Good B&B or hotel close to Harvard?
February 25, 2020 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Hi, I'm interviewing in the area on Thursday and thought I might stay there on Wednesday & Thursday night. Are there good hotels or B&Bs that are convenient to the Museum of Natural History side of the Harvard campus?

I don't necessarily need to be walking distance, but I don't want to be on the other side of the river or on the MIT side of Cambridge, if that makes sense.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 to Travel & Transportation around Cambridge, MA (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming you don't want to stay at the expensive Charles Hotel, your best bet is The Harvard Square Hotel.
posted by Melismata at 9:59 AM on February 25, 2020

Everything's expensive there, of course, but the Sheraton Commander is quite close. I'd try "A Friendly Inn at Harvard" or Irving House, also pretty close.
posted by wellred at 10:01 AM on February 25, 2020

There's also Hotel Veritas on Mass Ave., which I haven't stayed at personally but which has some less expensive options.
posted by praemunire at 10:17 AM on February 25, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks! Would also help if people have thoughts/experiences with hotel quality etc. although location info is super helpful too :)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:25 AM on February 25, 2020

I'm always recommending this place in nearby Porter Square, which is where I always used to stay before I got a dog. It's very affordable and a great location.
posted by cakelite at 10:25 AM on February 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh I've stayed at the Commander personally and placed guests at the other places I mention above with success (granted a bunch of years ago, but I don't expect they've gone particularly downhill). Harvard Square Hotel is not fancy but is fine. The Charles is Super Lovely but wicked pricey as we say.
posted by wellred at 10:39 AM on February 25, 2020

Irving House, The Mary Prentiss Inn, Harding House, A Cambridge House, and juuuuust over the city line into Arlington you'll find the Homewood Suites, an easy bus ride away especially if you're travelling with commuting traffic.

I or relatives of mine have stayed at all of the above except A Cambridge House. In terms of the guesthouses, I guess I'd rank them nicest to least as: Mary Prentiss, Harding House, Irving House, and A Cambridge House. Though none of them are bad, I think Harding and Irving are just more my vibe than Cambridge House. The Mary Prentiss, Irving, and Harding Houses would all be an easy walk to the HMNH. Harding is probably the farthest of those at about 20-30 min walk.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:42 AM on February 25, 2020

Irving House I've heard was a nice experience. Also, family has stayed at the AC Hotel a couple of times out by Alewife station on the red line and liked it. She didn't do the walk to Alewife station, but it appears to be walking paths, sidewalks, and crosswalks the whole way. I had a look at that because I figured that its proximity to rte 2 would surely mean that it wasn't walkable.
posted by turkeybrain at 11:29 AM on February 25, 2020

There are 4 big hotels in Harvard Square, none of them are bad, but none of them are cheap:

The Charles is the luxury hotel. It's the place where celebrities stay when they're doing something at Harvard. My spouse used to run fancy events there and I once ended up riding the elevator with Chris Matthews. Expect to pay at least $250/night and get the best of everything.
The Harvard Square Hotel used to be the cheap one, where people who were willing to accept a little shabbiness could get much better prices, but they renovated about 8 years ago, and both the quality of the premises and the prices have gone up dramatically.
The Sheraton Commander is the old historic hotel. Slightly cheaper and slightly less fancy than the Charles. We had our wedding guests stay there.
Hotel Veritas is the newest of the bunch, and the one I know the least about, but it looks like it's basically charging about 75% of what the Charles charges for a room about 60% of the size.

I can't speak to the B&Bs, other than to say that I've walked by most of them and they all look cute and quaint from the outside.

If you're more price-sensitive, and you don't want to go the B&B route, there are a bunch of hotels with easy bus access to Harvard. Other have mentioned some of the hotels along the Cambridge/Arlington line, in the other direction, there's a Holiday Inn in East Somerville that's recently renovated and has a bus (the 86) that goes directly to the northeast side Harvard's campus. The big downside for all of these is that they're not in neighborhoods you'll particularly want to hang out in. The East Somerville Holiday Inn, for example is on a big main road that runs between a residential neighborhood and an office/industrial park.
posted by firechicago at 11:36 AM on February 25, 2020

The Charles is the fanciest. I consider the latest renovations to have deprived it of charm, but that's subjective.

The Commander's kind of old and stuffy. I had a friend have a bad experience there, but honestly she's on the high-maintenance side so I'm not sure who was to blame.

Sometimes, if I can get a good deal, I stay at Nine Zero, which is the Kimpton on the Boston Common. It's like three stops on the Red Line from Park St. to Harvard, 20 mins. max. It's a touch more modern. I know it's across the river, I mention it only because if you can land one of their specials, it's reasonable value for money without being crazy far.
posted by praemunire at 2:04 PM on February 25, 2020

I spent a night at the Commander in 2017 and found it quite pleasant.
posted by actionstations at 2:24 PM on February 25, 2020

I have stayed at the Mary Prentiss and it was lovely!
posted by chocotaco at 3:51 PM on February 25, 2020

Oh yeah, I forgot about those hotels by Alewife. I'd recommend the Freepoint over the AC. There's a bus straight to Harvard Square a hop-skip-anajump from its front door. It was also recently renovated and the lobby/common/working spaces are good.

There are also two new hotels in Porter Square, The Porter Sq Hotel and Hotel 1868. Rooms in the PSH are small, but the house restaurant is good and you've got the T almost out the front door. I don't know anything about Hotel 1868 except its address, also virtually across the street from the T.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:23 PM on February 25, 2020

I have stayed at the Commander and the Charles both in the past few years. They are both fine The Charles is ridic in that sort of "supposedly fun thing you'll never do again" way (someone else was paying,would never spend my own money, room). Commander is old and cramped but I had a very nice room there (pic doesn't do it justice) and it was quiet which was a minor miracle considering the location.
posted by jessamyn at 7:21 PM on February 25, 2020

My info is rather dated, but c. 15 years ago the Friendly Inn was a perfectly good stay. I'd probably stay at it over the Harvard Square Hotel, where I've stayed more recently, because it's much cheaper and likely quieter (and probably 5-10 minutes closer to your campus destination, though either is convenient).
posted by TwoStride at 7:34 PM on February 25, 2020

Response by poster: I'd recommend the Freepoint over the AC. There's a bus straight to Harvard Square a hop-skip-anajump from its front door. It was also recently renovated and the lobby/common/working spaces are good.

This is what I ended up doing. I wanted to stay in a B&B but found their websites really difficult to navigate, especially with my mobility limitations which mean I need to guarantee no stairs. I also appreciated that the Freepoint was near a TJMAXX for last minute emergency clothes and a Whole Foods for last minute emergency snacks.

The restaurant/bar there was pretty good, but no room service, which was a bummer. The phones in the room did not seem to ever be able to connect to anyone at the front desk, so that was a weird thing. And the Lyft drivers had a hard time getting into and out of the parking lot---there's a wicked chaotic roundabout right there and it stymied them more than once.

Other than that, it was a nice room and an okay location if you're okay with being out of walking distance, but within reasonable bus/Lyft distance.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:37 PM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, also, the Freepoint has a Starbucks attached and there's a drugstore right there, too. That plus the Whole Foods and the TJMAXX make it a really convenient place for a job interview related stay. No worries about having to drive to any of the basic necessities. The drive to Harvard is about 15-20 minutes in traffic, at most. I have ridden and appreciated the 77 before, too. All in all, it seems like a good "job interview near Harvard" hotel.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:42 PM on March 7, 2020

« Older I'm a nice person. Really!!   |   Why is my iMac slow after rebooting? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.