproduction Victorian furniture and color schemes—with hip design and lavish comfort, including modern bathrooms with whirlpool tubs. The best is the Penthouse Residence, which the owners—an engineer and a wine-savvy former MTV executive, who also own the Brass Key, across the street—designed for themselves. It includes a top-of-the-line kitchen and is one of the few rooms with a view. (The hotel is set back from the ocean, but the location, a block from Commercial Street, P-town's main drag, makes up for the lack of scenery.) A diverse crowd—including celebrities such as Quentin Tarantino—mingles around the pool and is served by a staff that's refreshingly friendly for a town not known for genuine hospitality. If you're on a health kick, you'll appreciate the spa and the restaurant's Asian-inspired menu—everything except the obligatory clam chowder is prepared without butter, cream, or trans fats. Guests can use the steam room, sauna, and mineral soaking tub without additional charge, and breakfast is included. Note that children are not permitted.

$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

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Harbor View Hotel
131 North Water Street
Edgartown , Massachusetts
02539
Tel: 800 225 6005 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 627 7000
Fax: 508 627 8417
www.harbor-view.com

In May 2008, a stem-to-stern renovation of this gray-shingled Victorian was completed under the watchful eye of owner Alan Worden (a former investment banker who once sailed from Nantucket to New Zealand with just one other crew member). Originally opened on the Edgartown Harbor in 1891, this grand New-England–style resort is the town's oldest and—with 141 rooms spread among two main buildings and several cottages—largest hotel. Linda Woodrum, of HGTV's Dream Homes, redecorated the cottage suites, and while they feel plucked out of a Pottery Barn catalog, they have the best of everything: kitchenettes, walk-in closets, flat-screen TVs, fireplaces, private gardens, and outdoor showers. Ask for suite 24 in the cottages for its relative seclusion, ocean view, and brand-new, high-end appointments; or for any of the more traditionally decorated, ocean-facing rooms in the main house (some of which have private balconies). Avoid the motel-like Governor Mayhew building by the pool. The restaurant, Water Street, turns out sophisticated New England–style dishes, and the comfortable bar, Henry's, serves an all-day menu of crowd-pleasers, such as lobster rolls and chocolate-chip cookies. Befitting the hotel's maritime feel, a 31-foot center console boat ferries guests to private beaches (although there is a small sand beach and heated pool on site), and the young-adult learn-to-sail program will keep the kids occupied while you watch from the wraparound porch as yachts drift by. The town is a five-minute scenic walk away—far enough to keep the hotel's vibe relaxed. Guests also get advance tee times at the nearby par-72 Farm Neck Golf Club, and a spa and health club are planned.

Note: The Harbor View has announced plans to sell off up to half of its units as condos (priced from $526,000 to $1.3 million). The rest will remain available to guests.

Open mid-May through late October.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
The Hob Knob
128 Main Street
Edgartown , Massachusetts
02539
Tel: 800 696 2723 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 627 9510
Fax: 508 627 4560
www.hobknob.com

A few blocks north of downtown Edgartown, this friendly 19th-century Gothic Revival–style B&B has plenty of antiques and chintz like the nearby Charlotte Inn, but is airier and slightly less expensive (befitting its less central location). The 17 individually decorated rooms, freshened up during a recent renovation, have charming details: painted four-posters, dormered windows, skylights, small sitting areas, antique silver hairbrushes laid out on side tables, and a cow motif that reminds owner Maggie White of the ones she keeps on her West Tisbury farm. Adding to the homey tone are the chocolate-chip pecan-cinnamon cookies at afternoon tea, berry pancakes for breakfast, box lunches for the beach, and Maggie's Labradors, which will cheer you up if you've left your own pooch at home. But there's no lack of mod cons: AC, cable, Wi-Fi, a sauna and spa treatments, an exercise room, a 27-foot Boston whaler available for charter, as well as that Edgartown godsend—a dedicated off-street parking lot. The Hob Knob also rents out two nearby homes—a four-bedroom renovated schoolhouse and a five-bedroom house with a private pool—with daily housekeeping, concierge service, and access to the Hob Knob spa.

