Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Large, apartment-style rooms and suites with kitchenettes make this 221-room hotel a compelling choice for families or extended-stay guests. Its studios, at 460 square feet, are among the largest in Boston. The Residence Inn has most of the same features as the nearby and comparably priced Marriott Cambridge (pool, fitness center, business center); the chief difference is that the Marriott feels like a big business hotel, with a bustling lobby and lots of convention space, while the Residence Inn is quiet, with a low-key lobby. As an apartment-style property, the Residence Inn doesn't offer all the same services as a hotel (no porter service, for example); however, daily housekeeping and free grocery shopping are offered.
The rooms aren't luxurious, but they do the job -- and then some. The large living rooms have a pullout sofa, a recliner, an ottoman, and a coffee table with jar of hard candy. The living room and bedroom each have a 37-inch flat-screen TV with cable and HBO. Kitchenettes include a dining table with two chairs, plus a dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, and electric stove. Cupboards are stocked with mugs, plates, glasses, silverware, a colander, a cooking pot (but only one), a corkscrew, measuring cups, a can opener, and a potato peeler -- plus coffee and tea and salt and pepper. Each room comes with a grocery list; drop it off at the front desk by 9 a.m. for same-day delivery -- at no charge, other than the cost of the groceries.
Other family-friendly details include free cribs and rollaway beds charged per week. Bathrooms have Paul Mitchell toiletries and a shower/tub combo, plus a door that separates the sink area from the toilet and shower -- a convenient feature when more than one person is getting ready in the morning.
If you assume that the apartment-style accommodations would mean few on-site amenities, you will be pleasantly surprised. The indoor pool and whirlpool add to the hotel's already family-friendly quality, and the fitness center is well equipped with two treadmills, two elliptical machines, one recumbent bike, and one stationary bike, plus a multi-use lifting machine and a weight bench with free weights. And while the hotel offers valet laundry service, its coin-operated guest laundry room, with washers and dryers, is a cost-effective alternative.
While there's no hotel restaurant on site, the hotel hosts an evening reception in the lobby three nights a week:, the spread can include chicken noodle soup, chicken fingers, salad, Goldfish crackers, and juice -- more of a snack than a full meal, but nice nonetheless. There's a free hot breakfast buffet every day, and the front desk provides menus from local restaurants that will deliver to your room. There's also a Starbucks next door, as well as plenty of local dining options (Cosi, Au Bon Pain, Legal Sea Foods).
In the Kendall Square area of Cambridge, amid MIT buildings, restaurants, and biotech companies
Just across the Charles River from Boston proper, Cambridge seems at once part of and distinct from the city. Cambridge provides much of the classic and academic imagery for which Boston is known: stately red brick townhouses; the sight of rowers launching from ancient boathouses on the banks of the Charles; the elite atmosphere that surrounds Harvard, the nation's oldest university. And yet Cambridge virtually buzzes with energy; biotech companies, startups, and the studious whir of college-town activity combine to make it one of the country's most vibrant intellectual centers. Cambridge is also home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and just as Harvard exudes an air of Yankee establishment, MIT proudly embraces its own brand of nerdiness: Where else do you find a street named Galileo Galilei Way?
The Residence Inn is located amid MIT buildings and other offices in the Kendall Square area. The hotel is conveniently near a food court and a stop on the T (Boston's subway system), but there's not much historic charm in the immediate vicinity. The area is not generally a tourist draw, but most of the city's attractions are easy to reach from here.
The Residence Inn's 221 rooms are among the largest in Boston. The kitchenettes and big flat-screen TVs, together with the hotel's impressive array of on-site amenities, make it a great choice for families or those in town for an extended stay.