Fifteen Beacon Rating: 4.5 Pearls
North End and Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Beautiful location at the top of Boston Common, in scenic Beacon Hill
  • Tasteful design blends old-world Boston elegance with modern minimalism
  • Fantastic Les Clefs d'Or concierge team
  • Free in-house Lexus takes you anywhere within a two-mile radius; Lexus owners park free
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Extremely small, 24-hour gym (and daily fee to use nearby Fitcorp Health Club)
  • Uninspiring views from Standard Rooms
  • Valet parking only; pricey fee

Bottom Line

A 63-room hotel with exquisite service, a genteel but easy-going vibe, and a beautiful location in residential Beacon Hill, Fifteen Beacon (or XV Beacon) blends historic New England elegance with modern, minimalist design and hi-tech amenities. A great fit for discerning business and leisure travelers.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Elegant design and impeccable service in a picturesque neighborhood

The lobby merges contemporary and classic looks
The lobby merges contemporary and classic looks

Built in a 1903 Beaux Arts building designed by renowned Boston architect William Gibbons Preston, the 63-room, 11-story Fifteen Beacon combines blue-blooded New England elegance with modern design and amenities. The moment you step through the glass doors and into the mahogany-colored lobby, everything melts into a luxurious palette of espresso and cream tones, with scotch and burgundy accents. A marble staircase leads to the 2nd floor, and a bust of Benjamin Franklin stares down at you from the front desk. Contemporary art hangs from the walls, and beautiful antique cage elevators sit behind sleek glass doors.

Located between the Boston Common and Beacon Hill, the hotel is owned and managed by Paul Roiff, a Boston real estate developer who, with no prior hotel experience, opened Fifteen Beacon on New Year's Eve in 1999 and immediately established it as one of the city's top luxury boutique hotels (along with Back Bay's Eliot Hotel). Exquisite attention to detail and constant touchups keep it on countless best-of-Boston lists.

Service is the key here. Guests are provided with a private direct phone line and personalized business cards. When you arrive, exquisite desserts like miniature tarts and chocolate-covered apricots and strawberries are prepared by the in-house pastry chef and delivered to your room as a welcome treat. A Lexus 460L shuttles guests anywhere within a two-mile radius for free, and the nightly turndown service transforms your room into a kind of soothing relaxation den -- dim lights, soft classical music, fireplace crackling.

Fifteen Beacon is a go-to for executives, dignitaries, celebrities, and anyone else who loves intimate luxury: It's classy and modern, old-fashioned but daring, with excellent service and a great respect for privacy. If it's in your price range, Fifteen Beacon is without a doubt one of the best choices in Boston -- whether you come for business, a romantic getaway, or shopping and sightseeing.

 Service

Phenomenal personal service that focuses on the little things

Attentive service focuses on the details.
Attentive service focuses on the details.

With only seven guest rooms per floor, Fifteen Beacon Hotel is able to offer remarkably intimate service. When owner Paul Roiff conceived of the Fifteen Beacon, he really wanted to make a place where he and his colleagues and friends could stay and feel at home. That meant eliminating hassles and rewarding guests with little extras at every turn. There's fresh fruit on every floor, for instance. Delicious pastries baked by the in-house pastry chef (who also makes dog biscuits if you're traveling with your pet) are delivered to your room when you arrive. Maybe the best indication of the level of service was the nightly turndown service, which came across as heartfelt: The fire was dimly lit, the radio was playing soft classical music, and all the things I had scattered on my bed were neatly organized into little patterns that looked so geometrically perfect I didn't want to disturb them. There was even a small card indicating the next day's weather, with a Lord Tennyson quote thrown in for good measure.

The majority of the hotel's clientele are return customers, and the staff make a point to get to know their guests well (I witnessed many guests chatting with staffers like they were old friends). If you're planning on returning to the hotel, they'll have your room already set up with your desired drinks, exercise equipment, a dog bed, CDs, newspaper preference, or anything else you want. They're even happy to rearrange the furniture to a guest's liking.

  • 24-hour concierge and bell service
  • Fantastic nightly turndown service
  • 24-hour room service provided by Mooo.... restaurant
  • Personalized business cards and a direct dial phone number
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free overnight shoeshine
  • Free newspaper delivery (your choice of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, USA Today, or even foreign papers).
  • Free Lexus car service will take you anywhere within a two-mile radius.
  • Valet parking charged per night (unless you drive a Lexus, in which case it's free).
  • iPad rental
  • Puravair air purifiers for hypo-allergenic rooms
  • Dog sitting and walking can be arranged through the Concierge

 Location

Steps from the state capitol, at the top of Boston Common, in Beacon Hill

Fifteen Beacon is one of few hotels in Beacon Hill, a quiet area with hidden gardens and more than 40 antique shops. It is a bit less tourist-focused than much of Boston, even though the nearby Acorn Street claims to be the most photographed street in America, and 84 Beacon Street, formerly known as the Bull & Finch Pub, was the inspiration for the show Cheers. The state capitol is steps from the hotel, as is the Boston Common and the Granary Burial Ground, where the likes of Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock and Mother Goose were laid to rest. The blocks surrounding the hotel are lined with bars, Irish pubs, and restaurants that characterize much of Boston's food scene -- steakhouses and seafood joints. As for going to other parts of Boston, the hotel's house Lexus will take you anywhere within a two-mile radius for free.

