Oyster Hotel Reviews is proud to reveal the newest city to join its portfolio: Boston. Home of clam chowder, baked beans, Revolutionary War history, and extremely obnoxious sports fans. (Kidding, kidding). To make planning your next trip to Beantown a little easier, our team of reporters slept in the beds, ate in the restaurants, and tested the service at 48 of the city’s top hotels, all with an eye toward identifying the most distinguished properties. Below the jump, we’ve broken down our favorites by category.
Best Luxury Hotel
Amazing service, a park-front location, a great health club with a beautiful pool, an iconic restaurant, and 273 luxurious and spacious rooms combine to make this the top luxury property in Boston. If there’s a flaw here, it’s the guestroom bathrooms, which aren’t as amazing as those at, say, the Mandarin — but they’re slated for upgrades in 2010. Meanwhile, the service is the best in the city, with a staff that pays attention to every detail and isn’t just responsive but proactively helpful. (One small but characteristic example: We were handed a bottle of water as we stepped off the treadmill and then informed that robes and slippers are available in the locker room.) And there is no more perfect location in Boston than this one overlooking the city’s beautiful and iconic Public Garden.
Best Value Hotel
Located less than two blocks from the Boston Common in tony Back Bay, the Radisson is a great deal: large, comfortable, well-priced rooms, all with balconies, plus free in-room Internet and a pool. The hotel’s not fancy and the small lobby is dated, but that’s easy to overlook when your dollar goes this far.
Most Romantic Hotel
This luxury boutique surrounded by hidden gardens, antique shops, and the gorgeous brick Federal-style homes of Beacon Hill, is the perfect choice for couples looking to heat things up on a cold New England night. Every spacious but cozy room has a gas fireplace. And the phenomenal, highly personalized service includes an evening turndown that transforms the rooms into soothing relaxation dens — dim lights, a crackling fire, and soft classical music.
Best Kid-Friendly Hotel
Hotel: Marriott’s Boston Custom House: A Marriott Vacation Club Resort
Location: Downtown and Waterfront, Boston
It’s housed in a historic 1847 building, but like most Marriott Vacation Club properties, all of the guest rooms are huge one-bedroom suites with kitchenettes and pullout couches. The location is another plus: The New England Aquarium, whale-watching boats, an IMAX theater, and over a hundred shops at Faneuil Hall are just across the street. And the in-house features and services include an arcade, staff-led historic walking tours or T-shirt-making workshops, free access to the pool at Marriott Long Wharf across the street, free laundry machines (and detergent!), and freshly baked cookies in the lobby. Cribs and rollaway beds are both free.
Best Boutique Hotel
Housed in a 1903 Beaux Arts building just down the street from Boston Common in the gorgeous, residential Beacon Hill neighborhood, the 60-room, 10-story XV Beacon (or, Fifteen Beacon) combines traditional elegance and period details like antique cage elevators with thoughtfully designed modern conveniences like a bedside panel to control the fireplace. But its the exquisite service — including personalized business cards and homemade desserts waiting in the room upon arrival — that puts it at the top of our list.