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“Upscale, nice, but pricey.”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Charles Hotel

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Charles Hotel
Ranked #3 of 20 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Chesterfield, VA
Level Contributor
156 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Upscale, nice, but pricey.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 13, 2011

I accompanied my wife on a business trip to Boston and her company put us up at The Charles. The staff was friendly and efficient. The hotel was upscale and in a great area, adjacent to the Harvard campus and next to the Charles River. We were within walking distance of several restaurants and convenience stores. The restaurants ran from IHOP to upscale eateries and local favorites like Charlie’s Kitchen. The room and bedding were comfortable with a nice view of the square. Unfortunately it did have a tendency to be a little noisy at night. One of the nicer perks was a television screen mounted behind the bathroom mirror which allowed for viewing the news in the morning as you got ready to go out. I would recommend this hotel if you are in the area. I will stay here again, as long as it is on someone else’s dime.

Room Tip: Try to get a view of the river.
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank morrisn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,488 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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guam
Level Contributor
66 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 10, 2011

If you want a hotel that delivers what it promises, then avoid The Charles Hotel in Boston. We chose this hotel for 2 reasons: its Cambridge location and its 100% smokefree policy. On 2 of the 6 nights we stayed, there was constant cigarette smoke coming from our bathroom vent, causing both my husband and myself to develop allergic rhinitis requiring medication. We brought the attention to the hotel staff, who confirmed the smokefree policy but who also stated "it is difficult to enforce the policy." We also wrote the manager but did not even get the courtesy of a reply. As this is an expensive hotel, it was a BAD deal---the last thing you want to pay for is to get sick because of an unhealthy environment.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank occdoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
55 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 8, 2011

I've been staying at the Charles since 1986 and have always found it superb. The rooms are spacious, clean, extremely comfortable and well-designed, with a dividing wall in the entryway that ensures quiet. The beds are fantastic--absolutely the most comfortable I've encountered in a hotel. The bathrooms are very clean--although some are more spacious than others--and everything works. I've never had to call about room problems of any kind, but if I did, the staff would be efficient and knowledgeable. Other things I love about the Charles: excellent food and the best coffee; top-notch soaps and shampoos in the bathroom; a nice fitness center and prompt room service. Also, there's a Legal Seafoods in the complex--a big plus. Check-in and check-out are so fast it's as if they didn't happen. The only drawback is that it's expensive, but you get what you pay for.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank hopeanderson09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Islip, NY
Level Contributor
74 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 258 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 6, 2011

Harvard this. Harvard that. Harvard. Harvard. Harvard. Ever since my nephew got into Harvard College my sister can’t utter a sentence without the word ‘Harvard’. Mercifully, the accursed little egghead graduated last week. My Dearest and I were expected to spend a few days in Cambridge, Massachusetts dancing attendance, but hopefully soon my sister will find a new way to punctuate her sentences.

Your options in Harvard Square are limited. The Charles Hotel is really the only five star hotel. Like any good monopolist, they overcharge and underdeliver. Still the Charles offers a convenient location, a nice range of restaurants and at least some attempt at the other trappings of a full service hotel.

The rooms at the Charles are Marriott quality. Commercial grade wall-coverings, carpeting, and fixtures. Serviceable furnishings, but very little charm. Indeed, the rooms have a barren feeling as if the designer deliberately resisted any temptation to warm the décor with New England floral patterns or watercolors of Cape Cod. The walls sport cluttered murals of college lecturers, algorithms, Harvard edifices, and flying pigs—the stuff of nightmares. Many rooms include “visible” clocks displaying all the wheels and gearing that tell us the time: a nice touch in an engineering school perhaps, but hardly relaxing décor for the weary traveler. Even the quilt at the foot of the bed has a pattern of navy blue and white check pattern (Yale??).

The service fell short of my expectations. A room service breakfast promised in 25 minutes arrived in 55 minutes. I rang housekeeping about a bedding issue, the hotel operator answered and promised to put housekeeping on the line. Thirty rings later, there was no answer from housekeeping. The self-important young man who handled our check out, interrupted me twice. What is wrong with this picture: my Dearest is about to pay you thousands of dollars, and you are interrupting me.

The Charles seeks to cut their linen budget through the usual guilt-inducing signs about their passion for the environment and all the water wasted around the globe cleaning hotel towels and sheets. But they take it a step further than most. In order to receive fresh sheets, you must hang a sign on your door announcing to all the well-meaning people walking by that you are squandering the planet’s water supply. The sign may be green, but it felt more like a modern-day Scarlet Letter in the best tradition of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. There is another way to obtain fresh bedding without announcing your wishes to the world: (1) place bedding in shower stall; (2) turn on shower; and (3) depart for lunch.

Henrietta’s Kitchen, the principal hotel restaurant, sports the décor of a New England grandmother’s kitchen. Scrape the surface, and it’s a Marriott food factory with a bit of New England face paint. The coffee was divine!! The eggs were fresh!! But the bacon (not that I would ever eat it) smelled like a smokehouse on steroids, and the breakfast potatoes were watery mashed potatoes seared to a hard char on one side. The pumpkin and banana bread were dried out: I make better, when I’m using a supermarket mix. The service was slow when the restaurant was less than half full. I’m sure service grinds to a complete halt when the place fills up and the servers are too busy discussing their doctoral programs and other scholarly pursuits.

In short, the Charles is a pleasant enough place to stay, with an acceptable location in Harvard Square, but the room, the food, and the service fell short of my expectations for a five star property. It is almost a metaphor for Massachusetts: it takes itself too seriously, but it will never be as good as New York!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank tarrytown54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Canada
Level Contributor
84 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 4, 2011

Stayed here for a 3 day Harvard Law course ( which was hosted in the Charles). NIce room, a bit on the small side, slow wireless/wired internet. Staff were attentive but not overbearing... Very comfy bed, and sitting area. however small things like no in room coffee maker, no ice machines on ea floor( you had to phone room service) were lacking. Convienent to Harvard Square and surrounding areas.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Bagpus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Juneau, Alaska
Level Contributor
84 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 1, 2011

Very, very nice hotel. Great location in Harvard Square. Helpful staff. Rooms are quiet, comfortable and well appointed. Public spaces are lively and fun. We had a suite for our family of four--lots of room, quiet, great beds.

  • Stayed May 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Juneauite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montauk, New York
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2011

II love this hotel and I'm never disappointed. The staff is always gracious and helpful, willing and fast to accomodate in every way. I love the comfortable and attractive guest rooms, the clean, sparkling bathrooms and my soft pillows. My stay is never complete without a stop or two at Legal Seafoods next door or a deilcious meal at Henrietta's table. I need to compliment Abby, a lovely girl on the late evening front desk shift because she has been most helpful during both of my stays this past month. She delivered extra pillows and answered my very late night requests with a smile. Thank you as always to the entire staff. at a great hotel.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GMpriscilla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Charles Hotel

Property: Charles Hotel
Address: 1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA 02138-5780
Phone Number:
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
#4 Romantic Hotel in Cambridge
#6 Business Hotel in Cambridge
#11 Family Hotel in Cambridge
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Charles Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 295
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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