  • 10-minute walk to the parks along the bank of the Charles River
  • Steps to the Boston Common and the start of the Freedom Trail
  • One block to the Park Street Station on the T (Boston's subway system)
  • 20-minute ride on the T from Park Street Station to Fenway Park, or a 10-minute drive
  • Five- to 10-minute walk to tourist favorite Faneuil Hall, a historic marketplace with more than 100 shops and cafes
  • Five-minute drive to the upscale shopping on Newbury Street in Back Bay
  • Five- to 10-minute drive to Harvard Square
  • 15- to 20-minute drive to Logan International Airport

 Rooms

The rooms are comfortable and loaded with amenities.

A Studio Room, two grades up from a standard one
A Studio Room, two grades up from a standard one

The spacious standard rooms are cozy and calming, with soothing New England colors. As with the hotel's service, there are thoughtful touches everywhere: switches next to the bed allow you to easily turn the fireplace and stereo on and off; the towel rack is heated; there's a chrome dial by the door for requesting service or privacy (rather than a do-not-disturb sign); the safes have outlets in them for charging locked-up phones and computers. ... The list goes on. Even the trash cans are classy, since they're actually sterling silver champagne buckets.

Two minor gripes: One, while the four-poster canopy beds are lovely (and comfortable, with Canopy Perfect Sleeper Sweet Dream Mattresses and Frette 400-threadcount linens), they're only queen-size; you have to upgrade two room levels for a king bed. Two, the standard rooms don't have particularly nice views. Mine looked out on an office building next door (though two upgrades to a 475-square-foot studio room will get you a view of historic Beacon Street). That said, the extra space in the room itself is a nice compensation (standard rooms here are 325 square feet; by comparison, the Eliot Hotel, a boutique in Back Bay, has standard rooms at 200 to 250 square feet).

 Features

Small gym, but a beautiful rooftop patio and garden

The roof deck has great views but no food service.
The roof deck has great views but no food service.

The main features of the hotel really are the service, the design, and the ultra-comfortable rooms. Beyond that, there's a rooftop patio that offers panoramic views of the city. It's gorgeous, but it would be better if the hotel served food up there; it's mainly for lounging. There's also an in-house gym, but it's extremely small. (The hotel makes up for it by selling day passes to the Fitcorp Health Club across the street, or day passes to the nearby Sports Club/LA). There's no pool, but there is a hot tub (though it was closed when I was there).

  • Small but bright 24-hour gym featuring two Life Fitness treadmills, one elliptical machine, one recumbent bike, and one stationary bike, none of which have their own TV screens.
  • In-room yoga available
  • Roof deck and hot tub open daily; the hot tub is turned on by request.
  • Fresh fruit on every floor

 Family

A sophisticated scene more geared toward romance and business than parenting

The hotel is a fabulously romantic place, an ideal spot for a married couple to get away for the weekend, or for a discreet tryst, but it's not really geared towards bringing the family. Though connecting rooms are available, which is a plus for families. The restaurant, which has a lively nightlife scene, lacks a kids' menu. Both cribs and rollaway beds cost extra. It's a perfect place to propose marriage, but probably not the best place for a family vacation 10 years down the road.

  • Connecting rooms available
  • No kids' menu
  • Cribs and rollaway beds are charged per night

 Pets

Dogs welcome

The hotel happily welcomes "well-behaved" dogs.

  • Optional pet fee (100 percent is donated to the MSPCA Angell Memorial hospital)
  • Pet-friendly rooms available on request
  • Homemade healthy dog biscuits
  • Free dog beds
  • Water provided during turndown service
  • Dog sitting and walking can be arranged through the concierge

 Cleanliness

Extremely clean

After a 2009 "refresher" renovation in preparation for the hotel's 10th anniversary, the Fifteen Beacon is spotless. The silver is polished, the marble immaculate, and the linens clean and crisp.

 Food

Mooo.... a modern steakhouse

Mooo...., a steakhouse
Mooo...., a steakhouse

The on-site restaurant, Mooo...., offers classic steakhouse dishes with modern twists. It's not cheap, but if you're looking to splurge you won't be disappointed. Chef Jamie Mammano grows an herb garden on the roof of the hotel, and there's an in-house bakery. The pastry chef prepares every baked good the hotel offers: morning pastries, the welcome cookies guests get right after check-in, the rolls served in the restaurant ... even the dog biscuits. Downstairs at Mooo...., guests will find the Wine Cellar where the hotel can arrange private parties and events. But if you want to venture outward, there are countless food options within easy walking distance.

  • Breakfast offers pancakes, a heaping pile of lox, and poached eggs and lobster.
  • Dinner entrees at Mooo.... restaurant, a steakhouse
  • 24-hour room service

 Bottom Line

A 63-room hotel with exquisite service, a genteel but easy-going vibe, and a beautiful location in residential Beacon Hill, Fifteen Beacon (or XV Beacon) blends historic New England elegance with modern, minimalist design and hi-tech amenities. A great fit for discerning business and leisure travelers.

Things You Should Know About Fifteen Beacon

Address

  • 15 Beacon Street, Boston, MA, 02108

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • XV Beacon
  • Xv Beacon Boston
  • Xv Beacon Hotel Boston

Room Types

  • Classic Room
  • Corner Studio Room
  • One Bedroom Suite
  • Studio Room
  • Traditional Room
  • Two Bedroom Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 63
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: North End and Beacon Hill, Boston
Address: 15 Beacon Street, Boston, MA, 02108
(See Map)
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