$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.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Jared Coffin House
29 Broad Street
Nantucket , Massachusetts
02554
Tel: 800 248 2405 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 228 2400
Fax: 508 228 8549
www.jaredcoffinhouse.com

Built by a wealthy ship owner in 1845, this elegant property in the middle of town is an island icon and one of the few Nantucket hotels open year-round. The main house (a mansion, really) is a good example of the island's Federal-style architecture, and the main floor still looks and feels as if a 19th-century sea captain lives upstairs. There are 43 units in the main house and 13—the only ones with air-conditioning—in the adjacent Daniel Webster House. Room sizes and rates range widely; a few singles go for $155 a night, a steal during high season (although they really are singles—even svelte couples will find them cramped). Avoid front-facing rooms, which are subject to street noise. The place feels slightly grandmotherly, with a mix of antique and reproduction furniture, and worn flowery fabrics. At Harbor Wok, the island's only Chinese restaurant, General Gau meets Captain Coffin. But if you didn't come to Nantucket for the crispy spicy beef, or even lobster Cantonese, take advantage of the 15 percent discount at the White Elephant's Brant Point Grill (breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch only). The bar, the Tap Room, remains closed.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Josiah Sampson House
40 Old Kings Road
Cotuit , Massachusetts
02635
Tel: 508 428 8383
stay@josiahsampson.com
www.josiahsampson.com

Built by a wealthy importer in 1793, this secluded Upper Cape mansion on the National Register of Historic Places is a hip combination of old (broad-board wooden floors that slope noticeably, a fireplace in each bedroom) and new (modern art on the walls, solar panels on the roof). Most of the six guest rooms have girlie lace canopies and antique furniture; radios, but no TVs; and relatively small bathrooms that the owners are gradually renovating. Book the Sampson Room for a view of the garden and a big bathroom that includes a full tub. Breakfast (blueberry waffles, smoked salmon omelets) is served on a deck overlooking the garden; a guest pantry is stocked with coffee and tea, and there is port and sherry in the living room, which also has a working player piano. Outside, there's a hot tub—unusual for a Cape B&B—and a gazebo hung with paper lanterns. Guests can also use the private tennis club next door for a fee ($8 for 90 minutes), or borrow a bike and ride to one of the several beaches nearby (the closest is a mile away). But the highlight here is the peace and quiet—and rates lower than most comparable inns.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Lambert's Cove Inn and Restaurant
90 Manaquayak Road
West Tisbury , Massachusetts
02568
Tel: 508 693 2298
inquiries@lambertscoveinn.com
www.lambertscoveinn.com

This 1820 farmhouse almost a mile from the ocean has become an unexpected star among Vineyard inns in the few years since it was taken over by former Atlanta event planners Scott Jones and I. Kell Hicklin. It's one of the most romantic places to stay (and eat) on Martha's Vineyard, which makes it a popular spot for weddings. (Note that families with children under 13 are discouraged.) Fifteen rooms, accessorized with antiques, ceramic pots, and gold-framed prints, are spread out among the main house, carriage house, and guesthouse. Each evokes a different country aesthetic: Seaside, the original master bedroom, has a refined white and ivy four-poster bed with a canopy, and wingback chairs; the playful greenish-blue St. Simons has plaid and floral fabrics and a light-filled sitting room that was once a greenhouse; Chesapeake has striking sunshine-yellow walls set off by black and white toile fabrics. Public rooms have a clubbier English country look, with lots of brick red, hunter green, and gold in the library, dining room, and sitting room. There's a kidney-shaped pool out back, but guests get a pass to private Lambert's Cove beach. The BYOB restaurant lures nonguests down the long country road for New American dishes such as grilled shrimp with arugula pesto and pan-roasted duck breast in a citrus ginger reduction. Breakfast is included for guests.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Land's End Inn
22 Commercial Street
Provincetown , Massachusetts
02657
Tel: 800 276 7088 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 487 0706
info@landsendinn.com
www.landsendinn.com

One of the Cape's most idiosyncratic hotels and a true hidden gem, the Land's End Inn is a cacophony of stained glass, fringed lampshades, original artwork, hand-carved wooden moldings, ornate wallpaper, and overstuffed antique furniture. The hotel dates to 1904, but the unique look—more reminiscent of a game lodge than a New England B&B—is the contribution of the newest owner, who bought the place in 2002. The mixed straight and gay crowd that gathers on the veranda for breakfast (included in the room rate) is as interesting as the building. P-town's buzzy downtown is a ten-minute walk away, but the hotel's well-manicured grounds and secluded beach are peaceful and uncrowded. No two of the 17 rooms are alike; we particularly like the octagonal Bay Tower Room for its domed ceiling and wraparound windows overlooking the water—the hotel's location on Gull Hill in Provincetown's West End affords some of the grandest views you'll find on the Cape.

