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“Quirky comfort”
Review of Hotel Commonwealth

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Hotel Commonwealth
Ranked #8 of 83 Hotels in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
“Quirky comfort”
Reviewed April 22, 2014

Very nice high-end hotel experience, in a one-of-a-kind venue. I love the way the hotel combines its historic location and unusual layout with top-of-the-line modern attitude and conveniences. Definitely one of my most pleasant recent hotel experiences.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled on business
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    • Service
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Thank stoshmaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Richmond
Level Contributor
87 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2014

Our 3rd time staying here and once again they went above expectations! I had requested reservations with Eastern Standard downstairs (a must for dinner or breakfast!). The request was handled promptly before our arrival. Upon arrival I realized I requested the wrong evening. The front desk was able to make the proper change within minutes! The second evening we rented 2 dvds from the desk. We contacted the front desk when we discovered the wire to the dvd player was broken. A repair man was at our room with in 5 minutes and repaired it promptly! They have the most attentive & friendly staff all around!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Barbara O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
428 reviews
97 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1,118 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2014

Everything about this hotel was disappointing (or worse!) apart from the Wi-Fi which is as good as it gets. Some aspects of the hotel are terrible. If you expect a great hotel experience in Boston this is not the place to stay.....I am astounded that Hotel Commonwealth is rated No 1 on Tripadvisor. The Commonwealth ask guests to review their stay on Tripadvisor. Many of these guests have also received upgrades arranged in advance in return for promoting the hotel on their Facebook pages....as can be seen just by reading many of the reviews published below where this is mentioned by guests. How many upgraded people therefore review the hotel?

It’s shameful to find such a poor hotel at the very top of the ratings....and because it is, my family of 5 ended up staying there for 5 days earlier this month. We were due to stay again for a further five days this month after a holiday in New York City but there was no way we were going to return even if it was free. We did not ask for any reduction on the hotel charges......we feel that if we take a reduction it is a little more difficult to expose a poor hotel on Tripadvisor.

The No 2 hotel for Boston listed on Tripadvisor (THE BOSTON HARBOR Hotel) is so totally superior in EVERY way and in every department that we switched our second reservation at the Commonwealth to the Boston Harbor Hotel and our stay was so perfect it’s like comparing chalk with cheese.

We arrived in Boston from London for our first April stay, checking in at Hotel Commonwealth on April 5th 2014. If not for my wife and one of my children being unwell, we would have left the next day even though we were booked in for four days.

There was a slightly odd smell in our rooms which I suspect may have come from the carpets that were dirty....in fact much of the hotel is far from clean...the breakfast room being worst of all. However we stayed for the duration of our booking which was until Saturday April 5th but we of course cancelled our return booking to Hotel Commonwealth which was from April 10th to April 15th. Between Boston stays we were in New York City staying at The Plaza on Central Park.....ranked No 142 on Tripadvisor for New York City....yet it was also absolutely marvellous compared to the Hotel Commonwealth...we were so relieved to be back at a terrific, professionally run, clean hotel. To have returned to Boston for another stay at Hotel Commonwealth would have been depressing......not something we could possibly have looked forward to...so we switched our arrangements.

Both of our Commonwealth reservations were made last August, 2013. Why did we book? Because it was No 1 on Tripadvisor. Why did we cancel our second visit later this month? Because the hotel is a very long way from being a No 1 Tripadvisor hotel......a VERY long way.

Reception management are argumentative and can be quite snide and condescending when they don’t have an answer to unsatisfactory faults at the hotel or make excuses for their own errors, refusing to apologise. One man on reception, tried to justify a rate overcharge on our morning of departure and I had to insist that rates confirmed at the time I booked seven months earlier were the only rates I would pay. If this hotel was good enough to actually make the Tripadvisor Top 20 I would have been very surprised.......but No 1? I really don’t think so.

The fact that we were given accomodation in the high floor.... DIRECTLY below major renovations taking place just above our heads could be put down to bad luck. Even great hotels have work carried out. But we were neither warned about this in advance or warned when we checked in. And every single person working on reception knew exactly where the works were taking place and how noisy they were. Instead they allowed us to unpack seven large suitcases......and then the noise started....terrible pounding sounds as if builders were pounding our ceiling from above (which they were) with heavyweight mallets laying floor slabs into sand.

