Boston‘s backstory is a riveting tale of Puritans fleeing England and persecution, of European influences and American democracy. Check in and drift back in time at one of these magnificent historic establishments around the city, from the Back Bay neighbourhood to Cambridge.
With uniformed doormen and a sumptuous marble lobby, this neo-French-Empire beauty radiates historic sophistication – with a prestigious Back Bay location to boot. It has had crowds clamoring to stay ever since it opened in 1925. There are 95 guest rooms and suites, affording iconic city views, including the State Capitol dome. Settle into your elegant space, resplendent in Italian marble and toile fabrics.
A landmark of the Back Bay neighborhood, Boston’s Fairmont inhabits a magnificent Beaux-Arts building that has dominated Copley Square since 1912. Behind the French and Venetian Renaissance-styled facade, the 383 rooms and suites are surprisingly modern, with clean, sleek lines, crisp white fabrics and attractive blue tones. You can stream from your phone and tablet to your room’s TV, but don’t miss the stunning neighborhood, well worth a wander.
Stay where Cambridge meets Boston – this is a sweet, historic boutique hotel rich in period charm. It occupies what was once the Fire Department’s Engine 7 Station in Cambridge – hence the property’s late 19th-century red-brick good looks. The 74 guest rooms and four suites flaunt jazzy blue-and-white patterned bedspreads – a very stylish touch. For long stays, the Luxury Suite has a complete kitchen. Settle in and switch off, with a nice bottle of Napa Valley red.
In a Victorian brownstone mansion on Commonwealth Avenue is the College Club of Boston. Inside, along with tea rooms and parlors, you will find the Club’s Bed and Breakfast. With fireplaces and rugs on elegant bare floorboards, the 11 rooms were designed by different decorators: no two are the same. Each is named after a college attended by members: Smith, Wellesley, Radcliffe, Oberlin and so on. Bathrooms are shared – one on each of the three floors.
At the corner of Exeter and Boylston Streets is this 19th-century bastion of Back Bay. With the Lenox as your address, you’re mere steps away from Copley Square, the Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Because it was built in 1900, rooms do err slightly on the small side, but you have to love a place that welcomes you with wood-burning fireplaces and vintage crystal chandeliers. And that extravagant exterior cornicing is just made for Instagram posts.
Dating from 1855, the Omni Parker House has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating hotel in America. Parker House rolls were created here, as was the Boston cream pie. Do not leave Boston without tasting a slice of this decadent yellow cake, layered with vanilla pudding and covered with dark Swiss chocolate. Guest rooms are chi-chi and well carpeted, with good lighting, high beds and soft couches, but don’t check in expecting oodles of space.
Bring the kids to this family-oriented hotel, with its splendid neck-craning facade, created inside Boston’s historic Custom House Tower from circa 1837. The suites come with one king bedroom, sofa beds and kitchenettes. The 20th floor is given over to family fun, with games rooms, children’s activity centers and a movie theater. For stunning views, head to the 26th-floor observation deck, step out and peer down through the railings.
Before you check in, gaze up and admire this grande dame: you’re staying in a 1920s limestone building that once served as the headquarters of the Boston Police Department. It’s a decidedly elegant boutique hotel of larger-than-standard rooms and suites, with living rooms and kitchenettes. And it enjoys a prime location in the Back Bay, with easy access to Copley Square, the upscale shops on Newbury Street, the Public Garden and Boston Common.