Looking for Boston, Massachusetts hotels?
You'll find lots of great choices - but how do you choose the best hotel to fit your needs?
Here at Boston Discovery Guide, we get lots of questions about what to expect in Boston hotels, locations, and how to choose the right one - so we've compiled this list of frequently asked questions - and, of course, our answers.
On this page, you'll find answers to these questions:
Top photo: Godfrey Hotel in Boston's Downtown Crossing neighborhood
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about Boston Hotels
Q: Where are most hotels in Boston located?
A: You'll find most Boston hotels in the city's central neighborhoods where many businesses and most attractions are located: Downtown including the waterfront, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway, the North End, the West End, and the South Boston Waterfront including Seaport and Fort Point.
In each of these areas, you'll find hotels in a range of prices and amenities - although keep in mind that in general, Boston hotels tend to be expensive during the "high" season (summer, fall, major holidays, and late spring/early summer when all the local universities hold graduation ceremonies).
Other near-central Boston neighborhoods with excellent hotel choices near public transportation include Charlestown (near the Navy Shipyard where the USS Constitution offers free tours) and the South End. Just across the Charles River (5 minutes by subway) is the city of Cambridge, with even more choices.
Depending on your plans, you may also want to consider Boston Logan Airport hotels - just a 7-minute water taxi ride from Downtown.
You find the hotels located in each neighborhood in our Guide to Boston Hotels.
Q: With so many Boston hotels to choose from, how do I pick the best one for me?
A: Consider these 3 factors when you're choosing a hotel:
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? For top convenience, stay in the part of Boston 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 homey-ness of a boutique? Or is a minimalist spot to sleep all you require? Do you want a hotel that's especially welcoming to families with children?
3. Cost - Want to spend as little as possible? Or do you want a splurge hotel? Unless you've waited until the last minute to book, or are trying to make reservations during a peak period, you'll usually have plenty of choices in great central locations. So choose your price point, and go for it!
Our Guide to Boston Hotels will help you identify hotels in the categories most important to you.
Check our tips on finding Boston Hotel Deals if you want to find discounts and other ways to save on Boston hotels.
Q: What types of Boston hotels are available for me to choose?
A: Boston offers a variety of every type of hotel you can imagine:
- Independently owned (Fifteen Beacon on fabled Beacon Hill, Lenox Hotel near the Marathon finish line in Back Bay) and corporate chain hotels (Marriott Long Wharf on the waterfront, Hyatt Regency in the Theatre District, Sheraton Boston in Back Bay)
- Luxury hotels (Mandarin Oriental in Back Bay, Four Seasons overlooking the beautiful Public Garden), budget hotels (Midtown near Museum of Fine Arts, Buckminster next to Fenway Park), and everything in between, including a highly-rated hostel in a top city neighborhood (HI Hostel in the Theatre District)
- Suite hotels (Residence Inn near Fenway Park, Eliot Suites in Back Bay) and at least a growing number of trendy "micro" room hotels (Yotel in the trendy South Boston Waterfront, CitizenM by TD Garden, Marriott's Moxy Hotel in the Theatre District)
- Famous historic properties (Omni Parker House on the Freedom Trail, Fairmont Copley Plaza overlooking fabled Copley Square) and sleekly modern hotels in beautiful historic buildings (Godfrey Hotel in Downtown Crossing/Theatre District, Ames Hotel near Faneuil Marketplace, The Boxer close to TD Garden)
- Spectacular waterfront hotels (independently owned Boston Harbor Hotel, sleekly comfortable InterContinental Boston) and small cozy inns (Yacht Haven on the waterfront, Beacon Hill Hotel in the heart of Beacon Hill)
Here are some more popular categories:
One alert: Unlike in many other cities with plenty of options for short term apartment rental, you'll find relatively few available apartments here due to our huge student population.
Q: What are Boston's newest hotels?
A: We constantly update our list of new hotels in Boston.
It changes all the time as new properties open - so take a look at our roundup of newly opened Boston and Cambridge accommodations.
Q: Should I make advance reservations?
A: Our 1-word answer . . . YES!
Boston hotels book up quickly, and do sell out.
"High" season in Boston hotels includes summer months between early June and early September, and the month of October. If you're planning a visit during these months, book as soon as you know your dates if you want to find the best rates.
However . . . finding reasonable rates or vacancies at any price can be challenging during several other periods:
- Before and after the Boston Marathon in early to mid April (check our recommendations for Boston Marathon hotels)
- College graduations during May and early June - With approximately 65 colleges and universities in and around the city, well, you can do the math!
- New Year's Eve (see New Year's Eve hotel recommendations)
- Valentine's Day (find Valentine's Day Special Packages)
- July 4th, especially when it falls on or near a weekend (find out where to stay on the 4th if you're here for the fireworks)
- Columbus Day weekend falls during peak foliage season; getting reservations can be hard, and rates soar - so make your reservations as early as possible to get the best deals
- Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend are not quite as competitive - but booking early is always a good idea
- One final thought: Halloween is BIG in this area, and Salem hotels north of Boston book up very early thanks to all their witch museums and other Halloween celebrations
Q: How far in advance should I make my reservations?