$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

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Mansion House
9 Main Street
Vineyard Haven , Massachusetts
02568
Tel: 800 332 4112 (toll-free)
Fax: 508 693 4095
www.mvmansionhouse.com

Rebuilt and reopened after a fire in 2001 leveled it, the Mansion House is again the anchor of the Vineyard Haven business district. The archival photos hanging in the hallways were used as guides for its current Victorian-style appearance, and the guest rooms' authentic period decorations—old-fashioned furniture and fabric patterns—illustrate the care taken with this restoration. The 40 rooms are island-small—although rates are comparatively low for the Vineyard—and many have small private balconies, wet bars, flat-screen TVs, gas fireplaces, and original works by Martha's Vineyard artists. Ask for a fourth-floor suite on the harbor side for the best views. The hotel's best feature is its Cupola Deck, a spacious outdoor terrace at the top of the hotel with unmatched harbor views to the north, and clapboard houses surrounded by white picket fences and the church steeples of town to the south and west. Suited for wellness seekers, Mansion House has a two-level gym and an indoor pool (rare for the Vineyard); the Moshup's Mud wrap at the full-service spa uses clay from the native Gay Head Wampanoag tribe mixed with wildflower honey from Edgartown's Katama Farm; and the casual restaurant, Zephrus, serves healthy preparations of food that's been locally caught, raised, or grown.

$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

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Surf Side Cottages
Ocean View Drive
South Wellfleet , Massachusetts
02663
Tel: 508 349 3959
stay@surfsidecottages.com
www.surfsidevacation.com

Located in the Cape Cod National Seashore, this quiet neighborhood with scrub pines and sandy streets is a throwback to family vacations past. The 23 cottages on and near the ocean have full kitchens, barbecue grills, screened porches, and outdoor showers. The decor is '60s retro, the only air conditioning is the ocean breeze, and while there are no TVs, there's a drive-in movie theater in nearby Wellfleet. The residents-only LeCount Hollow Beach is just over the sand dunes; if you rent a cottage here, you're considered a resident. Provincetown is a 20-minute drive away. Since there's no housekeeping service, come with your own linens (or rent them for an additional $15), and remember to clean up for the next guests. There's a one-week minimum in the summer.

Closed November through March.

$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.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Thorncroft Inn
460 Main Street
Vineyard Haven , Massachusetts
02568
Tel: 800 332 1236 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 693 3333
innkeeper@thorncroft.com
www.thorncroft.com

Set on two and a half wooded acres, this romantic retreat is great for couples. (Children aren't forbidden, but they're discouraged; and there's a strict double-occupancy rule, so if you are bringing the kiddies, be prepared to rent an additional room.) This place is decidedly not for fans of contemporary furnishings: It's antiques all the way—sometimes to the point of mustiness. And while the inn now has Wi-Fi, which is, at least, a nod to the 21st century, a slight overall refreshing would be a good idea. Three buildings house 14 large rooms with four-poster beds, wood-burning fireplaces, whirlpools, and balconies; room 1 has a hot tub on a private screened porch and several have a private entrance. The main 1908 classic Craftsman-style bungalow once housed guests of the estate's owner, John Herbert Ware, a Chicago grain merchant. Carriage-house rooms are more secluded, but for absolute solitude, ask for the private cottage with its own deck and garage. Fuel up with hearty egg and cheese strata or cheddar French toast in the two dining rooms, or continental breakfast in bed (just don't expect a mimosa, as Vineyard Haven is a dry town).

