02215 Travel Guide
Opened in 2003, the Hotel Commonwealth in Boston is credited by some as helping to revive the surrounding Kenmore Square neighborhood (its clean, cozy rooms and close proximity to Fenway are certainly a big part of its charm).
Our stay there back in 2010 proved a lot of fun, pampered as we were by the hotel's then-popular Girls In the City package. But for a different, mellower kind of indulgent experience, try cozying up in the hotel's one-of-a-kind Reading Suite, where guests can leaf through a 50+ collection of author-signed books, local magazines, newspapers, and an original letter by Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes).
A few years back we reported on the controversial façade and BU student-population at the Hotel Commonwealth. Now that the fuss has died down, and Boston has welcomed hot new properties like the W Boston, The Ames, and The Liberty Hotel, how is the Commonwealth holding up?
Despite an estimated 21,500 hotel rooms expected in Boston by 2008, the Eliot Hotel is confident that its small property has some staying power.
Since 1925, the hotel has weathered years as a transient hotel before turning into a luxury boutique hotel over a decade ago. Sitting on a tree-lined street in the Back Bay section of the city, the hotel is within walking distance to the shops on Newberry St as well as the convention center.
The Eliot was among the first in town to offer high-speed internet access, and was among the first to introduce wireless access to the hotel.
In true boutique fashion, the hotel has a high-end restaurant, Cilo, and a sashimi bar. Recently, they just redid the hotel's interior, redesigning and redecorating the hotel's 79 suites and 16 guest rooms in soft tans and browns. The lobby expects to be done next all in hopes of providing a cool, younger atmosphere.
After that, maybe the hotel could do something about the ugly AC units as one guest complained about:
I was in four suites in three days. Never accept the 01 line of rooms, small and near the AC compressor (eg. 201, 301). The in room air/heating system is loud in front and rear-facing rooms. The rear facing rooms,especially on the lower floors overlook the noisy compressor.
If you are paying an average of $300 a night in Boston (it ain't New York that's for sure) you should definitely not have to suffer through loud air conditoner and heating systems.
Since 90 percent of Boston's population has some Irish in them, it makes sense that the city's St. Patrick's Day celebrations will be off the hook.
Ok, so maybe that statistic isn't exactly derived from scientific research or even true, but Boston is known for its Irish heritage.
While you're there tell Sully we think he's wicked ahwesome.
Remember how Hotel Commonwealth jumped all over the Desperate Housewives big mo with a Desperate Houswives package, well now they are offering a Desperate Husbands deal as well.
You still get the champagne, but guys can substitute free beer and nuts for the free chocolate.
You still get the free parking, the massage (in gift certificate form), and Hotel Commonwealth is throwing in a breakfast in bed.
However, the big change is you get "access" (read: you pay for these) VIP seats for a Celt's game on Friday 2/11 or Sunday 2/13.
Since Ainge took over the Celtics they are definitely FUBAR, so you have to judge the value of the "access" by the Celtic's opponent. In this case the Green play the NY Knicks and the Sacremento Kings, no Shaq, Kobe, or LeBron, but still, it could be way worse.
The package is available for Valentine's day weekend, February 11 - 13, and the price still starts at $349.
Hotel Commonwealth has jumped all over the Desperate Houswives wave before the show jumps the shark.
The swanky Boston hotel has put together an Almost Desperate Housewives Package.
Here is what you get:
· A night in a Commonwealth room
· A welcome bottle of Champagne and chocolates on arrival
· A private one hour in-room massage with rejuvenating oils
· Tension easing bath drawn with L'Occitane aromatherapy
· Complimentary DVDs from their library
· Complimentary round trip limo service to a Boston destination of your choice
· Valet parking included.
$349 for one person, $469 for two, call for more than two people.
To buy a package, or a gift certificate call 866.784.4000.
They didn't put a expiration date on the package, but if you are looking for a last minute gift, you still have time, and you don't even have to go to the mall.
We figure the parking and limo alone make this package fall into the deals category. Argue with us and we will show you a receipt of how much it costs to park over night near Fenway, and don't even get us started on the aggravation of driving in Boston.
