By Chrissie Long, Staff Writer, MPP’14
Though graduation is still three months away, it’s time to begin booking hotels for out-of-town guests. With Boston’s large student population, hotels become saturated in May and prices begin to climb. You’ll be elbowing other gown-laden students and their camera-carrying parents for the marginal hotels, if you leave this one to the last minute.
The commencement festivities begin Tuesday, May 28 with class awards and last through the main ceremony and midday luncheon on Thursday, May 30.
Here are The Citizen picks for places to stay for 2013 commencement:
The Charles Hotel
You can’t get any closer to the Kennedy School than the four-star Charles Hotel. With its superior customer service and elegant interiors, this hotel has played host to celebrities ranging from Supreme Court justices to Hillary Clinton. The only downside is the graduation-week premium (a $500 price increase from normal rates.)
Tel: 617-864-1200 Address: One Bennett Street
Rates: Starting $850 a night Rooms available at the time of publication: 30
Sheraton Commander Hotel
A five-minute walk from the Kennedy School and located on the Cambridge Common, this is a comfortable option for those looking to be within walking distance of all the festivities. A touch of history greets guests as the hotel embraces its proximity to the historical site where George Washington took command of the Continental Army.
Tel: 617-547-4800 Address: 16 Garden Street, Cambridge
Rates: $279 Rooms available at the time of publication: Just a handful available through the 28th, sold out for the rest of graduation festivities
Inn at Harvard
A cozy hotel within walking distance to Harvard Square, the country-esque décor leaves you feeling like you are staying in a refined Cambridge home. Plan an afternoon in their sun-lit atrium surrounded by books.
Tel: 617-491-2222 Address: 1201 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
Rates: $600 Rooms available at the time of publication: 6
A Friendly Inn at Harvard
This bed & breakfast is a very simple, no frills option for those looking for comfort at a moderate price. Carved out of an old Victorian home, the actual rooms come in varying sizes.
Tel: 617-547-7851 Address: 1673 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Rates: $267 Rooms available at the time of publication: 2
Slightly further away, but with a boutique feel, this high-class bed & breakfast is both charming and unique. The 1843 Greek Revival-style inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Tel: 617-661-5989 Address: 6 Prentiss Street, Cambridge
Rates: $299 Rooms available at the time of publication: 4
Harvard Square Hotel
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel
If money is less of a constraint and you want your guests to experience an unforgettable week in Boston, consider one of these memorable options.
The Liberty Hotel
A $150 million renovation converted this one-time jail into one of Boston’s most celebrated hotels. Opened in September 2007, the Liberty Hotel is an architectural marvel. Its historic characteristics are fused with contemporary design so that the vestiges of jail cells and the original stone facades are pleasantly accented by mahogany woods and granite touches. The hotel is conveniently located a few blocks from the Charles MGH station on the Red Line.
Tel: 617-224-4001 Address: 215 Charles Street
Rates: $449 Rooms available at the time of publication: 20
The Kendall Hotel
Not too far from Harvard Square, this 77-room high-end hotel was once the Engine 7 firehouse. It was designed to accommodate stables, coal bunkers and dormitories for the firemen. The firehouse was restored and complimented by a seven-floor addition and shaped into a charming boutique hotel. The owners are graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design and have filled the interiors with their own art as well as pieces by other New England artists.
Tel: 617-577-1300 Address: 350 Main Street, Cambridge
Rates: $396 (three night minimum) Rooms available at the time of publication: 8
Boston Harbor Hotel
An extraordinary celebration of the aesthetics of the Boston Harbor, this luxury hotel spares no expense in its décor or customer service. All rooms look out over the city or the harbor and are outfitted with all the amenities of a top hotel (high-thread count sheets, flat-screen televisions, robes and slippers). Centrally-located, the Boston Harbor Hotel is within walking distance to the famed North End, the aquarium and many of Boston’s best bars and restaurants around Faneuil Hall.
Tel: 617-439-7000 Address: 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston
Rates: $485 Rooms available at the time of publication: 115
The Green Turtle Bed & Breakfast
Stay at a floating Bed & Breakfast in the historic Charlestown Navy Yard. The Green Turtle offers guests luxury accommodations in two boathouse suites as well as in 45-foot, two bedroom yachts. Between graduation activities, your guests can relax on sun-splashed docks with incredible views of the city. You can also take a water taxi direct to Logan Airport.
Tel: 617-337-0202 Address: Shipyard Quarters Marina 1 Pier 8 13th Street, Charlestown
Rates: $276 Rooms available at the time of publication: 2-3
Finding a comfortable, decent hotel for less than $100 a night is a challenge in Boston. However, if your budget is a concern, consider renting a vacation home or booking a hotel outside the city. Remember though, the headache of driving in Cambridge and parking in Harvard Square may not be worth the cost savings.
Rent a Condo or Home
This may be the best option if you have more than three out-of-town visitors. You can get more space for a lower cost and the added benefit of eating in. The best sites for vacation rentals are VBRO.com, homeaway.com, and tripadvisor.com. Be conscious of where you book because distances in the Boston area can be deceptively far and not everywhere is accessible by public transportation.
enVision Hotel Boston
Ranked top on TripAdvisor for its value, this trendy Mission Hill hotel combines upscale amenities with cost-savings. Located near the Longwood medical area and on the green line, it’s slightly harder to access from Cambridge than other city hotels (bus travel or car is recommended). But guests rave about accommodations, calling the hotel “chic and cheap” and “a hidden gem.”
Tel: 617-383-5229 Address: 81 South Huntington Ave., Boston
Rates: $179 Rooms available at the time of publication: All
Holiday Inn Express Boston/Waltham
If you are looking for the standard hotel room with little fanfare, but guaranteed comfort, consider booking at one of the city’s suburban hotels. The Holiday Inn Express in Waltham is one example of cost-savings at rates starting at $162. Other nearby towns to consider are Newton, Arlington, and Medford.
Tel: 877-859-5095 Address: 385 Winter Street, Waltham, MA