The hulking 294-room Charles, on the eastern edge of Harvard Square, is the best reason to stay north of the river. A low-key New England aesthetic prevails, with Shaker-inspired furniture, wainscoting, and geometric bed quilts, but there’s plenty of luxury too (like Origins products and Séura “in mirror” TV screens in the bathrooms). The common areas are truly uncommon, including the decadent Le Pli spa, a huge borrow-at-will library, and two excellent in-house restaurants: Rialto for Tuscan-inspired Italian fare, and Henrietta’s Table for over-the-top Sunday brunch. In summer and fall, the hotel hosts a farmers market with perfect picnic items—freshly pressed apple cider, roasted pecans, and goat cheese from the nearby Carlisle Farmstead.
Room to Book: Glamour pusses should spring for one of the eight Boston Suites; the bathrooms, with double basins, separate showers and tubs, and huge mirrors, have plenty of room for preening.