On returning to the hotel after a fantastic family dinner at Legal Seafoods on our second night, the builders were still making unacceptable noise at 10pm at night. I called the front desk.....my little boy needed to get to sleep. The front desk told me that the works had finished, that they were only just moving sofas and there would be no further noise for the rest of our stay as all works were now complete. WRONG...it started again the following morning. My 14 year old daughter had wanted to stay in the hotel the previous day to complete schoolwork but not with that sort of noise going on. So she didn’t. Neither did she the following morning. She also didn’t feel at all well but rather than suffer noise she joined us for tourist stuff she had done before but which my wife hadn’t as this was my wife’s first visit to Boston. When I was last here with my children in 2012, my wife had to cancel and stay home due to poor health......this visit was special.....ruined by the Commonwealth Hotel.

In the confirmation letter that I received when booking last August, the hotel stated, “Our elegant guestrooms offer a luxurious sense of space with exceptional amenities......plush robes......
Hotel Commonwealth is a destination unto itself with the award winning Eastern Standard restaurant
and patio, We would like to recommend that you contact our concierge by email at concierge@hotelcommonwealth.com to make arrangements in advance for ......transportation and more. We are excited about your upcoming visit and look forward to creating a memorable experience for you.”
Sincerely,
Reservations
Hotel Commonwealth

So...first of all..the “Elegant” guestrooms: The baths are very shallow....it means you can’t fill it up much and can’t recline.....but it’s fine for children under 5. The amenities are far from exceptional. They are basic. There was also only one single robe in each bedroom and they were hardly “plush.” Don’t even start me on the hard, miniscule sandpaper like towels. Whatever happened to bath sheets?

As for the “Award Winning Eastern Standard restaurant.....and patio” I would give it my award for providing the worst breakfasts that I have ever experienced in the USA, since I started visiting the USA regularly back in 1978. Good American hotels really know how to do breakfast. However....it turns out that the “Award Winning Eastern Standard restaurant.....and patio” isn’t even owned by the hotel. The restaurant looks like a big, dark bar that serves food....it feels sticky and dirty, you can scrape last nights beer off the tables.....they clearly have a deal to provide breakfasts for hotel guests but they do it badly......very badly. Their heart can’t be in to it. Fresh orange juice?? Not here. The orange juice is sickly and horrible. The smoked salmon tastes like it comes from another planet....horrible......the waitress told me they smoke it themselves. That explains it.

My daughter had scrambled eggs with smoked salmon which she described as “disgusting.” I tasted it and agreed. My son went for the eggs Benedict after which he felt sick. My wife had an egg-white frittata which she said was OK but that she would not order it again. My other daughter had an omelette which she enjoyed and so I would suggest omelettes are the safest bet. However she is coeliac and the hotel had no gluten free bread or gluten free pancake mix and I had told them about her in advance. They did nothing about it. Other hotels obtain gluten free bread specially if they don’t already have it. Restaurants and hotels all over Boston offer gluten free menu sections but in a hotel as large as the Commonwealth, they do nothing. That is not what I expect from the “Tripadvisor No 1 hotel in Boston.”

We had a lumpy and uncomfortable king-size bed in room 409 and a dreadful sofa-bad...threadbare....springs sticking up all over the place....the sort of mattress one may expect in a doss house...absolutely disgusting.....my little boy uses the sofa-bed. We never saw any turndown service. Housekeeping was below expected standard. The loo blocked twice.

At my request, the hotel placed two extra duvets on top of the sofas bed mattress to fix it. That seemed to work but was hardly ideal. My wife and I both left the hotel at the end of our stay with bad backs. I guess the bed was very old but I did not inspect the mattress....I thought about doing so on my last day but decided best not to risk it as I felt queasy enough.

Apart from the beds the room was generally shabby. There was no door on the cupboard that housed the broken fridge/minibar, the door on the TV cabinet kept swinging across the TV.....a new version of restricted viewing. The bathroom needed a good scrub and definitely don’t expect house keeping to get cleaning the room together.

The area around the hotel.....not that nice later at night.....hence all the doormen! Although they seemed to use the entrance lobby as a social gathering spot for all of their friends and guests arriving was sometimes an interruption. Sometimes they open the doors for guests...other times, usually at night, they don’t bother as a group of them chat amongst themselves.