This is the swanky choice in and around Fenway. High end rooms, high end shops, free wireless access throughout, and the Kenmore T station right under your nose. Yup, they actually built the T entrance right into the property. However, you won't need to take the T to the game if you stay here, Hotel Commonwealth is a couple blocks from Fenway.
Another bonus of staying at the Commonwealth is the current photography exhibit, appropriately entitled "This is the Year". This exhibit displays vintage photographs from baseball seasons of yesteryear, most of the photos center around the Red Sox of course.
The drawback of staying at Hotel Commonwealth during the series? Well first of all there aren't many rooms left. Both Saturday nights (23rd + 30th) of the series are sold out, and the rooms that are available for the 24th and 31st will no doubt go fast. This is the kind of place where mucky mucks from MLB, or celebrity baseball fans may stay (you know when Fox all of a sudden cuts to the crowd and Joe Buck says "Wait a minute Tim, isn't that Mischa Barton of the OC?"...those types of celebrity baseball fans). All of this means the rooms won't last long, and don't expect any price breaks. Hotel Commonwealth is listing available rooms (for the two series nights left) at $309 a night. Yes, you have to pay quite heavily for the right to stay here, but if you are a big time Red Sox fan, with money to burn, this is where you want to be.
Maybe you are a little scared off by the Hotel Commonwealth's $309 price tag during the series, or maybe you are just one of those people that likes a little adventure with your hotel stay, either way the Buckminster Hotel may be for you.
Buckminster is offering rooms around $150 during the series weekends, and this hotel is arguably the closest hotel to Fenway. Ok, ok Buckminster probably isn't going to provide you with the most luxurious stay you have ever encountered. The lobby is a tad under construction, the innards of the hotel a bit warn, but the rates are good, and you may even get a glimpse of the ballpark from your window.
Furthermore, there is a Pizzera Uno attached to the property, and all the Landsdowne street excitement is literally right out your doorstep.
If proximity and low price are what you want, you can't beat the Buckminster, however, be forewarned, this place is not going to be on the Conde Nast Gold List anytime soon. You are here for the game anyway, right?
The legendary Boston HoJo's. A Fenway tradition. Like the Fenway franks, and the Fenway urinal troughs (oh, wait, they got rid of those), the Howard Johnson's Fenway is an area staple, and like the aforementioned franks and urinals, the Howard Johnson's Inn is a bit outdated and hard to swallow.
Dingy, old, down on its luck, these are all descriptions that fit the Fenway HoJo's, however, another description that works is authentic. This motel is where you will find the dyed in the wool Fenway fans. The folks that were here in 75 for Fisk's dinger, or here in 67 for whatever Yaz did that year. If you want an authentic Fenway experience, and can put up with a questionable room, this is your place. You should be able to score a room for less than $150, maybe even less than $100 (if you are lucky), but the problem will be scoring that room this weekend or next.
This place is booked solid with "regulars" who probably book their rooms every April thinking "This is the Yeaa!". Your best bet? Call them and see if anyone has cancelled.
Even though both the Yankees and Red Sox have already started their season, today is the official opening day of the 2004 MLB season.
To celebrate the new baseball season, Hotel Commonwealth, in Boston, is having a very cool event.
On Saturday April 17, sports and travel writers, Harvey and Frederic Frommer, will be at the Great Bay Restaurant, (attached to the hotel) signing their latest book "Great Rivalry: Red Sox vs. Yankees".
Forbes.com recently announced its top ten new Business Hotels in the world for 2003. They selected three in the United States and Hotel Commonwealth, Kenmore Square, Boston was chosen in New England. The other winners include the Dorchester, the Conaught, Four Seasons and Ritz Carltons. The full story is on the Hotel Commonwealth.com web site.
This week I had the opportunity to sit down with Tim Kirwan, managing director at Hotel Commonwealth and talk with him about the plethora of challenges he has faced in the first year of business over in Kenmore Square. By now, most everyone knows about the façade criticisms, the BU dorm floor, and the general uphill battle that Hotel Commonwealth has been facing in its first year of operations. However, Tim Kirwan is a veteran hotel manager who guided the openings of both the Cambridge Hyatt and the Bostonian, and is currently navigating the choppy seas of Commonwealth as best he can. What I found inside Hotel Commonwealth was much different from the out of place aesthetics you currently see on the outside of the property.