16 Blantyre Rd., Lenox
Originally built in 1901, Blantyre was modeled after the owner’s family’s ancestral Scottish castle, complete with ivy-covered turrets, towers, and gargoyles. It didn’t become a hotel until 1981, when the house was restored by Ann Fitzpatrick Brown—and reinstated as a tribute to the Gilded Age. The décor here is fittingly lush, i.e. exactly what you’d expect to find in an English country manor. You’re supposed to spend your days relaxing in overstuffed armchairs by the fire, before descending to the dining room for canapés and champagne, and then a long, formal dinner (the dining room calls for jackets for gentlemen, and something a bit dressy for ladies). While high season here is spring-through-fall (in fact, the hotel was only winterized in 2005), if you come during the colder months, you’ll find a quieter stay—plus, they provide equipment for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice-skating. The Edith Wharton House, an estate the writer built, then lived and wrote in for many years, is just a mile away and open daily for visits. If you’re willing to go two miles, you’ll find The Shakespeare & Company playhouse, which hosts evening performances on…
Boston Harbor Hotel
70 Rowes Wharf, Downtown Crossing
Right on the water in scenic Rowes Wharf, this hotel manages to give a subtle nod to Boston’s colonial past by way of décor—heavy, dark wood, a billowing American flag in the lobby, and windows overlooking the harbor in practically every room. Guest rooms are traditional and comfortable, with blue accents underscoring the hotel’s proximity to the sea. Even the rooms that don’t overlook the harbor have a great view (of the city skyline), and the deep tubs are a welcome relief after long days of historical sightseeing. Summer is the season to visit, as the location is right by the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a lush green space with flower gardens and water fixtures perfect for an early beat-the-summer-heat run, and the hotel hosts live music and movie screenings on its deck. Conveniently, guests have the option to avoid the traffic and take a scenic water taxi to the hotel’s marina from Logan airport.
Canyon Ranch Lenox
165 Kemble St., Lenox
Though a weekend at Canyon Ranch is arguably about exercising restraint, there’s nothing spare about this wellness retreat, which is situated in a gorgeous, fully-restored 19th-century manor nestled in the Berkshires. The understated rooms here are designed to be relaxing, and to that end, there’s not much to distract you from your weekend of centering and healthy living. That’s no problem, though, since you won’t be spending much time in them: Days at Canyon Ranch revolve around the spa, working out, and a wealth of activities, including cross-country skiing. There are about 50 classes on the roster, along with myriad pools, a full gym, and assorted extras like a ropes course and squash courts. When you’re not working out, you might be taking a cooking class or learning how to diagnose your dreams. The food is healthy, but it’s also delicious—and all-you-can-eat.
Chatham Bars Inn
297 Shore Rd., Chatham
This oceanside resort, complete with tennis courts, spa, and a fleet of charter boats, has been around for over a century and luckily, the main house has retained its understated glamour even after several updates. Whether you’re staying in the original main house or the newer stand-alone cottages or spa suites, the vibes are distinctly Cape Cod, with huge paned windows (a good chunk of the rooms have ocean views), plush beds, and shades of blue. The property is operational year-round and the deserted beach (the hotels sits on a private stretch) and ample roaring fireplaces make it an unforgettable stay off-season.
370 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, Back Bay
The Elliot is a hotel that feels like a luxurious bed and breakfast—it’s cozy, small, and full of the considered details and homey décor choices. The beds are piled high with soft sheets, down pillows, and brocade comforters. In what feels very Belle Epoque, the drapes, bed skirts, and decorative pillowcases all share the same pattern, the lighting is soft, and the coffee tables are piled high with art books. The hotel's restaurant, Uni—run by James Beard Award winner Ken Oringer—specializes in sushi, favoring fish from both the New England waters and Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market (the largest and, arguably, best fish market in the world). There’s no gym, but you can run along the nearby river or take advantage of the complimentary passes to the Boston Sports club.
Four Seasons Hotel Boston
200 Boylston St, Back Bay
The recently renovated Four Seasons in Boston’s Back Bay has made comfortable bedding into an art form (they designed their own mattresses, for starters). Silky-smooth Frette sheets and double-glazed, practically soundproof windows contribute to transforming the beautifully outfitted guest rooms into sleep sanctuaries. A stroll around the Boston Public Garden’s lake is a gorgeous way to start the day (the hotel's bright, twenty-four-hour gym is another) before hitting the sights, most of which are walkable. The hotel's restaurant, the Bristol, excels at traditional New England eats served in an elegant, wood-paneled dining room. Tuck into the king crab tortellini—it’s every bit as good as it sounds.
Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel
90 Tremont St, Theatre District
Since opening nearly two decades ago, Hotel Nine Zero has been a destination for travelers looking for an understated, elegant stay in a central location. The accommodations have always been top-notch—excellent service, city-wide views—but its recent overhaul has upped its appeal. The newly renovated rooms read more like a cozy study in a historic house: Each space is outfitted with classic-meets-industrial American décor, including authentic Eames lounge chairs, tufted leather headboards, brass lighting, and Beat literature art. Bikes are available to rent, which is a gem given the Common is across the street. There's a restaurant in-house, but with the hotel's proximity to some of the best in the city, it's best to venture out to nearby Newbury Street or Beacon Hill to dine.
One Seaport Ln., Seaport District
An excellent harbor hotel, the Seaport checks a lot of the amenity boxes (including great views), and it also has a cool sustainability mission. Guest rooms are light-filled and contemporary with bright comforters and armchairs from which you can take in the views from the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows. The in-room coffee makers and sumptuously comfortable bathrobes make breakfast in bed tempting. It's a pleasure to take advantage of the complimentary bikes and pedal around the city. An added bonus is the Seaport's pet-friendly stance, should you be traveling with your fur babies in tow.
The Liberty Hotel
215 Charles St., Beacon Hill
Originally built as a jail in 1851, the Liberty Hotel is one of Boston’s architectural landmarks, thanks to the fact that the dramatic space was reimagined by a team of designers and architects who collaborated closely with both historians and conservationists.
10 Avery St., Downtown Crossing
When you check in, you can choose rooms looking out on the cityscape or on the historic and verdant Boston Common. Go with the latter. If you go in the fall, you’ll wake up to sweeping views of the changing leaves in America’s oldest public park. It’s pretty unbeatable. The hotel is attached to an Equinox gym, and guests are welcome to use the facilities as well as the spa (where therapists are particularly good at sports massages). Aside from the sumptuously comfortable interiors and amenities, the real draw here is the hotel’s walkability factor. You’re only a few steps away from the boutiques of Newbury Street and the charming cobblestoned roads of Beacon Hill, home to many of the city's best restaurants. If you’re traveling with littles in tow, the toy-laden red wagon in the lobby means you don’t have to bring half the playroom on your trip, and Boston Common makes a great playground.
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