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Union Street Inn
7 Union Street
Nantucket , Massachusetts
02554
Tel: 800 225 5116 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 228 9222
info@unioninn.com
www.unioninn.com

This mint 1770 house in central Nantucket Town has more style than most—not a surprise, given the pedigrees of proprietors Ken (ex-general manager of the Royalton in New York City) and Deborah (a display manager at Henri Bendel) Withrow. They've decorated the 12 rooms in impeccable New England-by-way-of-France style—Pierre Deux wallpaper, Frette linens, high-poster beds, polished original wide-plank floorboards, Matouk robes, and a few non-fusty antiques. All were renovated and redecorated in 2000; six have working wood-burning fireplaces. Guests often return year after year, partly because the day starts with breakfast on the patio (try the challah-bread French toast with fresh berries), the staff sets out just-baked cookies every afternoon, and the concierge is able to score hard-to-get dinner reservations.

Open late March through mid-November.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Vanessa Noel Hotel and Vanessa Noel Hotel Green
5 Chestnut Street
Nantucket , Massachusetts
02554
Tel: 508 228 5300
Fax: 508 228 8995
vnh@vanessanoel.com
www.vanessanoelhotel.com

Vanessa Noel's eight-room boutique hotel looks traditional from the outside—it's set above her chichi women's shoe store in an 1847 gray-shingled building. But it's the antithesis of Nantucket's preppy, old-guard aesthetic. Not only is the decor minimalist in the public spaces and the eight tiny but trendy rooms; it's also luxury-brand fabulous. There are Armani Casa night tables, Philippe Starck fixtures, Bulgari toiletries, and 300-count custom-made Frette linens (the beds have nine—yes, nine—pillows apiece). On the first floor, mod Café V serves three meals a day, and the lobby sports a 1930s Baccarat chandelier (as well as the 1847 building's original pine-plank floors). An eco-friendly sister property, Hotel Green is housed in an adjacent historic building. Here, the nine guest rooms sport furnishings made from recycled cardboard and glass and organic cotton bedding, and hemp towels and Ayurvedic bath products outfit the bathrooms (www.vanessanoelhotelgreen.com).

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Veranda House
3 Step Lane
Nantucket , Massachusetts
02554
Tel: 877 228 0695 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 228 0695
reserve@theverandahouse.com
www.theverandahouse.com

This 17th-century house, now owned by a young couple, has hosted guests since 1881 (members of the Coffin family, one of the first clans to settle the island, stayed here for a reunion). Completely redecorated for the summer 2008 season by Boston interior designer Rachel Reider, the rooms are white on white, accented by handblown Simon Pearce lamps, Frette linens, four-poster feather beds, and Italian tile. The renovation also increased the number of rooms from 16 to 18, including four one-bedroom suites, two of which have private access to those namesake wraparound verandas. (Room 23 has the best harbor view, but if it's booked, ask for room 11 or, for that matter, any room facing the water.) A breakfast room opens onto a patio high above the private yard where wine-and-cheese receptions are held for guests on Wednesday and Saturday evenings; continental breakfast, including Green Mountain coffee and wild Maine blueberry muffins, and daily afternoon tea are also included. Everything here is as charming as you'd expect from a Nantucket hotel, and the friendly staff stands at the ready to make your stay perfect: If you're not into schlepping your gear to the water, the "beach concierge" will arrange for chairs, umbrellas, picnic lunches, and a taxi.

Closed mid-October through mid-May.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Wauwinet
120 Wauwinet Road
Nantucket , Massachusetts
02554
Tel: 800 426 8718 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 228 0145
email@wauwinet.com
www.wauwinet.com

When you want to truly get away from it all, the Wauwinet—on the island's northeast tip, half an island's distance from the bustle of town and surrounded by 26 miles of beaches—is the place to be. For every guest, there are two staffers who pride themselves on remembering your name and keep quite busy bringing extra towels, plopping more ice in G&Ts, planning nature tours to nearby wilderness preserves, and arranging water taxis to a private beach. The 28 rooms and six cottages have a tasteful country look—floral prints, Pratesi linens, lots of wicker and pine. (Room 105 is the biggest, although room 302, with its wall of windows overlooking the bay, is the best; most first-floor rooms have private decks.) As at many Nantucket hotels, some rooms are surprisingly small. Luckily, the center of life here is the rolling main lawn set with comfortable cushioned wicker chaises and the cell phone–free sand beach just beyond. The day starts with breakfast at Topper's restaurant (try the lobster frittata and just-made apricot biscuits); the Spa by the Sea's menu includes locally inspired treatments such as a cranberry-crush body scrub, and a caviar facial.

