Best Hotels in Boston
From iconic Rowes Wharf to the fashion-forward Back Bay, these properties deliver a comfortable stay with at-the-ready service. Find out which Boston hotels made the cut, as selected by readers in our annual World's Best Awards survey.
No. 1 Eliot Hotel
Small and traditional without being stuffy, this elegant Back Bay hotel welcomes guests like they were family—fitting, since it’s been owned and operated by the same clan for more than 50 years. Of the 95 guest units, 79 are spacious suites, decorated in toile and raw silk, with Italian marble baths and French doors separating the bedrooms from the sitting areas. Staff members are warm, gracious, and multilingual, and the property is uniquely kid-friendly: teenagers stay for free, and little ones are treated to rubber duckies and other bath toys. If your “children” are of the canine variety, that’s okay too; pet-sitting services are available.
No. 2 XV Beacon
One of Boston’s first modern design hotels when it opened in Beacon Hill in 1999, the surprisingly homey 60-room XV (call it “Fifteen”) has stylish, bold interiors that contrast nicely with the 1903 Beaux-Arts building. A svelte scheme of dark wood, brushed steel, and cream-colored fabrics prevails, but it’s punctuated by bold abstract paintings and vintage touches like a cage elevator, marble busts, and canopy beds in every guest room. The rooms are spacious—some as large as 900 square feet—and all have gas fireplaces and mini-bars that might tempt you to snuggle in on a cold night. Venturing out? Take the complimentary car service around town.
No. 3 Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf
The Boston Harbor Hotel and its arched throughway are iconic city landmarks: on one side of the property is the marina and the steel-blue Atlantic, on the other, familiar Boston sites, from Faneuil Hall to the Boston Common. Set in this prime location on Rowes Wharf, the 230-room hotel is a destination in its own right. Local Beantown families arrive for the Sunday brunch at the hotel’s Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, and travelers are often spotted browsing the lobby’s historic maps—part of the Boston Public Library’s collection, which chronicles the settlement of colonial New England. Rooms also reflect the harbor theme; each features nautical accents such as maritime art and ship captain’s desks.
No. 4 Four Seasons Hotel, Boston
This contemporary brick landmark offers a truly prime location: it’s literally across the street from the glittering and meandering walking paths of the Public Garden (Newbury Street’s shops are also just a few blocks away). A $50 million renovation of the interiors, completed in April 2006, has given the common areas and the 273 rooms an airy, modern look. The color scheme of eggshell, pale gold, and icy blue is accented by great views, especially if you get a room with windows fronting the garden (and you should). Take a dip in the eighth-floor indoor pool, which overlooks the gold-domed statehouse, then have dinner at the Bristol Lounge restaurant, where even locals head for the raw bar.
No. 5 Mandarin Oriental, Boston
To stand out in the fashion-forward Back Bay, designer Frank Nicholson approached the hotel as if it were a gallery. Everything has an artistic touch, from the blond-wood contemporary furniture to the masterpieces by Frank Stella and David Hockney. Frette, Gucci, and Elan Sassoon (son of Vidal) have boutiques within the complex, and diners can opt for New England cuisine inspired by local and seasonal ingredients at the hotel's Asana restaurant or try L’Espalier—helmed by James Beard Award winner Frank McClelland.
No. 6 Fairmont Battery Wharf
Occupying four waterfront buildings in Boston's North End neighborhood, the 150-room Fairmont Battery Wharf complements its polished look, which includes maple and granite design elements and a glass sculpture by Nikolas Weinstein, with clean, clear sightlines of Boston Harbor. Rooms offer 42-inch LCD televisions and digital safes, and the hotel's 13,000-square-foot exhale® mind body spa hosts yoga classes daily. The hotel's 1,000-square-foot "pocket" museum tells the 350-year history of Battery Wharf with text and images, telescopes for harbor views, and the wharf's original pilings. Try a different mode of transportation at the Fairmont Battery Wharf: Board a water taxi at the hotel's private dock for airport and waterfront destinations, including the Harbor Walk and neighboring Freedom Trail.
No. 7 The Colonnade Hotel
This hip, Back Bay hotel on Huntington Avenue enjoys an envied location near boutique-filled Newbury Street. Following a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2008, travertine marble floors, polished wood and contemporary furnishings now characterize The Colonnade Hotel's public spaces. The nine suites and 285 luxe rooms capture light with floor-to-ceiling windows and neutral-toned furnishings that keep eyes focused on the city views. The popular rooftop swimming pool on the 11th floor offers a birds-eye view of Boston along with celebrated frozen daiquiris and vintage-Hollywood feel. After sampling Beantown's history, indulge in a bit of Paris with dinner at Brasserie JO. Led by Chef Jean Joho, the French-inspired menu wins rave reviews.
No. 8 Hotel Commonwealth
Near Fenway Park in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood, the 149-room Hotel Commonwealth resides inside a French Empire-style building. Shades of red are splashed over everything from furniture to carpeting to artwork in both public areas and guestrooms. Imported Italian linens cover the pillow top mattress, where guests can relax in a Frette bathrobe while reading a book from the custom library of works from local Boston authors that comes in each room. The property also features on-site dining at Eastern Standard, on-site boutique shopping, and in-room spa services.
No. 9 Nine Zero
With its sleek, minimalist décor, Nine Zero brings modern chic to the historic area around the Freedom Trail. Yes, connecting to Wi-Fi from your ergonomically molded chair while looking out over the lichen-cloaked headstones of Paul Revere and John Hancock may seem paradoxical, but the classical location keeps the hotel’s clean-lined interiors from feeling too coolly contemporary. Just be prepared: while the 190 guest rooms are stylish—with butter-yellow walls, streamlined dark-wood furnishings, and beds with padded headboards—they’re also on the small side.
No. 10 Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common
Boston’s only Ritz (the Taj chain bought the famous Back Bay property in 2006) is an 11-story glass-and-steel monolith that looms above the Common’s greenery. Opened in 2001, the hotel transports you—oddly—to 1985; the glitzy marble lobby, filled with giant potted lilies and a 10-foot fireplace, is pure Trump Revival. Thankfully, the 193 guest rooms are a bit more subdued, with velvety earth-toned upholstery, feather beds, and Frette bathrobes—appealing amenities after a workout in the adjacent 100,000-square-foot Sports Club/LA (where $15 gets you near-round-the-clock access).