Boston Mass Hotel FAQs

10 FAQs for choosing the best hotels in Boston Massachusetts

Looking for Boston Mass Hotels?  You'll find lots of great choices - but choosing the best hotel can be tough. 

Boston Discovery Guide gets lots of questions about how to choose Boston hotels - so I've compiled the top 10 most Frequently Asked Questions about Boston Massachusetts hotels - plus, of course, answers.

Here they are:

FAQ 1 - Location of Boston Mass hotels

Q.  Where are most hotels in Boston located?

A.  Most Boston attractions are found in and near Downtown Boston (including the Waterfront) and Back Bay - so those are also the neighborhoods where you'll find the most Boston hotels.  You can choose from a wide range of prices and amenities among hotels in these areas. 

Other nearby neighborhoods with excellent hotel choices include Charlestown, the North End, Beacon Hill, Fenway, the West End, and the South Boston Waterfront.

Depending on your plans, you may also want to consider Boston Logan Airport hotels and Cambridge MA hotels.

To find the hotels located in each neighborhood, check out my Guide to Boston Hotels.

FAQ 2 - Types of Boston hotels

Q - What types of Boston Mass hotels will I find?

A - You'll find lots of different types.  Bottom line?  You can probably find whatever you're looking for.

Most Boston hotels attract both business and leisure travelers.  You'll find large hotels, small boutique hotels, Boston luxury hotels, cheap hotels in Boston, and even a few Boston bed and breakfast options. 

In addition, you'll find Boston waterfront hotels, ranging from affordable to all-out luxury. 

And if you're looking for a Boston Logan Airport hotel, you'll find 2 special types - accommodations very close to Logan Airport, and hotels close to the airport that offer free parking while you're away.

Finally, you'll find all the big corporate chain hotels, as well as independently owned accommodations.

FAQ 3 - Breathing freely in Boston Massachusetts hotels

Q - I need a smoke-free room.  Will this be hard to get?

A - Nope, getting a smoke-free room in Boston is easy.  As of January 1, 2009, all Boston Mass hotels are smoke-free.

On the other hand, if you want to smoke after you return to your hotel, you'll need to go outside.  Boston hotels can charge cleaning fees if you smoke in your room during your stay.  If you're planning to sneak a cigarette, beware:  some of the cleaning fees are hefty. 

FAQ 4 - To reserve or not

Q - Do I need to make a Boston hotel reservation in advance?

A - Yes, if you want to be sure to get a room reservation.  In fact, it's absolutely best to book a Boston hotel room in advance.  If you just show up without a reservation, you may spend hours trying to find a room, and will probably end up paying more.

FAQ 5 - How far ahead to reserve Boston Mass hotels

Q - How far in advance should I make reservations?

A - The short answer is that you should make Boston hotel reservations as soon as you know your dates.  Getting reservations at some times of the year can be challenging. 

For example, hotels may book up very fast in areas near special events, such as the Boston Marathon.  In addition, hotel rooms can also be difficult to get from early May through early June when the large number of colleges and universities in and near the city hold graduation ceremonies.

If you're planning to visit during a period when you know a special event will be underway, consider making your Boston hotel reservations at least 6 months in advance.  Some Back Bay hotels near the Boston Marathon finish line in Copley Square also become fully booked a year ahead. 

FAQ 6 - Room size at hotels in Boston MA

Q - I've heard that Boston hotel rooms are tiny.  Is this really true?

A - In some cases, yes.  Many Boston Mass hotels occupy older buildings, and as in many cities, rooms and bathrooms tend to be small, even in some of the most luxurious properties.

A number of the older hotels in Boston offer rooms in a variety of sizes at a range of rates.  Not surprisingly, the lowest rates are for the smallest rooms, while the more palatial rooms go for high rates.  Occasionally, if the hotels are not fully booked, you may receive a complimentary upgrade to a larger room.  Even if you don't, having a small room at a good rate can be a great way to experience some of Boston's grand hotels. 

FAQ 7 - Parking in hotel garages

Q - Do all Boston Mass hotels have on-site parking?

A - Some do, and some don't.  Almost all of those that don't offer valet parking or can suggest parking garages or lots nearby.  However, if you bring a car, you'll pay dearly for parking in most hotels.  Daily parking rates of - hope you're sitting down - $42 and more are not unusual. 

If at all possible, leave your car at home and save money.  Boston is compact and has an extensive public transportation system, so you don't need a car in the city.  Plus, parking here is a nightmare if you're not used to it . . . let's just say that streets are narrow, signs are either confusing or non-existent, and parking, as you've already seen, costs a lot of money.

If you want to visit places outside of the city, you can easily rent a car just for the time when you actually need one.  Depending on the length of your visit, this may be much cheaper than paying for Boston parking garages. 

FAQ 8 - Choosing the best hotel in Boston

Q - With so many Boston Mass hotels to choose from, how do I pick the best one for me?  

A - Consider these 3 factors: 

1) Convenience - Where will you spend most of your time while you're in Boston?  Working in the Financial District?  Watching the Red Sox play at Fenway Park?  Exploring Charlestown and the North End?  You'll enjoy the convenience of staying in the neighborhood or section of Boston where you'll spend most of your time.  See Section 1 in our Guide to Boston Hotels to find out which hotels are the neighborhood where you'll spend most of your time.

2) Amenities - Want an indoor pool?  A spa?  A waterfront location?  Do you want to be pampered, or do you prefer to be on your own?  Do you crave the coziness of a bed and breakfast?  The sleekness of a boutique?  Or is a minimalist spot to sleep all you require?  And don't forget Pooch - do you need a pet-friendly hotel?  Or one that's especially welcoming to families with children? 

If you're interested in certain types of amenities, such as Boston luxury hotels or Boston waterfront hotels, you'll find hotels in each of these categories in Section 2 of our Guide to Boston Hotels.

3) Cost - Do you want to spend as little as possible, or do you want a splurge hotel?  Are you bringing a pet?  The hotel will typically charge you either a room cleaning fee, or an additional daily rate for your pet - or both.

FAQ 9 - Boston hotel rates 

Q - How much should I expect to pay? 

A - That depends on a lot of factors. Rates for Boston Mass hotels tend to be highest from late May through early September, and lowest in winter - especially January, February, and early March.  But you'll also find higher rates during leaf-viewing season (Oct - early November), special events (Boston Marathon, college graduations), and holidays such as Thanksgiving and St. Patrick's Day. 

Additionally, hotels that attract business travelers during the week such as Financial District hotels may have higher rates during the week, while hotels that attract mainly leisure travelers such as Boston waterfront hotels may have higher weekend rates.

And of course, the amenities that you choose may also impact the rates.  Obviously, Boston luxury hotels are pricier than no-frills lodging. 

Boston and Cambridge hotel taxes are 12.45%.

FAQ 10 -  Finding the best rate for Boston Mass hotels

Q -  Where will I find the best rates for Boston Mass hotels?

A - Usually you'll find the best rates on the Internet.  You can check each hotel's website individually.  You can also compare rates at hotel booking services, which sometimes have slightly lower rates and also show Boston hotel packages, which may include extras like a bottle of wine. 

On my Boston discount hotels page, I provide an easy-to-use tool that finds the best rates from over 30 hotel booking services such as Priceline and Travelocity, as well as hotels themselves.  It shows you the lowest rates (as well as the others) so that you can choose the hotel and rate that's best for you.  It also has reviews from other travelers about each of the Boston Mass hotels.   

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