A: As soon as you know your dates.
Lots of visitors make reservations for the Marathon, college graduations, and July 4th a year in advance. To compete for best rooms and lowest rates, you should too!
Depending on the type of reservation you choose, you can cancel later if necessary (be sure to check the cancellation policy when you book).
Q: I've heard that Boston hotel rooms are tiny. Is this really true?
A: Yes and no.
Similar to hotels in many cities, rooms and bathrooms in Boston hotels tend to be small, even in some of the most luxurious properties.
Many Boston hotels, especially those in older historic properties, offer rooms in a variety of sizes and at a range of rates.
Lowest rates usually mean a smaller room, while more palatial rooms have 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 great rate can be a wonderful way to experience some of Boston's grandest hotels while also enjoying the convenience of staying in the heart of the city.
Q: I need a smoke-free room. Will this be hard to get?
A: Nope, all Boston hotels are smoke-free.
As of January 1, 2009, all Boston, Massachusetts hotels are smoke-free.
Anyone in a hotel who wants to smoke must go outside.
Boston hotels charge extra cleaning fees if you smoke in your room during your stay. In some hotels, these cleaning fees are quite large.
Q: Do all Boston hotels offer onsite parking?
A: In one word . . . YES!
Some have onsite parking, and some don't.
But in reality, even those that don't either offer valet parking or can suggest parking garages or lots nearby.
However . . . if you bring a car, you will pay dearly for parking in most city hotels. Daily parking rates of $50 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 . . . streets are narrow, signs are 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 - for example, Zipcar is affordable, readily available, and convenient. Depending on the length of your visit, Zipcar may be much cheaper than paying for Boston parking garages.
If you absolutely have to have a car and don't want to pay high fees, check out our tip about overnight parking (and other options) at Boston Common Garage.
Q: How much should I expect to pay?
A: That depends on a lot of factors.
Rates for Boston hotels tend to be highest from May through early November, 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 in April, college graduations in May and early June), and holidays such as Thanksgiving and St. Patrick's Day.
Additionally, hotels that attract business travelers during the week such as Financial District and Seaport 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 and micro-room properties.
These articles focus on hotels at each end of the price spectrum:
Boston and Cambridge hotel taxes are 12.45%, which is fairly reasonable compared with hotel taxes in other large cities.
Q: Where will I find the cheapest rates for Boston hotels?
A: The quickest and easiest way to spot the cheapest rates is on the Internet.
An easy place to quickly see the cheapest rates for your specific dates is to look at Booking.com's Boston hotel map, which will show you the best deals across the city as soon as you enter your dates:
More about how to save on Boston hotels
Check our Boston Hotel Deals article for tips, including where to search and find best deals on the Internet.
Q: Are all Boston hotels accessible?
A: Yes, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all U.S. hotels must be accessible.
For Boston's older hotels built before the time when accessibility was given priority, reconfiguring for accessibility has presented challenges in some cases and accessible doors, ramps, and elevators are not always where you might expect, nor is signage always ideal. You may save yourself some trouble if you call before arriving to find out the best route into the hotel.
Beyond meeting minimum ADA mobility requirements such as wider doors to allow wheelchair/walker access, hand rails in showers, tub, and at the toilet, and lower sinks, etc, Boston hotels also provide accessible hotels features and services in other areas.
For example, ADA also requires hearing and communication accessiblility. Some hotels such as Kimpton's Nine Zero Hotel near Boston Common give details on their websites; for example, Nine Zero provides all guest rooms with accessible communication features such as telephone ring signalers, telephone in-line amplifiers, visual alarm clocks, bed shakers, door knock alerts, and visual fire alarms.
Aloft Boston Seaport near the Convention Center offers complimentary wheelchair-accessible transportation, accessible parking, and and accessible swimming pool and fitness center.
Other hotels provide valet services to park and retrieve your car.
If you are considering a specific hotel and have questions about their accessibility features, just call and ask.
Please keep in mind that the ADA does not apply at this time to some smaller properties such as "Bed and Breakfast" lodging, some small inns, and some guesthouses. ADA requirements also do not apply to Airbnb owner-operated accommodations with 5 or fewer rental units.
More Boston hotels: All Boston Hotels - Newest Hotels - Deals & Discounts - Theatre District Hotels - Boston Marathon - Hotels with Fireplaces - Seaport/CruisePort Hotels - New Year's Eve Packages - Inexpensive Hotels - Discount Hotels - Back Bay Hotels - Hotels near Fireworks - Hotels with Outdoor Pools - Faneuil Market Hotels - Valentine's Day Packages - Downtown Boston - Park & Fly - Airport Hotels - Waterfront - Seaport - Historic Downtown - Suburban Hotels - Fenway Park Hotels - TD Garden Hotels - Gillette Stadium Hotels - Financial District
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Need a Boston Hotel or Apartment?
Use this handy map from Booking.com to find the perfect place to stay. Just enter your dates to find what's available, see the best rates, and make your reservations.