BOSTON HARBOR HOTEL
70 Rowes Wharf
Telephone: (617) 439-7000
Location, location, location. The name says it all: This hotel is waterside, and the 230 rooms have views of either the harbor or the city across the new greenway. Before the Big Dig, an elevated highway separated this part of the waterfront from the city, making Boston Harbor somewhat lonely. Today, the area feels like a neighborhood, with mixed-use buildings going up and the aquarium and its IMAX theater a block or so away.
Rooms are decently sized, and the decor conservative. Service is warm and personal for a place of this magnitude—you only realize how big it is from a distance. There are several dining venues, including Meritage, and a terrace by the water.
370 Commonwealth Ave.
Telephone: (617) 267-1607
The Eliot may be located on a busy corner of Commonwealth Avenue, but you'll forget that once you step inside. The lobby is small and elegant, with an insider-y feel. (A recent visit found a regular and his dog being greeted fondly by name upon arrival.) The building was completed in 1925 as a long-term hotel for overflow from the Harvard Club next door, whose design is imitated here. The Eliot is fully independent, however, and has been family-owned since 1939.
Rooms are on the small side but are well-proportioned, with comfortable, if conservative, decor in many of them; others are somewhat more modern. Guests requiring additional space can request adjoining rooms.
XV BEACON HOTEL
15 Beacon St.
Telephone: (617) 670-1500
No other boutique hotel in Boston matches the comfortable luxury of XV Beacon. The decor in the intimate lobby, like that of the guest rooms, melds a clubby, paneled look with clean modern touches. Accommodations are large and well-appointed, with flourishes such as cashmere blankets with the logo woven into them. Gas fireplaces, sizable whirlpool baths and flat-screen televisions are standard, as are minibars stocked with the likes of Château d'Yquem and Opus One. Some of the corner rooms have views of Boston Common, a block or so up Beacon, as well as of the city beyond.
215 Charles St.
Telephone: (617) 224-4000
The Liberty is likely the most unconventional hotel in town. Situated between Mass General and the Charles River, it occupies a striking building originally built as a prison, which functioned from the mid-19th century until 1990. But the space does not feel confining at all. The lobby, for example, is an enormous atrium approaching 100 feet high, with tall windows, catwalks on each floor and scattered bars.
Off the lobby are a restaurant called Clink and a bar called Alibi. Both are set in former cell blocks, with barred doors as design accents. But despite these details, the prison theme is not overdone or kitschy. Rooms are spacious and modern, many with views across the river to Cambridge, some through enormous, decorative round windows.
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