Rowing on the Charles River, Cambridge, MA

Cities Less Traveled: 4 Boutique Hotels in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Travelers looking to escape Boston’s urban hustle would do well to look to nearby Cambridge. As one of the country’s most historic destinations, it’s arguably the most beautiful, most “New England” city in Massachusetts. But the area is infamous as one of the most expensive in America for travelers. Even so, affordable accommodations are available, provided you know where to look. Here are four upscale boutique Cambridge hotels to satisfy any traveler’s budget:

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Rowing on the Charles River, Cambridge, MA
Rowing on the Charles River, Cambridge © Philippe Teuwen

The Basic Boutique: Hotel Veritas

The 31-room boutique Hotel Veritas feels more like a residential building than a hotel, and that’s a good thing. It’s warm and inviting with tasteful touches of upscale decor, like staying at your rich friend’s Cambridge apartment. Every guestroom is cozy, but comfortable with meticulous use of space. With its ideal location in Harvard Square, guests have easy access to the area’s universities, bars, restaurants, and shops. Some notable amenities are the nearby subway station, complimentary cold beverages, balconies in some rooms, and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.

The Funky Boutique: Hotel Marlowe

Modern Greek Revival and Edwardian decor abounds, providing a funky, eclectic vibe to Hotel Marlowe. Situated on the Charles River, the hotel offers excellent views of downtown Boston and the waterfront. Guests are literally steps from the city’s famous river path and a short walk from area attractions. The adjacent Cambridgeside Galleria mall provides easy access to parking as well as restaurants and upscale shops. Some notable amenities are free afternoon wine tastings, in-suite telescopes, free wifi, pet menus, and free kayak/bike rentals.

An Autumn Night in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
An Autumn Night in Harvard Square © EandJsFilmCrew

The Luxurious Mainstay: The Charles Hotel

For 30 years, The Charles Hotel has been a mainstay for travelers to Cambridge. A classic, regal decor is fitting for this hotel’s upscale, welcoming, understated New England elegance. However, the onsite spa and jazz club should be an indication that it’s not for every budget. It’s no surprise then that the hotel has hosted celebrities and world leaders, including Barbra Streisand, the Clintons, Supreme Court Justices, Ben Affleck, and even the Dalai Lama. Some notable amenities are the city’s most comfortable beds, free Wifi, TVs built into the bathroom mirrors, and free passes to the adjacent gym.

The Budget Boutique: The Kendall Hotel

The Kendall Hotel at the Engine 7 Firehouse is housed in a building constructed in 1894 – one of Cambridge’s most beautiful and iconic structures. The hotel was outfitted with modern decor appropriate to a New England B&B (think tasteful American flags, vintage telephones, and plaid quilts). For budget travelers, it’s worth splurging on a suite at this already affordable hotel as the rooms are quite large, particularly as compared to most Boston area hotels. Some notable amenities are the complimentary “fit for a fireman” breakfast, daily wine reception, and a Rooftop Retreat with skyline views.

Traveling to the Boston metro area, and Cambridge in particular, doesn’t have to break the bank. Budget travelers looking to splurge on upscale accommodations can find affordable options almost any time of year. Skip the larger hotel chains and look to local, boutique properties for some of the best values in the city.

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