Across the river from Boston proper and most tourist attractions
Generic decor with some dated details
Extra fee for upgraded Wi-Fi
Breakfast does not come standard with room rate
Self and valet parking are pricey (but typical for Boston)
The 469-room Hyatt Regency is an upper-middle-range hotel situated right on the Charles River near MIT. Though it's a bit far from the action, the hotel offers a free shuttle to local spots. Decor can feel generic, but rooms are comfortable and include modern amenities like iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. There's an on-site restaurant overlooking the river, a lobby bar and lounge, a small market and souvenir shop, and room service. Wellness amenities include a modern gym, saunas and steam rooms, in-room massages, a sundeck overlooking the river, and a heated lap pool. Extra fees for breakfast, parking, and pets can feel pricey, but aren't out of the ordinary for the area. Le Meridien Cambridge-MIT offers more striking decor and is much closer to the T, but it lacks a pool and river views.
Business-oriented chain hotel right along the Charles River with lots of extra property features
At first glance, the 469-room Hyatt Regency might seem like a straight-forward business hotel -- lots of convention space and a location that, while scenic, doesn't put you all that close to the action. But its quality on-site features and proximity to jogging and biking trails along the Charles River make it a great value for leisure travelers, too. There's a lot to admire, from the huge, open lobby with its four glass elevators whizzing up and down, to the impressive Stay Fit gym, with separate rooms for its Life Fitness aerobics machines and its weight machines, free weights, and yoga mats. The 75-foot atrium pool has a mirrored ceiling and adjacent sundeck that looks out over the Charles River to the Boston skyline beyond. Renovations that wrapped in May 2010 spruced up the spacious guest rooms, adding to the property's appeal.
On Charles River in Cambridge, near MIT -- but a hike to the nearest T stop
The Hyatt Regency sits on the western edge of the MIT campus, right on the Charles River overlooking Boston proper, and is just steps from jogging and biking trails that run along the water. It's situated in a fairly quiet residential area of Cambridge, which has a classic, academic feel. The heart of the MIT campus is just a five-minute walk, and the location is ideal for events like Head of the Charles Regatta and Fourth of July, though some Cambridge and Boston sights are a bit of a hike. Harvard Square is a 45-minute walk away, though it's a pretty jaunt along the river. The nearest T stop (Kendall/MIT) is also a bit of a hike, a 26-minute walk away. But, the hotel offers a free shuttle which departs from the hotel every 15 to 20 minutes into the early evening, and goes to the Kendall/MIT T stop, Fenway Park, and Harvard Square. Self- and valet-parking are available, but cost a extra fee. Guests complain parking is pricey, though the fees are typical for the area. Logan International Airport is about an hour away via public transit or 15 to 20 minutes by car.
Clean rooms with modern amenities like iPod docks -- but decor lacks personality
Guest rooms are clean, functional, and tasteful but generic with the neutral, somewhat characterless decor typical of a chain hotel. A basic Terrace Room, for example, features dark wall-to-wall carpeting, off-white walls, white bedding, dark wood furniture, and beige drapes and upholstery. A few framed black and white photos add a little personality. Bathrooms are similarly neutral with mottled brown counters and white or off-white walls and tiling surrounding shower/tub combos. Rooms are fairly well-sized, at around 325-square-feet for entry-level accommodations. Many rooms include balconies or spacious terraces with seating areas and views of either Cambridge or Boston over the Charles -- though some rooms just overlook a courtyard. If money is no object, guests say that rooms higher up and facing the river are the way to go.
All rooms feature individual climate controls and include desks with ergonomic chairs, safes, and iron and ironing boards. Other amenities include 37-inch flat-screen TVs, free standard Wi-Fi (an upgrade costs extra), and iHome stereos with iPod docking stations. Coffee and tea service are standard, but mini-fridges are only available in some upgraded rooms. Bathrooms include ceramic hairdryers and high-end KenetMD toiletries. Turndown service is available on request.
Suites, which can measure a roomy 800-square-feet, might add panoramic views, mini-bars, Keurig coffeemakers, and other extras. Guests sometimes complain that rooms and bathrooms, though clean, feel somewhat dated and show slight signs of wear-and-tear. Occasionally, guests also note maintenance issues like missing lightbulbs or a thermostat on the fritz.
Restaurant and bar, gym, and heated lap pool -- but fees for parking and breakfast
One of the hotel's biggest assets is its wide range of extra property features, starting with its restaurant, The Zephyr. It has a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Charles, and it features seasonal outdoor seating as well as a bar and lounge. The restaurant serves seasonal dishes and classic New England fare. A decent breakfast buffet is available with hot and cold options, but it doesn't come standard with the room rate. There's also a small market with grab-and-go snacks, bakery products, souvenirs, and Starbucks coffee. Room service is available from morning until late. The hotel sponsors its own events like monthly Comedy Nights and outdoor parties for the Fourth of July and the regatta.
The hotel also has wellness facilities, including the Atlantis Sports Club, which was being renovated during our 2016 visit. The facilities include modern cardio machines with individual TVs, weight machines and free weights, and men's and women's locker rooms with saunas and steam rooms. In-room massages are available, and the heated lap pool (75 feet) has a mirrored ceiling and adjacent sundeck that looks out over the Charles River to the Boston skyline beyond. The gym is open 24 hours, though the pool, locker rooms, sauna, and steam rooms close in the evenings.
The hotel offers concierge services like tour and ticket assistance and laundry and dry cleaning. The hotel has 25 meeting rooms, including multiple ballrooms. A small business center has computers, printers, and an ATM machine for guest use. Basic Wi-Fi is free, but an upgrade will cost extra. Self- and valet-parking are available, but cost a pricey nightly fee (though this is typical for the area). Free shuttles run at regular intervals into the evening to the T station, Harvard Square, and Fenway Park. The hotel is pet friendly, though the extra fee isn't cheap.
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