Open early May through late October.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Wequassett Inn Resort & Golf Club
2173 Orleans Road
Chatham , Massachusetts
02633
Tel: 800 225 7125 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 432 5400
info@wequassett.com
www.wequassettinn.com

Expect white cedar siding, English-style gardens, fire pits with Adirondack chairs and a "very nice private beach." Rooms in soft ocean palettes with custom-designed bedding are "comfortably furnished, and the bathroom is very spacious and well appointed." Twenty-eight Atlantic brings a fresh interpretation to old classics, and is "one of the finest restaurants on the Cape." Libaytion, located under a beachfront pergola near the water, is "a fun spot for drinks or snacks during the day."

(120 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
White Elephant
50 Easton Street
Nantucket , Massachusetts
02554
Tel: 800 445 6574 (toll-free)
Tel: 508 228 2500
Fax: 508 325 1195
www.whiteelephanthotel.com

As with its spiffy sibling the Wauwinet, the air at this 1920s harborside resort (the island's biggest and the best upscale choice in Nantucket Town) is rarified, and so are the prices. The waterfront lawn leads down to private docks, where seasonal renters park their Hinckleys and Herreshoffs and pop ashore for lunch. All 53 rooms, many with working fireplaces and water views (generally of the harbor where the ferries dock), are decked out in red- or blue-checked fabrics and handsome pine furniture. The 11 two-bedroom garden cottages have no views, but compensate with family-friendly touches: two bathrooms apiece, kitchenettes, pull-out sofas, and (in some) washer-dryers. There's also a two-story "loft" a few blocks away in the shopping district, with three bedrooms, four baths, and a full kitchen—concierge, housekeeping, and chef services are available upon request. Hotel guests without such advantages can eat waterside at the renovated Brant Point Grill, which has an expanded outdoor bar and nightly cabaret-style entertainment until 10:15 p.m. (in deference to guests whose rooms are nearby). Another restaurant is scheduled to open in 2009. A spa, opened in 2007, embraces its waterside location with sea facials and seaweed body revitalizations; daily port-and-cheese receptions take place in the comfy library; and if Saturday night on the island leaves you feeling a bit rough, there's a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar at Sunday brunch.

Open late April through early December.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Winnetu Oceanside Resort
31 Dunes Road
Edgartown , Massachusetts
02539
Tel: 508 627 4747
reservations@winnetu.com
www.winnetu.com

On 11 acres bordering South Beach near Katama Bay, the Winnetu caters to families in a way that most of the more stylish inns on the island do not. It also has a pleasantly lazy pace—even the front desk shuts down at 6 pm (8 on Fridays). The 50 suites and studios all have washer-dryers and kitchens—which can be stocked for you in advance—as well as decks or patios facing the ocean. (Ask for an upper floor, as the view is somewhat distant: Due to strict zoning laws, the property is set back about 250 yards from the water.) There's also a private cottage for those seeking more privacy. A 2007 refurbishment introduced a bolder, cleaner look, with lots of blond wood and blue-and-white printed fabrics. The main draw here, though, is the variety of family activities: There's outdoor ping-pong, foosball, a putting green, canoeing and kayaking excursions on Poucha Pond, daily lighthouse and dune trips, tea and cookies every afternoon, and Wednesday-night clambakes. A wellness center, opened in summer 2006, hosts classes, excursions, and spa treatments. A three-mile bike path and ferry shuttle service link the resort to Edgartown. At Lure, the excellent and surprisingly ambitious restaurant, chef Mark Goldberg (formerly of Mistral in Boston) focuses on local, sustainable ingredients, such as Katama Bay oysters, fresh-caught fish, and produce grown just down the road at Edgartown's Farm Institute. The Winnetu is surrounded by the affiliated Matakesett Properties and Tennis Club, a collection of single-family homes and townhouses available for weekly rental—convenient for families with kids, as long as you don't mind the 1970s ski-chalet look.

Open late May through late October.

$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.