While they may be less flashy than the big city hotels, there are some charming mansions and bed and breakfasts in Boston offering quintessential New England hospitality by the Charles River, great for exploring highlights of the city such as Newbury Street and Fenway Park. From a former student house at Harvard to a pair of houseboats moored at Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston Harbor, check out the best bed and breakfasts in the Massachusetts capital of Boston.
This one-time family home was converted into accommodation for Harvard students in the 1920s. New owners came in and found the youngsters a bit rowdy, booting them out and converting the premises into the friendly hotel it is today. With an old-timey feel, Irving House at Harvard is the type of place where guests mingle in the parlor poring over the free newspapers. That said, there’s a thoroughly modern approach to energy, with LED lighting, solar panels and a focus on recycling and composting. You get fresh fruit, scones, cakes and pastries for breakfast.
Embrace tradition with a stay in The Gryphon House, an old-school B&B inside a turn-of-the-century brownstone. The eight suites are individually furnished, but each comes with a gas log fireplace and a wet bar. Families should opt for the largest room, the North Tower, which has views of the Charles River and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus. Start your day with the continental breakfast, before exploring the surrounding Back Bay neighbourhood. There you’ll find designer boutiques, art galleries and cute patio cafes along leafy streets, not far from early 19th-century landmarks like Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library.
The College Club of Boston, located in the heart of the Back Bay neighbourhood in a historic brownstone, is as elegant and sophisticated a hotel as you’ll find in the city. The Club boasts 11 guest rooms, all designed and styled after women’s colleges and local universities, including Boston University, Simmons College and Connecticut College. Located right on Commonwealth Ave, the College Club is within walking distance of Boston Common, Copley Square, Beacon Hill and numerous historic stops in the center of the city. The building still hosts the longstanding College Club of Boston, the first women’s college club in the US, though doors are open to both members and non-members.
You’re assured of an elegant and intimate stay at 14 Union Park in one of Boston’s most popular neighbourhoods, South End. The brownstone townhouse has been extensively updated to provide private bathrooms and modern comforts while retaining its historical detail. If the trendy, nearby restaurants aren’t enticing enough, foodie paradise Back Bay is just a short walk away.
Built as a wedding gift for the daughter of a wealthy Boston tobacco merchant, this 14-room mansion retains the decor and architectural details from when it was built in 1907, including an elegant staircase. You’re about two miles from the center of Boston, easily accessible via the T subway, and just minutes from Coolidge Corner, a pedestrian friendly neighbourhood full of independent cafes, shops, boutiques and restaurants. The larger Samuel Sewall Inn, Bertram Inn’s sister accommodation, is just across the street.
The Green Turtle takes up two houseboats right in Charlestown Navy Yard, with views across Boston Harbor. You can stay in a modern houseboat with two queen suites or a 45ft (14m) motor yacht that holds two queen staterooms. Combined, both boats can accommodate up to 10 people. While the B&B won’t leave the dock during your stay, you’ll be close to Boston’s North End, home to numerous Italian shops and restaurants, or you can always take a water taxi to a harborside joint.
Across the Charles River in Cambridge, Prospect Place is a historic, graceful bed and breakfast within walking distance of two of the the most elite colleges in the US, MIT and Harvard. Each guest room is unique in size and layout, decorated with tasteful antiques that represent the home’s Civil War-era history. The shops and restaurants of Central Square and Harvard Square are nearby and numerous museums and attractions are easily reachable on public transport thanks to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Sam Murray contributed additional reporting to this article.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.