Attached to the Hynes Convention Center, this gigantic 1,200-room Sheraton caters to business travelers with the best pool and fitness-center complex in Back Bay, stylish rooms with panoramic views of Boston, and a free business lounge. On-site dining is limited -- just a single bar and restaurant -- even though there is dining nearby. There's also a pesky fee for in-room W-Fi.
After a $50-million renovation in 2009, the massive business-oriented 1,200-room Sheraton has colorful, updated rooms with panoramic views of Boston, plus a free business lounge and one of the best fitness complexes in the city.
Geared toward business travelers, the Sheraton is one of several chain hotels attached to Back Bay's massive Hynes Convention Center complex, which also includes the Prudential and Copley Square malls (attached via indoor walkway and skybridge). This 1,200-room hotel is literally surrounded by the competition -- the Marriott Copley Place and Westin Copley Place are also attached to the complex, and across the street is the Hilton Boston Back Bay.
Despite the number of people rushing in and out, the expansive lobby feels calming and relaxing thanks to large plush couches and oversize chairs in soothing tones of brown and beige. The star of the hotel, however, is the phenomenally designed fitness complex, featuring Boston's largest indoor lap pool with a retractable glass ceiling. Separate weight and cardio rooms are built alongside huge floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Back Bay. The whole complex is connected to a huge outdoor atrium with lounge chairs. The Westin's narrow, windowless fitness center and the Hilton, with its smaller outdoor deck and pool, can't come close to this. The business center is pretty impressive too. The lobby-level Links at the Sheraton offers several free computers, a Starbucks, and a living-room area with a gigantic flat-screen.
The rooms are smaller than at the Westin. But it's the only convention center hotel that has panoramic views of downtown Boston and the Charles River from even the standard units. Following a $50-million renovation completed in September 2009, the colorful, contemporary rooms boast 37-inch flat-screen TVs and comfortable Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds with thick Sealy mattresses. Stylishly decorated with cute orange armchairs, contrasting melon-green lamps, and sleek circular wooden side tables, they're definitely hipper than what you'll see at the Hilton across the street or the Marriott down the block. Cable offerings are a bit weak -- less than 30 channels -- but there's free Showtime. The lobby saw a similar brightening in 2009, with new modern furniture and updated decor.
It is surprising how limited the dining options are at what is the largest convention center hotel in all of New England. There’s 24-hour room service, but the main restaurant only serves breakfast. For lunch and dinner, you only have one dining option -- the bar. Compare this with the 803-room Westin’s steakhouse, seafood, breakfast, and sushi restaurants. Luckily, there are plenty more dining options steps away: the mall that is connected to the lobby adds to the list of restaurants.
That said, you never truly lack for dining choices since the Hynes-Prudential-Copley mall complex is so close and offers so many. Score a good room rate at this Sheraton, and you won't be disappointed.
In Back Bay, attached to the Hynes Convention Center
The Sheraton is one of several chain hotels attached to Back Bay's massive Hynes Convention Center complex, which also includes the Prudential and Copley Square malls (attached via indoor walk way and skybridge). Along with the Hilton Boston Back Bay, it's one of the closer hotels to Berklee College of Music -- just about a five-minute walk.
As an upscale commercial and residential area in the center of Boston, Back Bay offers a little bit of everything, from luxury shopping on Newbury Street to baseball at nearby Fenway Park. Office workers toil away in the area's high-rise buildings, some of Boston's tallest, while business travelers convene for conferences at the Hynes Convention Center. Major attractions like the Public Garden and Boston Common and the start of the Freedom Trail are within a few blocks, but other tourist hotspots, like the North End and Faneuil Hall, are 20 to 30 minutes away via public transportation (about eight to 10 minutes by car). The area is filled with midrange and upscale restaurants, many of them chains, and the South End, a more lively bohemian area with trendy bars and eateries, is a quick 10-minute walk.
The Prudential Center stop on the T (Boston's subway) can be accessed via the hotel's indoor connection to the mall.
About a six-minute drive, or 20 to 30 minute walk, to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox
About a five-minute drive, or 20-minute walk, to the Boston Common, the country's oldest park and the start of the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, which passes through 16 of the city's historic landmarks
An eight-minute drive (two miles) to Faneuil Hall, a historic marketplace and modern day mall
About a 15-minute drive (three miles) to Harvard Square in Cambridge
The phenomenally designed fitness complex here bests anything you'll find at the nearby Westin, Marriott, and Hilton. It's got the biggest indoor lap pool in Boston, plus an outdoor atrium with views of skyscrapers towering above. Separate weight and cardio rooms are built alongside huge floor-to-ceiling windows. All cardio machines have their own LCD flat-screen TVs.
Open daily, the fitness complex is split between two separate weight and cardio rooms built around either side of the pool; has more equipment than any other gym we saw in Boston, including 12 separate Life Fitness strength training machines, eight treadmills, and six weight benches
The pool area features a retractable glass ceiling (opens when it gets warm), plus a Jacuzzi, a redwood sauna, and plenty of towels.
Business center is a Links at the Sheraton, with several computers that are free for guest use; 2nd-floor Penfield's Business Center sells business supplies and handles services such as photocopying, shopping, and the like.
There is a fee for in-room Wi-Fi; the casual, lobby SideBar & Grille, as well as Starbucks, offer free Wi-Fi.