No bottles of water in the rooms or fridge or mini-bar. The concierge gave us a coffee/tea making machine for one of the rooms without being asked. It uses capsules of tea and coffee and we were given a few capsules. But these were never replenished. Neither on occasion were tissues or other bathroom items. One day I called reception to get some tea capsules at 6am. Thelma...the receptionist on duty didn’t know what I was talking about. She had room service call us and they didn’t know what we were talking about either. We explained both times but still no tea capsules. Thelma sounded half asleep at first (perhaps she was) but having engaged her in conversation, she may as well have gone to sleep. It took one and a half hours to obtain the tea capsules.

I started making notes for this review while still resident at Hotel Commonwealth. On checking out at 9.35am on Saturday April 5th 2014 I first explained to reception manager that under no circumstances did I want nor would I accept any reduction on the charges for our interconnecting accomodation for my family of 5 (apart from having the errors corrected where we had been over-charged). I was not interested in a refund. I never am on the rare occasion I have a bad experience....I complain to get things put right at the time....not to try save some money on eventually checking out. It is the moment that matters.....getting decent standards at the time, having travelled over from England. I then explained to him (other staff members already knew)... that I was “very disappointed with the hotel as we had not received the standard of service and accomodation that we had reasonably expected and that I was most surprised that the hotel was No 1 on Tripadvisor’s list of hotels for the great City of Boston.” I asked the reception manager how that could be?

He looked at me blankly.

I then asked him if it is the hotel policy to ask guests who were happy with their stay to post on Tripadvisor about it?

He confirmed that this was indeed the case but claimed that they asked ALL guests to post on Tripadvisor whatever their experience. REALLY?

They didn’t ask me at the time I checked out.

Being No 1 on TRIPADVISOR appears to be Hotel Commonwealth’s main selling point....take a look at the hotel’s web page...it’s their headline boast. That’s how they got me to book.....it is the only reason we chose this hotel. We feel misled. We stay at highly rated Tripadvisor Hotels all over the world.....I never used to post reviews at all......then I did close to a couple of hundred reviews over a fairly short period.....now I don’t bother posting about the majority of hotels I stay at or restaurants I dine out at....I’ve been to various hotels so far this year in the USA, around Europe and in the UK and not taken the time to review them as I don’t have the time ....but I just have to review Hotel Commonwealth as I feel that I have been encouraged to stay there due to their boasts about being No 1 Hotel in Boston.

Our hotel rate included breakfast....at least it included $100 USD breakfast credit per day. After the wholly unexpected poor breakfast at what is supposedly the top Boston hotel (there was a tiny menu with little choice)....we asked to be switched back to room only rate. There was no way we would be breakfasting at the hotel again after the first experience. We were duly credited but only for one of our two rooms. On the day I checked out, I pointed out that we still needed to be credited the breakfast rate for the second room. Hotel receptionist Sean tried to argue that my room rates in the second room were higher, excluding breakfast, because of the Red Sox season. He helpfully explained to me that hotel rates vary from day to day depending upon demand! I’ve forgotten more about how hotels work than this guy knows....and of course he was wrong. Less informed guests may have believed him but I couldn’t make Sean understand that I had contacted in advance for specific rates, including an added breakfast rate, the previous year. He offered to have the general manager call me back and I suggested that may not be a good idea as that would open a can of worms. I told him to get his facts right, read the file and call me back. He did so a few minutes later and told me that he had made a mistake. He certainly did. Do I want to have to spend time arguing on the morning of departure to prevent the hotel overcharging me?

Too much went wrong:

I don’t use taxis from airports....we always get picked up by meet-and-greet private hire drivers in executive cars. I don’t take pot luck trying to book a car company I know nothing about on the internet but instead ask hotel concierge to arrange it and that is what I did with Hotel Commonwealth concierge so that myself and two children could be collected at Logan on the early BA flight from Heathrow and my wife and a third child who were travelling later in the day on another BA flight would also be collected, by a driver holding a name board. A taxi from Logan to the hotel would be circa $35. Our private hire vehicles with meet-and-greet were over $150 USD each....which is about right even though it is only a short journey, the airport being unusually close to the centre of the city.

On arrival at Logan International, on time, we were first off our BA flight, I was one of the first to collect all of our luggage...probably because we were flying first class as we always do. A red cap took our luggage for us and the $155 + 20% tip driver was right there holding a a name board with my name even though we were so quickly through customs......a very good start as sometimes divers wrongly assume passengers will take forever to collect suitcases. We then got into the SUV, he started the engine, went into reverse and only missed hitting another vehicle thanks to being honked. I thought that was a one-off. It wasn’t. When he started driving he reached down to adjust the A/C and swerved towards a car driving in opposite direction. He told me that he would be collecting my wife later. I told him to be more careful when driving. He was for the rest of the trip. I let it go. At least I knew he would be at the right place on time for my wife later.

