House Car provides free transportation within a two-mile radius
Free Wi-Fi in all rooms and common areas
Room style is a bit dated
Pricey valet parking
No free airport transportation
The four-and-a-half-pearl Boston Harbor Hotel is among the city’s most iconic hotels, with a distinctively tasteful blend of ancient Roman, modern, and colonial styles throughout. Its list of features is long for any hotel, especially one that's downtown. Two gourmet restaurants, a wine bar, a health club and spa, and a heated indoor pool are all among the highlights. The 230 large rooms have antique and traditional touches plus Bose Wave music systems, marble bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and minibars. The property’s prime location is within walking distance of Faneuil Hall and the North End, and many rooms have Boston Harbor views. For a slightly cheaper luxury alternative, the Langham Hotel is a nearby historic option with a Chinese-inspired spa and a swanky restaurant inside of the old Federal Reserve Bank.
Iconic luxury hotel in the heart of Boston’s waterfront district
Most visitors to Boston will pass under the iconic dome of this hotel -- it's one of the most recognizable spots in the city and has an enviable position right on Boston Harbor. Thankfully, almost every aspect of this luxury property lives up to expectations. The hotel is part of a complex designed in 1987 that combines a variety of styles that collectively complement the city’s historic waterfront district. The famous arch and rotunda recall ancient Roman architecture, while the rest of the building features timeless industrial high-rise elements that rose to popularity in the ‘80s. Yet, somehow, it all works (and happens to make some really great photo opportunities, should the mood strike).
Interiors are likewise a blend of varying styles that mostly skew colonial and classic. As befits a luxury property, there's plenty of polished marble, rich fabrics, historic etchings, coffered ceilings, gorgeous hardwood, and ornate carpets spread throughout. This hotel also happens to have an upbeat vibe, owing its well-liked on-site dining venues. Rowes Wharf Bar and Meritage Restaurant + Wine Bar serve as the hotel's prime gathering spaces, and the atmosphere in both is elegant, upscale, and lively almost every night of the week. The sophisticated nature of the hotel doesn't limit its appeal, though, and guests are just as likely to include families as couples and business travelers.
On Boston Harbor, a 10-minute walk to Faneuil Hall and the North End
The hotel’s location on Rowes Wharf is the definition of prime for many Boston visitors. It provides convenient access to dozens of restaurants, shops, and the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Faneuil Hall, Long Wharf, and New England Aquarium are all within a five- to 10-minute walk. Hanover Street, the main drag in Boston's ever-bustling North End, is also 10 minutes away on foot. Likewise, it's a 10-minute walk to the Institute of Contemporary Art and the up-and-coming area of trendy restaurants surrounding it.
The Aquarium station on the T's Blue Line is five minutes away on foot, and links up with other lines in the system for trips to Fenway Park and the Back Bay. A free “House Car” runs throughout most of the day to provide guests with chauffeured service within two miles of the hotel (reservations are required). Logan International Airport is 12 minutes away by car. The hotel can arrange chauffeured airport transportation for a fee, although Uber is cheaper and ubiquitous throughout the downtown area. Alternatively, the T provides the most affordable transportation with the door-to-door trip taking less than 30 minutes.
Traditionally elegant rooms with high-end electronics, many with Boston Harbor views
Rooms at the Boston Harbor Hotel have a decidedly traditional look, which isn't all that a city that embraces its colonial past with gusto. There's little difference in style from one category to the next, and each employs a liberal mix of burgundy, navy blue, and soft yellow alongside polished hardwood furniture with antique lines. Dark marble surfaces add an additional luxe touch, and heavy fabrics -- like tasseled drapes -- complete the look. Unfortunately, while everything is well-kept and has a cohesively high-end appearance, the patterned tan carpets and silk floral bed runners do make them appear a bit dated overall.
Every room offers an excellent list of modern amenities. High-tech gadgets include flat-screen HDTVs, free and fast Wi-Fi, and Bose Wave radio systems. The minibars feature an excellent selection of pricey liquor, beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks. It's worth noting that coffeemakers are notably lacking in all rooms but the Specialty Suites.
The hotel offers rooms in four categories, though any category here is far larger than most city-center hotels in Boston. Entry-level Superior Rooms offer one-room floor plans with 500 square feet (46 square meters) of living space. Deluxe Rooms are even larger and have a partially separate sitting area with a sofa, oversized chair, and a work desk. One-Bedroom Suites provide a more spacious, two-room floor plan with a separate sleeping and sitting area. The hotel’s flagship Specialty Suites are each individually designed. All offer additional luxury amenities such as private, furnished terraces, modern, walk-in spa showers, double bathroom vanities, and Nespresso coffeemakers. Every room category offers views of either the city skyline or Boston Harbor. Beds are universally well-reviewed as plush and comfortable.
Two gourmet restaurants, a wine bar, and a full-service wellness complex with a heated pool
Boston Harbor Hotel offers almost every imaginable amenity available in a luxury downtown property. Most notable are its two gourmet restaurants, a chic wine bar, a full-service spa, and a heated indoor saltwater pool.
Rowes Wharf Sea Grille serves a la carte breakfast (buffet service on weekends), lunch, and dinner. Seafood dominates the afternoon and evening menus with entrees including Maine lobster, steamed mussels, and diver scallops. Service is available in either the indoor dining area or a casual outdoor terrace. The restaurant also provides room service 24 hours a day for a fee. Meritage Restaurant + Wine Bar offers fine dining in a crisp and modern space overlooking Boston Harbor. The soft gray upholstered chairs, faded color palette, and deep blue carpeting all feel sophisticated. Brunch is available every Sunday, while dinner is served most days of the week. The menu features gourmet dishes such as seared yellowfin tuna and Cabernet braised short ribs. Every menu choice is purposefully paired with a wine from the restaurant’s extensive cellar.
The hotel’s wellness complex consists of a full-service health club and a spa/salon. At the heart of it sits a 60-foot heated, saltwater lap pool. Additionally, the fitness room features hardwood flooring and an excellent selection of modern cardio- and strength-training equipment. A separate workout area provides balance balls, free weights, and workout benches. Fitness classes are also available, including yoga, water aerobics, and yogalates. The adjacent full-service spa offers standard massage treatments and couples massages, as well as hydrotherapy, facials, and body scrubs. The salon offers waxing, exfoliation, and nail services. Like most of the hotel’s common areas, the decor in both spaces feels luxurious, but a bit dated.
Pets are welcome for a one-time fee typical of most luxury hotels. The price includes a sleeping mat and a welcome gift bag. Additional services like walking and pet sitting are available for a fee.
Valet parking is pricey but typical of other luxury hotels in the area. Self-parking is also available at a more reasonable rate. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, as is its local car service, which must be arranged in advance and does not include the airport.
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