Overview of Boston Area Starwood Hotels

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by Derek, Apr 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Derek
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    Derek Silver Member

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    Hi all,

    I haven't posted much of substance lately, so I thought I'd post a brief review of Starwood's offerings in Boston. I apologize for the rambling nature of this post; I do not really have a review template so I sort of just wrote what came to mind as I thought of it. Anyhow, hopefully it will be of some use to people who are considering different SPG hotels in Boston.

    NOTE: There are two SPG hotels in Cambridge, MA., the Sheraton Commander and Le Meridien. I am unfamiliar with these properties so hopefully someone else can opine on them.

    Disclaimer: This thread is as accurate as I could make it but I cannot guarantee it's accuracy.

    Ranked in order of my personal preference
    #1 The Liberty Hotel
    The newest addition to SPG in the city. This hotel is housed in the former Charles Street Jail, which makes it a fascinating property (When it was still a jail, Babe Ruth visited and joked that it was not a jail, but a hotel. Many decades later, his joke became a reality!). It is located near Mass. General Hospital and the Charles River. Aside from the hotel itself, there is not much in the way of nightlife/dining within walking distance. If you do cab it elsewhere, be sure not to stay out too late as there will be a crush for cabs around last call. I have heard horror stories of people waiting hours for taxis late at night. There is a section of rooms in the old jail itself, which are probably really neat but I have not stayed in one. Most of the rooms are in a new, adjacent tower. The rooms are the best amongst Starwood hotels in the city, spacious with separate marble baths/showers etc. Rooms have a solid 4.5 star feel to them. The property does not have many suites; I think they have one presidential type suite, as well as a single "Charles River View Suite" on each of the floors of the tower used for guest rooms. (I believe the tower is 16 floors, but 1st and 2nd floors are used for other things... gym is on 2nd floor etc.) I would guesstimate the property has 10-14 suites but I cannot say for sure. These suites, which end in -01 are in a corner of the tower overlooking the Charles and are simply lovely. They have a very large bathroom, and a separate living/dining room with a half bath. Valet parking is $42 a night (IIRC this is the same at the W, Westin Copley, and Sheraton but I'm not certain). There are, I believe 3 separate well reviewed dining facilities here but I am not in a position to judge them. On weekends, like the W which I will review next, the (beautiful) common areas take on a party atmosphere, and the lobby fills up with a youthful, drunken crowd (I can generally be found with this bunch:)) People queue up outside waiting to get into the Alibi, a bar on the first floor, or the bar in the lobby. I have not used it but the gym facility looks to be small for this size/class of property. All around, the front desk staff are the best I've dealt with, systemwide. Platinum treatment is good, but due to the lack of suites, upgrades, particularly during the week, may be hard to come by. For the past few weeks this property had been loading C&P availability, but sadly, it looks as if the property has decided not to make this option available anymore. IIRC when I inquired about the platinum amenity I was told it was a box of chocolates and water. Like all of the Boston SPG properties, rates fluctuate wildly depending on conferences, time of year, etc.

    #2 The W.
    My former favorite Boston SPG hotel. Terrific (and attractive), friendly service, fun W vibe, but terrible finishings and nearly no chance of suite upgrades. Apparently this property has been plagued with financial issues, and it shows. IIRC, someone on FT called it "an Aloft with lipstick." I could not have put it better myself, the whole place, particularly the rooms, just feel cheap compared to other W properties. This may have changed recently, but last time I was there room service shut off around 2am. Property has only 2 suites (called Wow and E-WOW I believe), which I believe are in the "specialty" bucket and not generally in the upgrade pool. So platinum suite upgrades are VERY hard to come by, and generally not on the table. That being said, other reviewer have said these are among the coolest/nicest suites they've ever seen. Like the Liberty, the lobby takes on a party atmosphere on Fridays and Saturdays, with bouncers and a line out front. I cannot comment on the dining options or gym, though I know there is a Jean Georges restaurant called Market in the building. This hotel is in the theater district, with lots going on around it, e.g. theaters/nightclubs/restaurants etc. IMHO location is preferable to the Liberty's The staff here is very good and Platinum and Gold members receive handwritten notes thanking them for their loyalty, as well as a (tiny) bottle of Fiji water and some salty chocolate concoction that is quite good.

