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“Charles Hotel, Cambridge” 5 of 5 stars
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Charles Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA 02138   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 17 hotels in Cambridge
Houston, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Charles Hotel, Cambridge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

Very nice historic hotel in the heart of Cambridge, MA. The location couldn't be better -- close to everything but on a back street with little traffic.My room (double) was very quiet and well appointed. I especially appreciated the deep soaking tub and TV inset into the bathroom mirror. I also loved the comfortable lobby with the free lending library!

The only "drawback" is lack of in-room coffee maker. Although the hotel provide complimentary coffee on request, I prefer to make my own cup of tea at bedtime. Easily remedied by purchasing a hotpot at the local CVS, though.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ejstefan, General Manager at Charles Hotel, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Thank you for your kind words regarding your stay. I am glad you enjoyed your guestroom as well as everything the surrounding area has to offer. Regarding coffee makers and tea kettles in your guestroom, these are available upon request and are based on availability. Simply call the front desk and they are always happy to assist you. If I can assist you further, please do not hesitate to contact me at aattia@charleshotel.com. Thank you again and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Charles sometime soon.

Sincerely,
Alex Attia
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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NYC/NJ
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

I have been staying at the Charles Hotel several times a year for nearly 20 years. With few exceptions, the experience has been 4 star (they bill themselves as a 5 star hotel, but they really are a 4 star hotel with 5 star pricing).
However, this latest visit, was horrible in every way possible -- including the fact that I was assaulted in their garage by a crazy Avis employee (Avis leases garage space from the Charles Hotel).

I won't go into all of the details, but suffice to say I now have a case number and a detective assigned to the case.
This may seem like it doesn't relate to the actual hotel experience but it certainly does. I have parked my own car in this lot (underneath the hotel) for years. It is well lit, small, and has never been a problem before. However, several years ago -- in order to make more money -- The Charles Hotel started renting out parking spaces to Avis (there is an Avis desk in the hotel). They also took parking spaces away from guests of the hotel (they hope that guests will valet park instead, which costs more).

The Avis employee -- since reported to Avis and being investigated -- was driving way too fast in this small garage and nearly ran me over.
He then didn't like that I yelled,"Hey -- you are going to hit me!" (I had luggage and it was hard to get out of the way). After trying to take
a photo of the car he was driving (to send to Avis to prove what happened), he jumped out of the car and tried to get my iPhone away from me. I held on. He then grabbed my shoulder, and put his hands on my arm (I have three huge bruises) and pushed me. Another Avis employee came running to my aid. I was stunned. The entire time the crazy guy was screaming at me (in poor English, but understandable).

Even though I am 5 ft. 6 and 135 pounds (and quite fit for a woman in her mid 50's), and he was shorter than me, and overweight, I
chose to walk away. His eyes were rolling around his head like he was either mentally ill or "on" something (I didn't spell alcohol). I immediately went up to the hotel (less than 20 stairs away) and told them what happened. They referred me to the Avis counter where I related my story. The Avis clerks didn't seem shocked, nor particularly horrified for me (or very interested. What kind of people are they?). I insisted they call the manager (not on duty, of course), which they did. The manager said he was, "25 minutes away and couldn't do anything." He then said, "if you were my wife, I would call the police" (my husband wasn't traveling with me on this trip. It was a family reunion. I am originally from Boston. I am also there frequently on business).

I went over to one of the many hotel concierges and bellmen who were standing around and one of them called the Cambridge police. The cop came quickly and was great (truly). One of the concierges had gone downstairs to identify the nutcase (this guy was the only person at the hotel who impressed me. At least he took the time to go downstairs!). There are 24 hour cameras in the garage so his actions (i.e. his pushing me) could easily be identified.

