Retro-modern furnishings and decor throughout the hotel
Lobby restaurant and bar
24-hour fitness center
Free admission to the MIT Museum, two blocks away
Self and valet parking available
Free Wi-Fi is limited
No pool or spa
No late-night room service
Contemporary rooms and a great location near Central Square -- right on the edge of the MIT campus -- make this 210-room hotel a solid upper-middle-range option in Cambridge. There's no pool, and the rooms are relatively small, but Le Meridien still stands out as an upscale alternative to the fusty New England aesthetic that dominates area hotels. If pool access is a must-have, then check out the 294-room Charles Hotel-Harvard Square.
Upscale hotel with colorful and contemporary interiors
A lot of Boston and Cambridge hotels go for the classic, American feel: traditional furnishings imbued with an air of New England fustiness. The 210-room Le Meridien opts out of this format, instead favoring a sleek, shiny, and slightly futuristic approach (the lobby, for example, has mid-century modern furnishings, gray chevron floors, and a purple back-lit bar).
Even with those minor reservations, Le Meridien is a solid choice if you're visiting Cambridge and don't have much need for amenities. By contrast, the rooms at the nearby, business-y Hyatt Regency aren't as plush, but guests of the Hyatt do get a lovely pool and a far superior, state-of-the-art fitness center -- and usually pay lower rates. And while Le Meridien puts you pretty close to Harvard (a short drive or a long walk), you can get within two blocks of it at the more expensive Charles Hotel.
A great location just a few blocks from diverse eating and shopping options in Cambridge's Central Square
The location doesn't quite put you in easy walking distance of Harvard Square, but the hotel is close to plenty of dining and shopping options.
Situated to the northwest of Boston, just across the Charles River, Cambridge seems at once part of and distinct from the city. It provides much of the classic and academic -- some would say dowdy -- imagery for which Boston is known: stately red brick townhouses; the sight of rowers launching from ancient boathouses on the banks of the Charles; the almost colonial atmosphere that envelops Harvard, the nation's oldest university. And yet Cambridge virtually buzzes with energy; biotech companies, startups, and the studious whir of college town activity combine to make it one of the country's most vibrant intellectual centers. Cambridge is also home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and just as Harvard exudes a musty air of American influence and success (Kennedys, Roosevelts, Obama), MIT proudly embraces its own brand of nerdiness: Where else do you find a street named Galileo Galilei Way?
Within easy walking distance to shops and restaurants on Central Square's Massachusetts Avenue
Three blocks to the Central Square stop on the T (Boston's subway system)
Five- to 10-minute drive to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox
Five-minute drive (or a bit of a walk) to Harvard Square, with shops, restaurants, and Harvard University
10- to 15-minute drive to Faneuil Hall, a historic marketplace and modern-day mall
10- to 15-minute drive to the 52-acre Boston Common public park, and the start of the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail that passes through 16 historical Boston landmarks
15- to 20-minute drive from Logan International Airport
Rooms have chic decor and good tech, but they're on the small side
The Meridien's rooms are on the small side for Boston (standards are 240 square feet), but they have a cool color scheme of mostly gray, white, and black, with deep red armchairs and divans in larger rooms. The subtle vine print of the black-and-white carpeting reflects the delicate, vertical trellis pattern on the walls. The beds are adorned with duvets and hypoallergenic pillows, while other furnishings have a retro-modern look: marble-topped desks, leather ergonomic swivel chairs, and lamps with 60s-style linen drum shades.
Room tech includes LG flat-screen TVs, MP3-enabled alarm clocks, electronic safes, dual-line phones with voicemail, and data ports. Mr. Coffee coffemakers with various coffees and Bigelow teas are provided. As a security measure, guest floors are only accessible with a room key.
Bathrooms have Kohler vanity-top sinks, stainless steel hardware, bath/shower combos, bathrobes, magnifying mirrors, and Le Meridien-brand toiletries.
Free cribs and rollaway beds available upon request; mini-refrigerators available upon request for a fee.
Le Meridien's on-site features hardly dazzle, but they do the trick. And since there's a lot to do near the hotel, it's not the sort of place where you feel marooned and limited to what's on-site.
Amuse, the lobby restaurant and bar, features casual wooden tables and chairs and a striking open kitchen, with a slanted, copper-tiled ceiling. It offers standard breakfast fare in the mornings, French cuisine for lunch and dinner, and room service throughout the day (though not 24 hours). A private area seats up to 20 people.
The fourth-floor fitness center is free and 24 hours; it has LifeFitness cardio equipment (two stationary bikes, two elliptical machines, three treadmills, and large multi-use weightlifting machine), free weights, a scale, towels, a water cooler, and a flat-screen TV.
A 24-hour business center in the lobby offers a high-top conference table and two computers, as well as free printing and copying.
There's no pool, but there is a pleasant landscaped outdoor garden, with tables and benches. Guests get free admission to the MIT Museum, two blocks away.
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