    #3 The Sheraton Back Bay
    This is actually a pretty run of the mill Sheraton, with a few things worth noting. It is in the Back Bay area right near lots of good food and drink on Boylston St. It is the biggest hotel in the city, and has an abundance of suites, making this the best SPG property in Boston if you are a Plat and need lots of space. That being said, for some reason the suites (and presumably the rooms) all seem to have TINY bathrooms. Furnishings are well-kept-up but not fancy. I believe there are two towers with guest rooms, known as the North and South towers. I do not recall which one is which, but the Club lounge is on the 29th floor of one of them. This is interesting because the Club rooms and suites are actually on the 28th and 29th (maybe the 27th as well, I'm not sure) floors, so you can be on a club floor, without being on the same level as the club lounge. This is no big deal though as obviously if you are a club level guest you can access the lounge with your key. The club lounge is typical in terms of its food offerings, but with spectacular views of the city. The Club floors are serviced by separate express elevators. I have not seen the gym, but am told it was recently renovated. IIRC it is on the fifth floor of the same tower as the Club floors, and is also home to one of the biggest indoor pools in New England. The pool has a retractable roof. Room service is not available late night or, much to my surprise, and in contradiction of the room service pamphlet, mid-afternoon. There is a restaurant off the lobby which is fine, but certainly not exceptional. There are lots of flight crews and children at this hotel. In my experience this property is the most likely of the SPG hotels in Boston to load C&P availability $60+4000pts. Service here is solid but unremarkable.

    #4 The Westin Copley Place
    Great location by Copley Square. I am reluctant to write a review of this property because it was just recently renovated. I cannot comment on the renovated rooms as I have not seen them, but the old rooms were dated. Room service, unlike at the Sheraton is 24 hours. In the past, I have received upgrades to "junior suites" which are essentially very large corner rooms. I do not know how the renovations affected the number of suites, junior suites, etc, so I won't speculate as to the availability of suite upgrades. Hopefully a more recent guest might be able to shed more light in this regard. Basically, as a platinum, I would stay at the Sheraton over the pre-renovation Westin any day because of the large number of big suites available at the Sheraton. I cannot comment on the Westin post renovation. While in different locations, I would rate the location of the Sheraton and Westin Copley the same, ahead of the W and Liberty. Service here is slightly better than at the Sheraton, but not significantly so. There is a seafood restaurant here that I have heard people like.

    #5 The Westin Boston Waterfront
    I have never stayed here so I cannot say anything about it. All I know is that there are several up and coming-sports bars, music venues/clubs nearby, as well as a Morton's.

    Not in Boston, but here because it has Boston in its name which might be misleading:
    Four Points Boston Airport
    Not in Boston, not near Boston Logan Airport, not near anything sans a seedy strip club and some family dining type places. Unsubstantiated rumor has it that to call yourself an airport hotel you must be within 5 miles of the airport, and this hotel is like 4.9 miles from Logan, giving it the dubious distinction of being the airport hotel farthest from an actual airport. Avoid if possible, unless you just need a place to sleep for a few hours. Rooms are terrible. To their credit, they are good about early check ins, at least when I was there (I think I checked in around 7:45am).
     
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  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Isn't there something like LM hotel@mit (Cambridge side of the river, located near a subway stop between MIT and Harvard) in Starwood or did they reflag recently? I think they (re)opened and joined SPG about two years ago.
     
  3. Derek
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    Derek Silver Member

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    Apologies, there is indeed a LM in Cambridge, as well as the Sheraton Commander. I probably should have omitted the Four Points and kept my reviews to Boston itself. I have never stayed at either of the two aforementioned properties. Would this thread be more comprehensible if I edited it to not include the Four Points?
     