All of this drama before I even checked in! At first I didn't hold the hotel responsible at all, but then I realized that they
were partly to blame for having an unsafe environment just 20 steps below their lobby. In fact, several of the concierges/bellmen seemed (briefly) concerned (then again I was sitting in the middle of their lobby with the Cambridge police!), but except for offering to take my bags upstairs to my room (warranting a tip, surely), there was no follow through going forward. The GM, who knows me, didn't call or email. In fairness, he was out of town for days, but did email me when I told him what happened. However, he didn't seem particular concerned or upset for me either (he said he would "look into the Avis incident." Gee, thanks). You might have thought that his hotel employees would have let him know that someone was assaulted in his hotel!

Other issues:

** The front desk desk used to be both well trained and nice. Now (with one exception, a very nice youngish dark haired guy) they are
like robots -- they say little, ask for your credit card and that's about it. The young woman behind the desk (blond) didn't even seem to care that I was assaulted minutes before I checked in (officially). She barely even looked at me. The first rule of customer service at a hotel is to engage the customer (that would be me). Perhaps she missed that part of her job training (or wasn't trained at all).

** My room itself with clean, and they got my requirements correct (I had called two days before to remind them of what I needed. The original person at reception could not have been more bored by my call, but the manager -- not the GM -- was helpful). The room is
nice (as I've said in a previous review), but not truly luxurious in any way. During the holidays their rates can be well over $450. Not worth it. Even with a holiday summer rate, and triple A, it was $300 with taxes (certainly too high).

** The hall outside of my room (10th floor) was filthy (it needed vacuuming immediately) from the time I checked in (around 5pm), until I called to complain the next am (around 11am). This sort of dirt is simply not acceptable. Also, there was food (it looked like take out that someone had left in the hall on the tables) there for hours (it smelled bad). That was only removed when I complained.

** I had room service (I was too shaken up to go out for dinner). The food was fine, if over priced (par for the course), but there were some items missing when it was delivered. I didn't even realize it myself until the room service person (a nice guy) left. I then called to
say the items were missing and he came right back up. Still, shouldn't a simple order (it was pasta) be right to begin with?

** I didn't expect anything to be comped, or to have anything nice to be sent to my room (although it should have been), but to make matters worse they even forgot to deliver my newspaper (a standard order which I've had for nearly 20 years!) the next day. Others on the same floor had their newspapers delivered (they plop it outside the door).

** The next morning I went to speak to the concierge on duty, Geoff, to tell him that things were not acceptable, and to show him my bruises (I took pics for the Cambridge police). He said, "ok, ok, ok, ok." Not ONE ounce of compassion or caring. He could not have looked more disinterested. I asked him if he had been on duty the day before (when all of this happened) and he said, "no." But does that mean you shouldn't care about a guest? Disgraceful!

** I was so disgusted that I decided to check out a day early (I was within the time when I wouldn't be charged for a second day). When I went downstairs to settle my bill, not one person -- including the same blond -- seemed to be the least bit concerned that:

a) I was leaving early
b) or why

But they sure made sure I was charged for a Diet Coke from the fridge!


Other observations:

** This hotel is essentially an upscale Holiday Inn (as it's always been). That has been fine for me as it's in a fabulous location, and again, the GM knows me so I've usually gotten a little better service. Certainly not true this time, and his lack of caring and concern about a guest being assaulting is truly horrible. I did send an email to the people who own the hotel. We'll see if I hear from them or not.

This holiday weekend the hotel staff seemed to be totally out of their league with guests (guests were running around with no shoes in the lobby and more. Ugh), although the hotel itself didn't seem to be any busier than it normally is (guest-wise). Do note they were well staffed, but most of the staff seemed to either be invisible (no where to be found) or talking to each other in the lobby.

** Housekeeping needs to be retrained (obviously), or at least they need to learn how to clean a hallway.

There are plenty of good things about this hotel (again, see my previous review) - mainly the location -- but it's gone from 5 stars (I gave it 5 stars not because it was a 5 star hotel, but because of the service) to one star. Actually NO stars considering that I was assaulted in their garage and the non-concern of their staff (minus one or two staff members on the day it happened who did seem to care. But again, there was a Cambridge police officer in their lobby, and that couldn't have looked good to other guests).

