Twenty-first-century hotel designers have had a field day converting some of Boston’s most regal old buildings into hip new hotels that feel straight out of an architecture magazine. Boston’s boutique hotels run the gamut on price and luxury, but all pay tribute to the city’s unique history and personality.
The Revolution Hotel
The Revolution Hotel sits in the vibrant South End neighborhood | Courtesy of The Revolution Hotel / Hotels.com
Hip hotel developers the Provenance Group opened The Revolution Hotel, its first East Coast hotel, in Boston’s South End in late 2018. The hotel converted a 20th-century YWCA building into a boutique tribute to Boston. Nearly all of the decor is in some way linked to the history of the region, with a focus on things invented in Massachusetts: basketball, chocolate-chip cookies and The Cat in the Hat. The rooms are compact for best economical use, with the choice of a small personal bathroom or a larger shared bathroom down the hall. The Revolution is partnering with the nearby Beehive to open a tapas-style restaurant in the courtyard in late 2019.
The Verb has taken a defunct Howard Johnson motel and given it the hipster treatment. This rock’n’roll-themed hotel has turntables in each of its 93 guest rooms and is packed with homages to some of the city’s greatest bands and music venues. There’s also a Japanese bistro in the lobby and an Instagrammable retro bus parked out front. Located right outside Fenway Park and with a heated outdoor pool, The Verb is the perfect place to stay during the summer.
At the geographical center of Downtown Boston, the elegantly cool XV Beacon is within walking distance of most neighborhoods and attractions in the city. But while the hotel’s location is one of the best features, the interior itself is worth a visit. The original building details (including antique cage elevators) are mixed with modern style, so visitors can experience Boston’s history with the comfort of a boutique. The guests-only roof deck has lounge seating and a hot tub.
Hyatt took extra care to position this boutique hotel steps from Boston’s best sights. The lodgings are situated directly across the street from the Old State House, the Freedom Trail and, yes, Faneuil Hall (as the name of the hotel suggests), with the Commons, the Greenway, and the harbor all within walking distance. The hotel edifice itself is half preserved old-Boston architecture and half renovated modern structure, so you get to experience the historic side of the city without sacrificing any luxury. Get acquainted with Beantown by studying the various Boston phrases and images that adorn the walls of each room. Head to the homey Bar Mercado, located on the main floor, for a range of exquisite dishes.
On the road into Harvard Square, you’ll be hard-pressed to miss a large Victorian building painted a matte gray. On first glance, it looks as if it could be an apartment building, and indeed Hotel Veritas does have a homey feel as far as boutique hotels go. Its location is hard to beat for those looking for a collegial getaway. Put on your tweed blazer, treat yourself to a new book at the incredible independent Harvard Book Store (not to be confused with Harvard University’s student bookstore) or take a stroll around one of Harvard’s underappreciated museums. You’ll become smarter by osmosis. Top it off with some of the city’s best sushi across the street at Cafe Sushi.
Set inside a beautiful 200-year-old red-brick building reminiscent of New York’s Flatiron Building, The Boxer is a gateway to some of Boston’s quaintest neighborhoods. From here, visitors can easily walk to the historically Italian North End, the cobblestones and brownstones of Beacon Hill or over a short footbridge to Charlestown (giving you time to brush up on your bad Ben Affleck Boston accent). This hotel is a great place to stay if you want to see the city on foot or by bike; you can borrow a bike from reception.
The Downtown Crossing neighborhood, as its name implies, is the busy gateway to the city’s business district. The Godfrey Hotel, with its minimalist style, is a soothing counterpoint to the rush-hour blitz. Decked out in white and punctuated by colorful furniture pieces, the hotel is reminiscent of a modern-art gallery. Sip your morning coffee in the lobby’s George Howell café before venturing to the nearby Boston Common and the Public Gardens, Chinatown and the Theater District.
Right at the edge of Boston’s rapidly developing Seaport District, The Envoy has a hip party vibe and is popular with the after-work crowd. This is partly thanks to its rooftop bar, with amazing views of the city skyline and harbor, and walkability from downtown. Even if you’re not staying here, The Envoy is a good spot to have a drink and take in the city.
The Nine Zero, from boutique hotel brand Kimpton, takes a throwback approach to this centrally located boutique spot. The furniture and vibe are straight mid-century. Downstairs, the speakeasy-style Better Sorts Social Club offers an array of cocktails. An easy jaunt to Boston’s main attractions, the Nine Zero allows you to see and do just about anything in Boston.
The boom of recent years has seen investment pour into parts of Boston that were formerly off the tourist track. Previously divey college areas Allston and Brighton are no exception. With the arrival of the Boston Landing development, including a commuter rail station, Allston/Brighton became connected better than ever before. So, up sprang Studio Allston: a funky, colorful boutique hotel opened in a former Days Inn. Clearly targeting millennial travelers, this self-proclaimed “counterpoint to colonial Boston” offers street art, board games in the common areas and Casa Caña, a New Latin restaurant and rum bar. Though some may prefer to order a Lyft to get into the heart of Boston, guests could also do an easy stroll the other way past the Harvard Stadium and over the picturesque bridge to the famous university. Here, the river tends to be quieter and more serene, and nearby Mount Auburn is one of the most gorgeous and forested cemeteries in the region. Climb Washington Tower for amazing views.
What started as a sparkling expanse of outlet shopping just outside Boston’s city limits, Somerville’s Assembly Row is forming into a neighborhood in its own right. Alongside a series of luxury apartments that have already moved in, The Row is the first hotel to grace the area. Sleek, modern and part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the lodgings have all of the amenities you’d expect from the hotel behemoth. A quick car-service ride to Union Square and you’ll be able to check out some of the area’s coolest shops, restaurants and breweries. With a dedicated subway stop at Assembly, Boston proper is just minutes away.
From the outside, Revere Hotel doesn’t look like a design-forward boutique. With its large concrete facade next to a big parking lot, the hotel would be easy to miss entirely if it weren’t for its large marquee. But step inside and you’ll find a sparkling new, industrial-chic lobby. Behind the reception, a large bar and sitting area is adorned with artwork paying homage to its namesake Paul Revere and other historical figures from the area. On the roof, a bar and comfy chairs set up around a firepit are all you need to relax after a day of taking in the sights. The location of the hotel is excellent. Just a block off Boston Common, it’s nestled right between Boston’s Theater District and the South End and Back Bay neighborhoods.