Today’s 4-star hotels are sort of an enigma: They may offer free bottles of water and chocolates on your pillow, but breakfast is often only tea or coffee, and business centers are rarely free. Sometimes you pay for wifi, and sometimes you don’t—if you’re a frequent-enough guest.
I came into my week of Boston hotel stays expecting at least a bagel and some coffee, though the style and feel of each hotel—and how I felt at the end of each stay—remain with me.
Note that all of the profiled hotels have free wifi with your visit, and all had strong signals; the Revere limited to only a couple devices, which severely deplete the tech geek in me, but I’m guessing this can be fixed with a call to the front desk.
First up is Kimpton’s Nine Zero, in the theatre district and steps from Boston Common. Its modern, trendy lobby and lounge area impresses, and is compact compared with the others, but niceties like free bicycles to borrow and a wine happy hour sweeten it. The rooms are light and airy with C.O. Bigelow products and quirky bathroom fixtures (the shower is a bit complex at first glance).
The business center is not terribly conducive to work: I ended up pushing aside a desktop computer (pay for use) to make a usable desk space, and everything else was just grouped easy chairs or rentable conference rooms. I do give props for being social media savvy, though the rentable selfie sticks, while cute, are also annoying as hell.
The Revere Boston Common
Next up is the Revere—which I assumed was going to be colonial, dated and not my cup of tea. Blame the nostalgic name.
As part of the Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, I couldn’t find a rewards program to pair with the Revere, so I’m calling it another boutique hotel.
Happily, the airy lobby with its larger-than-life sculptures is quite different than your usual hotel lobby and a welcome surprise. You can find great views at the Revere and spacious, comfortable rooms, with Skoah bath products. Their pillow menu cracked me up, but one of these days I’ll have to find out how the snore pillow works. Not for me, you understand.
Its Rustic Kitchen Bistro and Bar (and home to local TV program, “The Cooking Show”) has tasty fare, if not rather pricey: An Arnold Palmer—which is only iced tea and lemonade—cost over $5 in the Emerald nightclub upstairs and $2.50 in the Rustic Kitchen. If you do plan to eat at Rustic Kitchen, make a reservation: It was packed every evening I visited, including the bars.
The Lenox is ideally situated in the Back Bay and truly surprised me. Its sumptuous fireplace and lounge is softly lit and comfy, and only surpassed by its thoughtful staff: Porters and door staff were ready at a moment’s notice. Owned by the Saunders Hotel Group and part of Stash Hotel Rewards, it’s more of a boutique hotel.
Book a suite and you’ll have your own personal fireplace, which I can only imagine is amazing on a chilly Boston night. Airy, with perfectly positioned outlets (seriously, they were on the side tables! And the desk! No more fighting for outlets!), the Lenox was the perfect place to come “home” to after a long day of tourism. My ride to the airport was a $40 trip in a Tesla Model S, which mirrored taxi fares and is offered exclusively to Lenox guests. The car geek in me was beyond excited.
I loved the Back Bay for the easy access to great shopping and stores like MakerBot, along with boutiques and an abundance of great cafes (try Wired Puppy, its mini muffins, organic fair trade coffees and a couple free computers are terribly welcome). Much like Chicago, I could wander Boston’s neighborhoods forever, and still find hidden treasures.
Their City Table restaurant was cute and modern, a bit pricey but good breakfast.
The Lenox, though more conservative in its look, was more in line with what a 4+ star hotel should be, even if they were lacking free breakfast as well (I’m obsessed, can you tell?). I felt taken care of, which means something on a long trip, especially with a conference and meetings thrown in.
Reviewing the three hotels, I’d feel comfortable and happy in any of them; the Revere stood out for its artistic bent and the Lenox for its comfort and service. Each was nicely located, depending on what areas you want to explore.
Founder of WorkTravelTech. Obsessed with exploring neighborhoods, cafes, and delicious experiences. Day (& night) job: Freelance designer & WordPress wrangler (Gizmo-Design.com) & founder of Thriftista.com.