Royal Sonesta Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Though it lacks any Boston flavor -- despite its location on the banks of the Charles River -- the 400-room Royal Sonesta is one of the best deals going in Cambridge. A renowned Italian restaurant, skyline and river views, a beautiful, atrium-style pool, and comfortable rooms (renovated in 2011) easily make up for the odd design that dresses up an outdated shell with avant-garde art installations.
Courtyard Boston Downtown Rating: 3.0 Pearls
This 315-room hotel has a great location a mere block from the Boston Common and impressed us by making the most out of their small standard rooms (a smart layout, an extendable desk). Free extras like Internet access, rollaway beds, coffee, and free food for kids help keep travel expenses down -- and make us wish more hotels did the same.
Courtyard By Marriott Boston Copley Square Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Ideally located in Back Bay, just down the block from Copley Square, this 81-room Marriott has some of the best and biggest rooms for the buck in its location (making it a smart choice for families). Plus, it has a comfy business lounge with free computer and printer access, a small fitness room, and a quality, inexpensive breakfast buffet. A romantic turn-of-the-century facade with beautiful old stone work and bay windows doesn't hurt the hotel's allure.
The Copley Square Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Opened in February 2008, this bright 450-room hotel has a fresh look, large, clean rooms, and a modern lobby with sleek furnishings. Guests get plenty of features for their money, including an indoor pool. With a location that's ultra convenient to the airport, train station, and Boston Convention Center, it naturally attracts large groups -- but not so much so that individual guests feel lost or ignored.
Harborside Inn Of Boston Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Built partially in a refurbished mercantile warehouse, downtown's Harborside Inn may be low on amenities, but that allows the hotel to keep rates low. There may be no gym, no restaurant, and no porters or valets, but with well-sized, spotless rooms (some with exposed brick), a friendly front desk staff, and a prime location a few blocks from the harbor, it's a worthwhile value for leisure and business travelers who can do without the extras.