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Charles Hotel, Cambridge 

1 Bennett Street
Cambridge , Massachusetts
Tel: 617 864 1200
view web site ›'s insider take:

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.

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