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Bulfinch Hotel, Boston 

107 Merrimac Street
Boston , Massachusetts
Tel: 617 624 0202
view web site ›'s insider take:

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.

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