Taj Boston Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Bought from the Ritz-Carlton in 2007, the Taj Boston holds on to the Ritz' elegant look, but also offers some superb perks, like chenille bathrobes and free rides in the house Jaguar. Given its free business center, well-equipped gym, and ideal location bordering the Public Garden and the swank boutiques along Newbury Street, it's an excellent luxury pick. Room categories with views of the Public Garden include Premier Rooms, Deluxe Rooms -- Park View, and Commonwealth Suites.
The Willard Intercontinental Rating: 4.5 Pearls
A grande dame hotel that's hosted presidents and diplomats since 1901, the 332-room Willard is a D.C. icon dripping with history just two blocks from the White House. The exceptional staff and opulent lobby compensate for rooms that lack the flash of those at the newly renovated W Washington D.C. next door. Though the hotel sits on a relatively busy street, the street is lined with trees that boast beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges during the fall, and the Willard is only two blocks from the White House and the Mall.
Castle Hill Resort and Spa Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The quaint 10 rooms of Castle Hill Resort and Spa offer guests a taste of Old World charm, like Tiffany lamps, small standing tubs, and (somewhat creaky) hardwood floors. These intimate spaces are polished off with modern-day amenities, like free WiFi and designer toiletries. The property's outdoor spaces and architectural details are fairytale-esque -- lush gardens, ivy-covered stone walls, fog-topped mountain views, and detailed wooden awnings -- and it's just a short drive from scenic hikes.
JW Marriott Essex House New York Rating: 4.5 Pearls
This large, luxurious Art Deco icon evokes the opulence of bygone times. With a recent redesign that put modern technological amenities in the rooms, the Essex House is moving comfortably into the future. And its location on the southern edge of Central Park is ideal for leaf peepers. Book the Central Park King Room, Central Park Queen Room, or Central Park Deluxe Suite for views.
Omni Shoreham Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
For the most part, the Shoreham is a hulking, fairly bland-looking 834-room convention-focused business hotel. But there's more to this historic hotel. Evening turndowns; a beautiful outdoor pool; a great gym; a quaint but still convenient location just north of Dupont Circle; a haunted room on the 8th floor, nice leafy views from many rooms -- it's an excellent choice for the price.
Hyatt Regency Cambridge Rating: 3.5 Pearls
One of the cheapest hotels in Cambridge, the Hyatt Regency could get away with being a bare-bones business hotel. In fact, it's better than that: The rooms were renovated in 2010, there are quality amenities (including an indoor pool and a well-equipped gym), and it has a charming location overlooking the Charles River. It's a great value for those who don't need to be in the thick of things. A number of rooms have spectacular views of the fall colors along the Charles River. If you get stuck with a Cambridge view, just head to the sun deck off of the 75-foot atrium pool to take in the colors of fall.
Mandarin Oriental, New York Rating: 5.0 Pearls
It's not an icon like the Plaza or the Pierre -- but so what? The Mandarin Oriental, located across Columbus Circle from Central Park, offers a dizzying array of modern luxuries -- a 75-foot pool, one of the city's best spas, sweeping views from nearly every common area, and superb on-site fine-dining options, to name a few -- even as it upholds traditional values and outstanding service. Book a Central Park View Room, Premier Central Park View Room, Central Park View Suite, or Premier Central Park View Suite for views of the bright leaves.
JW Marriott Hotel Washington, DC Rating: 4.0 Pearls
A no-nonsense luxury hotel for the masses just steps away from the White House, the JW Marriott has a shopping mall-like multistory lobby and 772 cozy guestrooms. It's modestly plush, but in a populist way -- especially when compared with the place across the street, the Intercontinental Willard, which is richer and more exclusive. The Marriott is just around the corner from the White House and just blocks from beautiful parks.
The Norwich Inn Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The historic Norwich Inn (where President James Monroe and Dr. Suess have both stayed) is a quaint, well-kept hotel with just 38 rooms. Some rooms may be small, particularly those in the Main House, but they have a cozy New England feel, with floral wallpaper, 4-poster beds, and exposed brick -- along with modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. The inn is frequented mainly by those visiting Dartmouth College, just a mile away, and those who want to explore other nearby areas of Vermont will need a car (parking is free). The hotel is located in Norwich embraces the New England small town feel -- many historic homes line the streets, there aren't any chain stores or restaurants, and one of its main attractions is the beautiful foilage in the fall.
Hotel Marlowe Rating: 4.0 Pearls
With large, playfully furnished rooms, the 236-room Hotel Marlowe is one of Cambridge's most family-friendly hotels. Its neighbor, the Royal Sonesta Hotel, is cheaper and has a pool, but the Marlowe offers a boutique-like feel at a reasonable price, with personality to spare. A number of its rooms -- such as the Studio Suite -- overlook the tree-lined Charles River, a beautiful site in the fall.
Washington Marriott Wardman Park Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Tucked away in a leafy residential neighborhood near the National Zoo, D.C.'s biggest hotel is a blur of conventioneers -- huge meetings are its bread and butter. The Washington Marriott Wardman has lovely grounds, a decent fitness center, and pleasant common areas; but in this price range, leisure travelers can usually do better than its run-of-the-mill chain rooms and (somewhat) out-of-the-way location. Those looking for leafy views can find them, though, in many of the rooms as well as from the glass-walled elevator.
Trump International Hotel And Tower Rating: 4.5 Pearls
An ostentatiously luxurious hotel with a supremely well-trained staff, and huge, elegant rooms designed by Ivanka Trump herself. The location (overlooking Central Park at Columbus Circle) can't be beat -- especially for guests seeking views of gorgeous fall colors. The hotel also has two highly regarded restaurants and an in-house pool.
The Pointe at Castle Hill Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
While the 96 rooms of The Pointe at Castle Hill are clean and manageable, they fluctuate wildly from charmingly antique to generically modern. Some have burgundy walls, large four-poster beds and seriously old toilets, while other suites are bright with full kitchens and large, modern bathrooms. It certainly won't top the most luxurious list, but those hitting the slopes at nearby Okemo Mountain during ski season may find it to be a suitable après-ski relaxation spot and the views are gorgeous, no matter the season.