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.
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.
XV Beacon Hotel
15 Beacon St, Beacon Hill
When a hotel is as beautiful as the XV Beacon and the history is as storied and the restaurant is as wonderful, you wouldn’t predict that the real reason to stay here is none of the above. If there is one thing that puts this hotel a few clicks ahead of the others it’s the staff in general and the concierges in particular. This is a team that is thoughtful and competent and—a word not often associated with concierges—kind. Ask them for help with anything and they will deliver—and then they’ll go about three steps beyond. The XV Beacon’s other stock in trade is the building. A stunning, Beaux-Arts mansion originally owned by a well-to-do merchant, the building dates back to the 18th century and has also played home to the Boston Transit Commission and School Committee during its life. Since 1999, the XV Beacon has been working as a 63-room boutique hotel that puts a premium on cozy with fireplaces and soft cashmere throws and Frette sheets in the guestrooms. For those traveling with a pack, you’re in good hands: pets are welcome, kids are greeted with cookies…
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