The other Harvard Square hotels are simply not very impressive either. For example. The Veritas also has mediocre to good customer service, and is pretty, but on a very noisy street and has terribly overpriced tiny rooms. There is also no room service, and on my last stay the didn't get any of my requests right. Perhaps they have improved since Dec. 2013). The others hotels in the area 2 two stars at best (maybe 3). The Kimpton -- closer to MIT - is a nice hotel, but it is not in Harvard Square.

There are, of course, excellent Boston proper hotels. I grew up spending a lot of time in Harvard Square which is why I prefer staying there, but it looks like that won't be possible in the future.

Shame on the Charles Hotel for this horrific customer service and total lack of caring for their guests (there were other guests complaining when I was checking out). As for the garage -- STAY OUT OF IT! The Avis supervisor (national) was great (and I'm not even an Avis customer. I always use Hertz when traveling), and I am sure this crazy person will be fired (and of course there's a police file now), but the Charles cares more about renting space out (they should have one of their own employees in the garage) than keeping guests safe (and sorry, but I will not pay more $$ to valet park. It already costs $36 a day to self park!)

Please excuse typos etc. Two days after "the incident," I am still a little shook up by it.

Room Tip: If you do stay at this hotel, ask for a room on a high floor which overlooks like courtyard (you'...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ejstefan, General Manager at Charles Hotel, responded to this review, July 25, 2013
We are aware of this matter and have fully complied with the proper authorities such that a thorough investigation of the allegations could be made. The safety and wellbeing of all our guests is at all times a top priority for us.

Sincerely,
Alex Attia
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockville, Maryland
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

I stayed here while attending a course at Harvard Graduate School of Education. The hotel was excellent in every way including room, amenities, dining and particularly customer service. I would definitely stay here again if the opportunity arose. Great Location!

Room Tip: Try to avoid getting a room overlooking the pool
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ejstefan, General Manager at Charles Hotel, responded to this review, July 5, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback on your recent stay with us at The Charles Hotel. I am glad you enjoyed every aspect of your visit and I appreciate your kind words. Please feel free to contact me at aattia@charleshotel.com if I can assist you further. Thank you again and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Charles Hotel sometime soon.

Sincerely,
Alex Attia
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013 via mobile

I've stayed here a handful of times and I'm always happy with the service, the lovely rooms and the location. It's within easy walking distance of many fun attractions and it has convenient parking. The staff is friendly and it's always well kept up.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ejstefan, General Manager at Charles Hotel, responded to this review, July 5, 2013
I am happy to hear you enjoyed every aspect of your stay with us at The Charles Hotel and that you were able to take advantage of everything the surrounding area has to offer. If I can assist you further, please do not hesitate to conotact me at aattia@charleshotel.com. Thank you again and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Charles sometime soon.

Sincerely,
Alex Attia
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2013

We were dropping off our daughter at Harvard and stayed in this hotel simply because of its proximity to the school. It is a very clean, nicely run hotel, without any pretensions. We had several meals at Henrietta's which is a lovely restaurant with solid, well prepared food.

It would have been overall an amazing experience had it not been for a waitress by name Amelia who left a highly unfavorable impression by being utterly standoffish, not helpful, and simply the best living proof of how even one, most insignificant employee can affect a reputation of the entire institution. Nevertheless, we will be back and we highly recommend this place.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ejstefan, General Manager at Charles Hotel, responded to this review, July 5, 2013
Thank you for your kind words regarding your stay at The Charles Hotel. I am pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit and your time spent dining at Henrietta's Table. I apologize for any interactions with our staff which put a damper on your stay. Please know that guest satisfaction is our top priority here at The Charles Hotel and we are constantly working on improving. If you have any further comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me at aattia@charleshotel.com. Thank you again and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Charles sometime soon.

