Housed in side-by-side 19th-century townhouses amid the gas streetlights and cobblestoned streets of Boston's Beacon Hill, the high-end Beacon Hill Hotel retains a distinctly European feel. Owners and neighborhood residents Peter and Cecilia Rait bought the properties with the intent of bringing an Old World travel experience to the United States (both spent extensive time working in hospitality overseas). Since the hotel opened in 2000, the intimate property has hosted innumerable A-listers seeking a lower profile, from Cameron Diaz to Martin Scorsese to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
An extensive renovation in 2011 overhauled each of the 13 rooms, adding plantation shutters, pedestal sinks, flat-panel TVs with DirecTV, and windows that actually open for fresh air. The second-floor common area invites guests to meet and mingle; all visitors also enjoy a complimentary full breakfast at the award-winning Beacon Hill Bistro downstairs.
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The hotel places you right at the base of historic Beacon Hill, a beautiful enclave of refurbished brownstones, pocket-sized boutiques, and tucked-away antique shops. Nearby sites like the State House, Boston Common, and Public Garden are steps away, with the Theatre District and Back Bay also reachable on foot. Every visit should include a dinner at the venerated Beacon Hill Bistro, but other nearby fine-dining options abound, including wine bar Bin 26, French restaurant Hungry I, and Barbara Lynch’s No. 9 Park.
Need to Know
Rooms: 12 rooms, 1 suite. From $229. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The Beacon Hill Bistro fuses French cuisine with locally sourced New England ingredients for a first-rate dining experience. The fireplace bar inside the restaurant attracts a quiet, after-theater crowd. Spa and gym details: There isn’t a spa or fitness center in the small hotel, but an extended walk along the neighborhood’s cobblestoned streets promises a workout. The nearby Esplanade offers picturesque running routes along the Charles River.
Who's it for: Both business travelers and vacationers looking for a sophisticated escape in a city environs. Our favorite rooms: Jake's Suite on the fifth floor, the hotel’s largest room, with skylights and vaulted ceilings (just be aware that it requires two additional flights of stairs). Rooftop retreat: The hotel has a private, residential-feeling roof terrace overlooking Charles Street, perfect for morning coffee or afternoon reading.