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“Great location, gets the job done”

A Friendly Inn at Harvard Square
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A Friendly Inn at Harvard Square
Ranked #19 of 21 Cambridge B&B and Inns
Reviewed July 6, 2011

Just got an e-mail from my brother looking for hotel suggestions in Cambridge, which reminded me that I have this overdue review of a hidden gem in Harvard Square...

First, the good things:

--The place is very close to Harvard and Harvard Square (in particular the Science Center and Harvard Yard). In fact, it's just two blocks away. You can't beat the location.
--The room was very neat, well kept, and pretty large.
--The price was fairly reasonable for the area. I paid $180 or so, and I believe that was one of the more expensive rooms. I think the "bottom of the barrel" price in Harvard Square for a hotel room nowadays is just around $100, which probably gets you a free mugging and bed bug infestation. Kidding. Sort of.
--The owner was very friendly and was able to accommodate me within two days when my plans changed and I needed a place to stay in Cambridge.
--Free parking (though I did get the last spot in the lot) in Cambridge, which is kind of a big deal.
--Breakfast was good, and not sit-down, which I liked because I could grab and go. Bonus points for the hard boiled eggs. I've never seen that at a B&B. The cherry flavored danish was also delicious.

Next, the "constructive criticism":

--The high speed internet code was approximately 30 characters long, which was very hard to type into my tiny phone keypad, etc. I'm only kind of joking that this is a con. It really wasn't a big deal, but it was kind of annoying. I would think they could shorten it significantly without risk that people outside would hack into it.
--Another reviewer mentioned this, but there really do need to be more electrical outlets in the room. Even just a couple of extra power strips would do. I had to unplug the lamp just to charge my cell phone, and it wasn't easy to get to because it was under the bedside table.

(You'll notice that the above two things aren't even really that big of a deal. That's because this place was pretty great overall.)

Some advice if you'll be visiting A Friendly Inn:

--Try to get a room on the second or third floor if you can. I had a room on the first floor and the foot traffic by the front door was a bit loud. The A/C wall unit did help with the noise, though. This was the last room available (as I mentioned, I made the reservation two days before), so it's understandable, but I probably would not want this room again.
--Get here as early after check-in as you can if you're planning on parking. I arrived at 3:15 p.m. and got the last spot. The lot was also full the next evening when I left. Parking in Cambridge is very difficult because you need a resident sticker, unless you plan on finding a (rare) pay lot or paying at a meter.

Bottom line, if you're in Cambridge, and particularly if you're trying to stay very close to Harvard Square, this is a very good place. It is "no frills" as another reviewer mentioned, but for me, it got the job done at the last minute, at a reasonable price, in a great location. And yeah, it isn't the Charles Hotel, but what is? :)

Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
2  Thank ellaviaja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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63 - 69 of 108 reviews

Reviewed May 10, 2011

I had a wonderful time at the Inn, although the rooms are very small and not that comfortable to stay in during the day. There was no armchair in my room, and its darkness did not really invite me to stay in and lounge. Still, the hotel location makes it perfect for any business with Harvard. All in all, I consider staying there again, should I be in the area.

The whole place has a european/english feel to it, the carpet stairs, the smallness of the rooms, but let's call it cozy.

A very friendly place indeed!

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled on business
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Thank VBretonne35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2011

We stayed here for a week with our girls who are 12 and 14. We were all on the 3rd floor, we had a double room and they had a twin room which was much larger than our room. The rooms were well furnished, well maintained and comfortable. The bathroom in our room was not great as it was clearly for disabled guests - just a curtain over tiled surfaces with a chair in it. The girls had a bath and shower over. Generally the service was very good although some staff in the restaurant spoke little English so several times we had to wait to speak to someone else who could understand questions about our orders. The restaurant is in the Atrium and the food is of very good quality, however it lacks atmosphere and is a bit of a thoroughfare with people walking through from both ends as there is access to the outside from the front and back of the hotel. The hotel is well situated for the Harvard area. There are not too many restaurants nearby so you need to plan ahead. (Re the gym there is an ex-bedroom with 4 or 5 pieces of equipment which are fine but don't expect a gym in the usual sense.) Of course, teh highlight of our visit for our girls at least was that Shakira stayed in the suite next to them before her award ceremony at Harvard.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with family
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Thank MWSurrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2010

Staying at this hotel was amasing! It is a small, clean, cosy and indeed a friendly hotel! Our room was furnished and decorated the way we were feeling so at home! It overlooked a quiet street. When you are in such a room, you realize that you are not just one of the hundreds of visitors staying there, but a very unique and treasured guest! The staff is very friendly too. We had a lovely breakfast there and were amased with the internet access at the computer available downstairs at any time for free! We strongly recommend everyone to visit this piece of heaven!

Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
Thank ana_unique
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2010

It is a small inn but with excellent homely feel inside. Stayed in single room, small but clean. Toilet and shower were clean but small. No outside noise. The front desk person is present most of the time except after too late at night to too early in the morning I guess. A common computer with internet access (at no further cost) available and a breakfast place.
Location is fantastic if you have business in and around Harvard square (Harvard University). The Boston's metro (T) station is also only 10 min walk. From here you can take inbound train to MIT or Boston.
The front desk arranged for wake-up call and booked my taxi for very early departure.
The front desk lady is nice but sometimes she talks too much on the phone. No problem at all.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled on business
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Thank Sing006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2010

Excellent rooms - all well decorated with nick nacks and paintings. This is an old house converted into a B&B (though it has been running such only for the past about 20 years). Service is good, the rooms are very clean, Baths spotless white. Rooms have a tv, my room had an attached bath, but all rooms are different so make sure you specify what you want.

It is located about 5 minutes walk from Harvard yard (and 15 mins from Harvard train station) along Cambridge street.

The only downside is that the breakfast room is very small and only has sofas to sit - so you either have to tolerate other residents company while you balance your plastic plate on the lap and wonder where to keep your juice glass, or take it on the front porch and eat. Breakfast is not too great, but does not leave you hungry either.

I just wish the rooms were priced lower.

The wifi internet is good.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled on business
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Thank JabberwockyIndia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2010

Pros: 1) For my purposes, the location is perfect. However, there aren't many food options nearby. 2) They offer enough variety for breakfast. 3) The rooms are comfortable and big enough. Comparable to the Irving House and cheaper. 4) The price includes a private bathroom, something you have to pay extra for at the Irving House. 5) Staff is friendly and helpful.

Cons: 1) The bedding looked worn down and dirty. 2) This wasn't a problem for me but I know two colleagues who had skin reactions to the detergent used for the sheets. 3) The wireless did not work all the time. 4) I originally made a reservation online and did not receive a confirmation email as I should have. So several days later, I booked another room, at which point I received two confirmation emails for both reservations. I called to cancel one of the rooms. Several days later, I received a phone call from the Inn asking why I had two rooms booked. I once again cancelled one of the rooms and got an email confirming the cancellation. On the day of my stay at the Inn, I received another phone call about why I had two rooms booked! I didn't get charged for the extra room, but their lack of follow through gives me the impression that the staff there is not careful.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled on business
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Thank Peregrine424
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about A Friendly Inn at Harvard Square

Address: 1673 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138-4316
Location: United States > Massachusetts > Cambridge
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 21 B&Bs / Inns in Cambridge
Price Range: $167 - $225 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — A Friendly Inn at Harvard Square 3*
Number of rooms: 17
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