A few hours later my wife called.....there was no meet and greet waiting for her. It was late....it was dark...my wife is not at all well....she should have been collected. The driver was not there. This is the first time ever that a meet-and-greet has failed to show for us outside of the UK. I told the concierge about my experience and of the no-show for my wife. This was a poor start.

I also asked advice from the Concierge long before arrival as to best station to use for an Amtrak journey from Boston to NYC. He failed to recommend South Station, where there is a first class lounge and also it is the start of the journey...and a lovely station. So instead we ended up boarding at Back Bay, being the station nearer the hotel....with drunks falling over us and almost all of the first come/first served seats taken...by those who got on at South Station. Now I know better.

At no stage did any senior manager appear although I see on Tripadvisor that a Mr Shane McWeeny occasionally makes comments in reply to posts. It’s probably just as well he didn’t meet me as excuses and apologies don’t cure failures from a hotel supposedly No 1 in Boston.

A truly horrible hotel stay that went wrong from the moment we arrived in Boston. All these people care about is their position on Tripadvisor. What a poor experience.

Then.....having made the hotel sign my bill on paying in full.....to ensure no later charges were added....a few days later they added another charge. They then apologised to me after I complained about it and removed the charge.

We had a lovely stay at the No 2 hotel on Tripadvisor for Boston...the Boston Harbor Hotel which is a truly great hotel with fantastic standards way ahead of the curve. We will never return to Hotel Commonwealth even though we are big Red Sox fans and attended the opening game. Other hotels are only a subway ride away.

All in all a surprisingly poor quality hotel.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
19 Thank BarryAscot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 21, 2014

I would definitely stay at the Commonwealth Hotel again. The employees from the valet to the front desk were top notch. Concierge is very knowledgeable and helpful. He, Nicholas, helped us out tremendously in a very short period of time. I give the experience an A+.

  • Stayed April 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ellen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 21, 2014

The Commonwealth is an excellent hotel, with great bars and restaurants on the doorstep, so close to Fenway and the famous 'Citgo' sign. A lovely walk into the centre of Boston and close enough to the river. Would highly recommend it.

Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Julian P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gallatin, Tennessee
Level Contributor
20 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 20, 2014

Just arrived yesterday for marathon weekend and a bit of a mixup on our room having one bed for the four of us. Thanks to the manager Evan's perseverance we were moved to a very suitable room with two beds, which was much more comfortable then cots. No easy feat with a sold out hotel situation. This is an excellent hotel with very friendly and helpful staff. We really appreciate Evan working to find a solution and would absolutely stay here again.

Room Tip: Our room is on the Fenway side and we hear no outside noise
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank pmozz07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
26 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed April 16, 2014

This hotel is a few steps from the Kenmore T station. The service is enthusiastic and rooms well appointed. We had a view of Fenway and even though there were games both nights we where there, we couldn't hear a thing. If you are looking for luxurious amenities this isn't the best match, but for visitors who are looking for a comfortable, dependable base while they enjoy the city, this hotel is hard to beat.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Flowzat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Commonwealth

Property: Hotel Commonwealth
Address: 500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215-2606
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Massachusetts > Boston > Fenway / Kenmore
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Boston
#4 Romantic Hotel in Boston
#5 Family Hotel in Boston
#6 Luxury Hotel in Boston
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Commonwealth 4.5*
Number of rooms: 245
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A thoughtful reimagining of what a Boston hotel can be, Hotel Commonwealth unhinges luxury from its traditional definition to bring guests urban vibrance and the ultimate in unscripted hospitality, right in Kenmore Square. That our stylish spot flanks Boston's beloved Fenway Park shines bright on its list of perks, as does being in easy embrace of the city's prominent academic, medical, technology areas. Offering notably ample guestrooms, an authentic "of-service" culture, and food so good even the locals are loyal, our hotel has distinguished itself as a Boston favorite. Newly conceived interiors remain faithful to the hotel's legendary welcoming feel, blending effortless style with considered comforts to create a relaxed urban destination. The result? A refreshingly real hotel where travel smart professionals and knowing influentials converge for inspiration and the unbridled joy of getting it right. This is Hotel Commonwealth. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Commonwealth Hotel Boston

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