More about Charles Hotel in Harvard Square Cambridge
More a neighborhood than just a square, Harvard Square is centered on the intersection of John F. Kennedy Street and Massachusetts Avenue. It's an eclectic neighborhood, featuring restaurants that range from the very cheap to the very expensive, lots of little funky shops, selling clothes, jewelry, music, and books, little parks and meeting places, folks playing speed chess for money, and historical artifacts and monuments. Often, when the weather is warm, you will find live (and free) music dotting the little corners and parks in the Square....we once caught Mary Lou Lords playing out in Harvard Square!
Parking can be a little tight. There is a parkade acress from the Charles Hotel. The metered on-street parking near Memorial Hall fills up pretty quickly. Your other option may be to take the T into the Square.
Harvard Square is worthy of visiting, which makes it a tourist attraction and not so much a trap. With good restaurants, interesting people and great shops, there's plenty to do and see, but if you're limited on time, here's what I'd suggest. Make sure you visit the Harvard Book Store at 1256 Massachusetts Avenue. If you're there early, have breakfast or brunch at Henrietta's Table in the Charles Hotel (true New England cooking) or have lunch at Legal Sea Foods (20 University Road), a Boston area seafood chain. In the evening, stop in at Grendel's Den between 5-7 pm for half price deals and finish off with a drink at John Harvard's Pub. In between all that food, you'll have plenty of shopping choices or you could take on a self-proclaimed chess master for a small charge.
Great stay at the charles
We stayed at the Charles hotel for a couple nights in early/mid october 2006. It's an awesome place! The beds are just sooooo comfy, and the rooms are contemporary but homey. There are plasma screen tvs in the room and the coolest thing in the bathroom - plasma tvs are somehow in the mirror! When you turn it off you would have no idea there would be a tv in the mirror, but it's something really different. Our room was nice and quiet. There's a pool and fitness center at the hotel, but a downside to that is that there are only certain limited hours for children to swim. The concierge are very willing to help with anything which can come in handy. The location of the hotel is perfect, right in Harvard Square. There are many cool shops to check out, lots of places to eat (I would personally reccomend b.good), and about a dozen starbucks. You can also check out Harvard Campus. I would definitely come back again.
Best Service and Restaurants
My partner and I stayed at The Charles Hotel with our dog Scout. From the moment we checked in our stay was amazing. The room was recently renovated. It was both modern and comfortable. The restaurant had an amazing brunch. The health club was very nice for a hotel. The concierge had great tips on what to do while we were in town. Highly recommend!
"convenient but pricey"...
is my overall impression regarding my recent stay at the Charles Hotel. It is the perfect location however, if you are planning a visit to Harvard as was the intent of my trip.
The room was very clean and quiet. The beds were very comfortable. My only complaint is that I had to request additional bath towels. There was only one set , obviously not enough for my family. (I had booked accomadations for a party of three) It only took ONE HOUR for housekeeping to deliver them.
Henrietta's Table was a lovely choice for breakfast. The atmoshpere was pleasant as well as the staff. I did not have the chance to experience the other dining options available as I chose to dine at one of the numerous restaraunts in the Harvard Square area.
At check in and departure, I found the front desk staff to be pleasant and helpful.
The cost of $279 plus taxes per night was a bit much for this hotel. I would consider giving this eatablishment another try but only if I can gat a better rate.
Two Steps from Harvard Yard
We chose the Charles Hotel for its proximity to Harvard Square. It's on the doorstep, and you can walk out at midnight and join the never ending parade of students, professors and traffic in the Square. Cross the street and you're at Harvard, or jump in your car to get to Boston by Mass Avenue or by the river.
The Charles is a relatively new hotel, built in the red brick moderne style popular in New England. We had a good-sized room for the 3 of us (including our 16 year old son) with two queens and a roll-away bed. We were squeezed but not unduly. The beds (but not the roll-away) were comfortable. There were all the basic amenities, including mini-bar and wireless internet-all of them expensive but useful necessities. My family opened the glass jar of nuts, which I didn't have the heart to check out the cost of. Couldn't find an ice machine on our floor as I tramped up and down with the ice bucket. However there are lovely views of Cambridge from the hallways. Bathroom was functional-no complaints.
The public rooms downstairs on the first and second floors are spacious, with bookshelves filled with books on many subjects. Most guests,though, seem to be on the cell phone or are off to visit one of the several bars and restaurants on the premises or across the courtyard. We ate at Legal Seafoods (more prevalent than McDonald's in Boston), which was literally underneath our room, with lovely tables outside for a sunny day. It rained, so we ate inside.
Had no time to check out the gym or pool. Serice was OK. At check-out I needed to print out my airline boarding pass. The "business center" (one computer and a printer) was broken so the desk staff allowed me to use their internet terminal behind the reception desk. Valet was easy and efficient. Didn't use room service.
All of this convenience comes at a price (over $350 a night). Next time I might try one of the hotels nearby such as the Harvard Yard Hotel (next door) if the price was right, but this is a safe, mainstream choice for a centrally located Cambridge hotel.
Only stayed one night for some campus tours so had no time to enjoy all amenities ( gym, restaurants). Boston is tough to travel around by car so had a little trouble finding the place. Room/bed was comfortable and staff was friendly. They helped with directions. Kids loved the TV screen inside the bathroom mirror. I got a good deal on the hotel rates but if I had to pay rack rates would not think hotel is worth the price unless staying by Harvard.
eh - convenient, but that's about it
The website promised something along the lines of a W or Ritz Carlton. Instead, I found this hotel to be comparable to a Hampton Inn. All in all, it was average to disappointing, given the price ($300+) for the space (tight), the service (iffy), and the amenities (standard).
The room decor was bland and there was little storage space. Most of the typical armoire was taken up by the tv (not lcd) and the mini-bar, leaving three small drawers for clothing. The desk was an estimated 30"wide x 24"deep - room enough for a laptop, but don't plan on spreading out papers. There was one empty outlet by the desk and no empty ones were to be found anywhere else in the room so plan on either working in the dark and/or fitting all your chargeables in the sockets in the bathroom (two outlets). This just makes life more interesting If you've got two people in the room, each with a cell phone, IPod/PDA and a computer. Access to their wireless network cost $10 per day - this should have been included.
Service was spotty and not up to my expectations for a hotel of this level. We arrived a couple hours before the standard check-in time and had to check our bags. We've done this countless times in other hotels. We're used to the Front Desk staff taking care of everything, regardless of whether they need to contact the bellmen, concierge, etc. At this hotel, it's a multi-step process and you are required to go from front desk to concierge to bellman yourself. We left a cell phone number so that they could contact us when our room was ready. We were told it would be just an extra half hour to hour. I'm still waiting on that phone call.
The only real plus to this hotel is it's location. If you're visiting a child at Harvard, this is as convenient as it gets, if you don't mind 2 star accommodations at 4 star prices.
zuhur's new Massachusetts Page
Lived in Boston for 2 years, so it's fun to visit.
This time was a business trip & had a nice stay at
the Omni Parker Hotel (near the Common), great
old-fashioned dining room (they invented the Parker
roll). Visited the giant mall, convention center which
connects the Marriott, Sheraton & Copley Place -- all OK, but I liked my hotel better (more old-fashioned).
Ate in a restaurant that was new to me & terrific.
Henrietta's Plate in the Charles Hotel just off
Harvard Square. Wonderful seasonal veggies