Sincerely,
Alex Attia
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2013

Was there for a conference and overall, a great experience as I only had to travel one floor down to attend. Everything is really great, the rooms are superb and the beds are extremely comfy. You will have one of the best sleeps in your life. I was surprised there was a mini bar and a table full of goodies - don't be tempted to eat and drink these as they will charge it onto your credit card.

My only advice is if you are coming from the airport, be prepared to walk a bit and carry your luggage up and down the stairs if you take the subway. A taxi is quite expensive to and from the hotel as they do not offer a shuttle service. Hopefully in the future they will and this will make staying there that much better.

Check In/Out was very fast and concierge was extremely nice and helpful with tips for exploring Boston. I loved getting the free newspaper everyday I was there as well.

Try out their restauarants as well, very good and well worth the money.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ejstefan, General Manager at Charles Hotel, responded to this review, July 5, 2013
Thank you for your feedback regarding your stay at The Charles Hotel. I am happy to hear you enjoyed your visit and appreciate your kind words regarding our staff, your guestroom and your time spent dining with us. I also appreciate your suggestions for improvement and I will take these into consideration. If I can assist you further, please do not hesitate to contact me at aattia@charleshotel.com. Thank you again and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Charles in the future.

Sincerely,
Alex Attia
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oslo, Norway
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2013

The best hotel in Cambridge in terms of location if you have to be around Harvard Square. But what makes it excellent in my opinion is the staff! The latter becomes more obvious and more important as one becomes a repeat guest. I have stayed there for many years and somehow took it for granted and did not think of writing a review before. What is that saying?? That we take for granted those or that which we hold dear? In any case, for a fairly large hotel they have managed to make each guest feel important and unique and most welcome. The tone is set by the manager Mr. A Attia who is visible around the hotel and always attentive. So whether having a drink at Henrietta and being so well served by Garrett or attending a 300 + dinner and having Mustafa and the others manning the bar or serving the food, you recognize the same staff and receive the same top service. I mentioned names above because it is indicative of the personal service one receives at the hotel and of the fact that you see the same individuals year after year! The latter not a common experience any more...and one that I value.

Room Tip: Most rooms are good and similar. I highly recommend this hotel for the service and location!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ejstefan, General Manager at Charles Hotel, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Thank you for your kind words regarding your experience at The Charles Hotel. I am happy to hear your every need was met during your stay and you enjoyed your interactions with our staff. It will be my pleasure to share your comments with the team. Please, do not hesitate to contact me at aattia@charleshotel.com if there is anything I can do to add to your visit. Thank you again and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Charles sometime soon.

Sincerely,
Alex Attia
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Charles Hotel

Address: 1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Location: United States > Massachusetts > Cambridge
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Romantic Hotel in Cambridge
#4 Business Hotel in Cambridge
#9 Family Hotel in Cambridge
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Charles Hotel 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located just minutes from downtown Boston and a variety of world-class attractions, The Charles is a AAA Four Diamond Hotel and a proud member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts.Reflecting the eclecticism that is Cambridge, The Charles Hotel is a modern interpretation of New England hospitality with a thriving jazz club, the Regattabar, two signature restaurants, ice-skating rink (winter months only), state of the art conference facilities, Corbu Spa & Salon, and a central location in the heart of Harvard Square.The Hotel is home to Henrietta’s Table, featuring “fresh and honest” home cooking, and Rialto, recognized by one of the best restaurants in America by Gourmet, Food & Wine and Esquire. Noir, the hotel’s chic, cozy bar, serves classic cocktails mixed to perfection and sultry signature drinks. Since its opening in 1985, The Regattabar has established itself as the leading jazz and world music club in Boston and the New England area. Corbu Spa & Salon is named after famed architect and designer, Le Corbusier and offers a harmonious escape from the stresses of urban life. A French influenced menu offers seasonal treatments with locally sourced ingredients. Open daily.Catering to internationally renowned business leaders, government officials, entertainment executives and leisure travelers alike, it’s no wonder that the New England Travel Guide has designated The Charles as the best hotel to “stay put in” when visiting Boston. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Charles Hotel Cambridge

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