Berklee College of Music
On a quaint treelined street close to Berklee College of Music, this French-inspired, 95-unit Back Bay boutique offers mostly spacious, elegant suites with (smallish) marble bathrooms, an award-winning French restaurant and sashimi bar, free passes to Boston Sports Club, and services (reservations, room service, turndown) that guests can schedule through revolutionary in-room touch-screens.
Every detail at the 148-room Hotel Commonwealth suggests affluence and tastefulness, from the gilded lobby tables to the tall, plush red chairs. But under all those proper airs, the hotel is consistently comfortable and bursting with modern conveniences. Its location in Kenmore Square, a pleasant pocket of Back Bay, is amid the restaurants, shops, and student hangouts around Boston University.
The Four Seasons is one of the city's top luxury hotels and overlooks a section of the beautiful, flowering Public Garden just three minutes down the street from Emerson College. The superb staff is the best in Boston; the rooms are thoughtfully laid out and tastefully decorated in tones of blue, gold, taupe, and white; and the beautiful, 44-foot-long pool is a serene place to relax, with park views through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Charming rooms, two great restaurants, and a location two blocks from Harvard Square make the 294-room Charles Hotel a natural choice for those visiting Harvard. The 294-room property strikes a good balance between a rustic New England vibe and modern luxury, and is a pit stop for celebrity scholars, fine-dining aficionados, and alums and academics in the Harvard orbit.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For a reasonable price, this 26-story behemoth packs in a lot of quality and convenience: large rooms, a pool and fitness center, and a bustling Cambridge location amid MIT buildings and close to public transportation. It's one of the best chain-hotel deals in Boston.
Boasting the city's only rooftop pool, this 285-room Back Bay hotel offers spacious standard rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, a fitness center with South End views, and an affordable French brasserie. Score a cheap rate and it's worth it. The Colonnade is situated just across the street from the Prudential Center mall and is within easy walking distance of Northeastern University.