Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Just outside the Millennium Bostonian is the 250-year-old Faneuil Hall Marketplace, a high-traffic market and modern-day mall that's a must-see for travelers to Boston, with countless restaurants, shops, and bars. It's almost always densely populated, and, for some, the thought of staying in the middle of this madness might sound disastrous. But the 25-year-old Millennium Bostonian pulls it off perfectly. For one thing, the hotel is recessed by a driveway that enables easy entrance and immediately institutes a feeling of much-needed privacy. (The doormen can be pushy in their pursuit of that privacy -- one stopped me to ask if I was staying in the hotel, and when I said yes, asked if I was sure.)
The rest of this serene feeling stems from a $24-million renovation completed in 2012. The loungy lobby -- despite being so red as to appear straight out of a David Lynch film -- is calm, quiet, and comfortable. It's offset from the front desk to cut down on guests passing through as they check in, and has a fireplace, bookshelves, and free coffee on weekdays. There's a back entrance behind the elevators to the casual New American restaurant, North 26, so guests coming from their rooms don't have to pass through the lobby. North 26 itself offers outdoor streetside seating, interior seating that overlooks the market through a wall of windows, and secluded space in the back for patrons who want to eat in peace -- another nice feature.
Unlike the lobby, with its heavy design elements of gothic reds and blacks, the rooms are modest and simple: mostly earth tones, with harmless splashes of orange. Standard rooms have large windows, a king-size bed, and a glass shower, and an upgrade to Standard Plus gets you a balcony and a bathtub. The gym is small, but the equipment is clean and new, and while there's no real business center, there are a couple of rogue computers near the gym that cost 35 cents per minute and a computer kiosk in the lobby, which oddly takes cash. For tourists looking to stay as close to the action as it gets, but not feel as if they're sleeping right in it, the Millennium Bostonian is a pretty good option.
The hotel is directly across from the 250-year-old Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Quincy Market, with about 125 restaurants, shops and bars, along with street performers, and nighttime carriage rides. The area is highly policed and always feels safe. The marketplace is a great spot to begin a tour around Boston, located almost equidistant from Boston Harbor, the North End, and Beacon Hill. The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile path through Boston that stops at 16 historical landmarks, passes through the marketplace.
It's function over form in the nice-size rooms.
The 350-square-foot standard rooms are slightly bigger than average for Boston hotels and they feel it, with thankfully little clutter. A $24-million renovation completed in 2012 may not have brought interesting style to the quarters, but it did bring new furnishings, flat-screens, and bedding. There's a comfortable, pillow-top king-size bed, some classy nightstands with (too) modern lamps, and a small desk. The large windows that overlook the North End fill the room with light. Superior Room upgrades get you a step-out balcony that faces the side or the back of the hotel; Superior Plus Rooms have a balcony that faces Faneuil Hall. Of course, there's a reason they call them "step-out" balconies -- you can barely do just that, take one step onto them.
The hotel's main drawback is its lack of features; perhaps it suffers from the (mis)conception that its phenomenal location for sightseers will be enough. If you really like staying in the thick of things but you want more inside, the nearby Marriott Long Wharf, next door to the Aquarium and IMAX and less than a five-minute walk to Faneuil Hall, has a pool and a more extensive gym (but it lacks the privacy of the Millennium).
Good choice for families
The Millennium is a good choice for families who want decent-size rooms and a great location in the thick of things. Other than that, there isn't a whole lot of extra features or amenities for kids. The nearby Marriott Long Wharf may offer more, since it has a pool and it's still less than a five-minute walk to Faneuil Hall.
On-site New American restaurant
Behind the elevators is a back entrance to the hotel's casual, brand-new New American restaurant, North 26. The main entrance to the restaurant is from the street, and, wisely, the restaurant offers street seating, interior seating that overlooks the market through a wall of windows, and secluded space in the back of the restaurant for guests and diners looking to eat in peace. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A wedding here is simple; the basic wedding package covers just about everything.
This 25-year-old, 201-room hotel, with its recessed driveway, security-focused doormen, and loungy living-room-like lobby, is a relative oasis across from the tourist-filled Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Large, stylish rooms and a great location for sightseeing make up for underwhelming features.
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