  4. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    My preference would be to keep the information in, but mention the properties with which you're not personally familiar as additional choices. Someone else will probably add comments on the additional ones soon. Or, you could say what you know about them, such as location, and make clear that you haven't stayed. Just some suggestions....
     
  5. Derek
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    Derek Silver Member

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    Updated per your suggestions.
     
  6. mikeef
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    mikeef Silver Member

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    Thank you for the review. I live in Boston and didn't know the Liberty Hotel is now SPG. Next time my wife and I get a night away, we'll stay there.

    Mike
     
  7. Derek
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    Derek Silver Member

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    Good choice! I forgot to mention how beautiful the lobby is as well. Aspects of the old jail are well preserved, so you can still see the old platforms where the guards would walk and look down on the prisoners from. One of these days if I have more free time when I'm staying there I want to spend an hour or so just poking around.

    One thing I learned from the "about the hotel" type programming they have turned on in the room when you first check in, which you may already know from living in Boston, is that the signature tower atop the hotel was actually much shorter when it was a jail. I had assumed it was original, but apparently it is not. When the jail was designed, the plans specified the tower should be the height it is now, but the project ran short on funds so they made is much lower; when it became a hotel they rebuilt it to the originally called for height.
     
  8. jammanxc
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    jammanxc Silver Member

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    The four points boston logan airport hotel is not bad at all, i stayed there a few days ago and the shuttle was prompt at picking me up at Terminal C arrivals. They also provide a free shuttle to the blue line "wonderland station" and a free pickup from that same station upon request. Shuttles are plentiful and run 24/7 upon request only. Meaning, just call them when you deplane since it will take them 20 minutes to get to you. From Wonderland station to downtown, it only takes 12 minutes on the blue line
     
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  9. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Hate to quibble, but I just finished a one night stay at the Four Points BOS and it was, without a doubt, the worst hotel stay I've had in about 2-3 years. Hotel shuttle was called and dispatched only to have it drive past me 30 minutes later without stopping. Called the hotel to ask what was going on and was told that they got a call for a flight crew after I called and picked them up instead, sorry we'll get you on the next round. Took me an hour to get to the hotel.

    Once I checked in as a SPG Gold member they gave me a room on the first floor that had a window that looked out over the indoor pool. Literally directly on the other side of the window was a plastic table and chairs with people enjoying a chit chat in their bathing suits when I walked into my room. They looked up and WAVED AT ME. It was almost like being an exhibit at the zoo. When I asked for a new room where I wouldn't be watching/listening to people swim while trying to sleep in the bed 3 feet from the window I was told that I could just pull the curtains closed and they'd never see me. Oh, great.

    Throw in the beat up rooms, the old furniture, and the dusty fixtures, this is the only hotel that is currently on my DO NOT STAY list. I was booked here for an overnight lay over on my way to NRT on JL's 787 service, but I'll be shifting to another Starwood property or the Hilton directly at the airport instead. That property was a nightmare.
     
  10. Flews
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    Flews Silver Member

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    Had a great stay at the Boston W last month. Excellent service and location. We were upgraded to a very nice corner suite. Furnishings were a bit too modern for our liking, but kind of nice to experience something different. My 4-year-old son forgot his 'gooch' (small, stuffed rabbit, sans stuffing), which the W quickly located and sent to us in Canada a few days later by courier, and at no cost. We would not hesitate to return.

    Cheers,
     
  11. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I used points for an award stay at the Liberty over Labor Day had a great stay. As stated up thread there arent many upgradeable rooms available but got a nice one overlooking to courtyard.

    Their signature restaurant Scampo is rated one of Bostons best Italian eateries and was very good.
    Wife was also pleased that the toiletries were Molson Brown.
     
  12. studio253
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    studio253 Silver Member

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    I stay at this hotel frequently. While I prefer to stay at the Hyatt Harborside right by the airport this is my second choice. They staff has always been excellent and the shuttle is punctual. That being said this property is a bit of a dump. It's a decent place to crash for the night and grab an early flight or use a park and stay package to save a ton versus paying to park at Logan. I absolutely wouldn't stay here for multiple days.
     

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