Hotel Marlowe – Cambridge, MA

Boston is a city that was built to be seen from the water, or so I've been told.

Destination: Boston, MA
Date: August 2015
Hotel: Hotel Marlowe
Brand: Kimpton
Elite Status: none
# of travelers: 5
nights: 1

Hotel: Making the Decision

So, the last time Justin and I went to Boston was 2013. We picked an AirBnb home in Watertown with three bedrooms – one for Justin and myself, one for his parents, and one for his uncle. The house itself was absolutely gorgeous and so nice to stay at, but there was one small problem: no air conditioning. As it turns out, we were traveling during a heat wave, so while we thought we were getting away from Georgia's hot weather by moving northward, instead we found ourselves in the city in the heat.

One thing I recommend: never stay somewhere without air conditioning during a 100 degree heatwave. It is hot.

Given our last experience in Boston, we were determined to stay at a place with AC. So, I took out my handy-dandy phone and contacted the lovely pana travel concierge people. If anyone knew the area, they would, right?

Out of the 3 hotels they chose for me, none of which were chains I had status with, we decided to go with the Kimpton. Kimpton branded hotels are actually now owned by IHG, but they work together as a small boutique hotel chain with their own reward points and so forth. This basically meant that my spire status meant absolutely nothing to them. I had heard fantastic things on travel blogs and Flyertalk forum about the chain though, so Justin and I decided to give it a try. What was there to lose?

After deciding on the hotel, I went online to book it. They have a no refunds policy, but, after a search on Kayak revealed no cheaper pricing, I went to book the cheapest room. Usually I leave this part of the story out of my hotel stay reviews, but I felt the need to mention it because, just after booking, I discovered a cheaper, better option on Groupon. For less money, I could have a room with a view and free breakfast. Immediately I jumped into the chatroom on their website to ask if they could reverse my booking since I had just reserved the room within the past hour. The lady I talked with, Amanda, was so nice that she agreed to do so for me just this once. Honestly, I was so happy that I jumped on twitter to remark to Hotel Kimpton how pleased I was with their service. Obviously they were still getting my business but being unable to price match it (because hotel price matching is weird), it made me feel so good that they valued me as a customer over my financial gain (their net loss, to a small extent) and lesser room. If only that fantastic service had lasted when we got to the hotel…

One option…

Getting There

Well, obviously, Justin and I took the Amtrak to Boston from New York, but once we got there we were able to jump aboard what Bostonians refer to as the "T" and take the subway to our hotel in Cambridge, just outside of Boston. It was a bit of a walk from the subway station, and, while not long in my opinion, others in the party didn't find it particularly pleasant despite the clean sidewalks and easy path to the hotel. (Sidenote: As southern suburban Americans, we don't walk anywhere. We drive. This was the main complaint.) Other options include flying in, renting a car, or taking a taxi. Taxis, as we discovered, are only about $12 from downtown Boston and can quite possibly be the cheapest option if you are trying to relocate multiple people from one end of town to the next; however, your mileage (in all instances) will vary. :) Parking at the hotel, if you choose to bring or rent a car, will cost $25 a night not to mention any parking prices you may pay in downtown Boston should you choose to go there via your vehicle.

The Lobby & Having Our Luggage Held

The entrance to the hotel is actually in a circle where you can choose to have the valet park your car. Once walking in, bathrooms are to your left, flavored water and a posh seating area are straight ahead, and the check-in desk, elevators, and restaurant/bar are to your right. We first went for a cup of water, because we were thirsty. Anyway, afterward, we talked to the front desk about our room which wasn't ready yet. They offered to hold our luggage for us until we returned to check in sometime after 4pm. The ladies at the front desk suggested a couple of local eateries and then we headed out for downtown Boston!

Checking In

We didn't actually check in to the hotel until after 9PM that night after a busy day and dinner. There were a few complications to the process – for example, the hotel didn't offer us the free breakfast that was part of our groupon deal. We had to ask and the front desk clerks got a little angry, we think, at the request. I had to show them a print out to prove we had paid for it. They also gave us a hard time about providing a room with a view, which we had also paid for. *sigh* I don't know what their problem was…

Large, spacious rooms

Room & View

Finally, around 10pm, we were settled in. The view was lovely – of a pond across the street. Perhaps a higher floor than 3 would have been ideal, but our view certainly wasn't worthy of complaining.

The room was pretty big and provided plenty of room for us to spread out. There was a work desk, a large chair and plenty of floor space. Even the bathroom was big. Amenities included a fridge, blow dryer, soaps and shampoos, free internet, and they are also pet friendly! (Sidenote: they don't smell or look like they are pet friendly. Big plus!)

Location, Amenities, & Price

The location of this hotel was fantastic! While not actually inside the middle of Boston, you also aren't paying "middle of Boston" prices. Even-so, you are still close enough to easily get in and out of the area without a problem. You can walk across the bridge, take the T, or taxi downtown relatively cheaply and easily. Or, if downtown isn't your thing, you could stay and explore Cambridge. The hotel is located right next to a mall or you can go across the street to Harvard or make a visit to MIT. We didn't actually venture onto the college campuses, but, from what I understand, they are stunning! :)

Aside from the great location, the hotel also allows you to rent kayaks or bikes, run the streets of Boston with the owner (I believe that is every Thursday…), work out in the fitness center, take in a happy hour of cheese and wine (for free!) or even experience an evening star gazing (also for free) at the observatory across the street.

While the hotel does not run cheap (think mid-range prices), the amenities are fantastic and you can truly get what you pay for in experiences from this hotel!

Seeing Boston on a "Super Duck Tour!"

Overall Review

★★★★ (above average)

While not the cream of the crop, Hotel Marlowe was definitely a fantastic, cute little hotel to stay at. There were definitely things that could have improved – like their front desk customer service – but overall our stay was very nice. We enjoyed our room, we wished we could have taken more advantage of the many amenities they had to offer, and the location felt incredibly central to areas I would have liked to have explored more-so than we did. I would recommend this hotel if 1) you are wanting to stay closer to the colleges or outskirt of Boston 2) if you have a car you need to park (decent price) or pets you are bringing with you and 3) if you intend on taking advantage of the many perks this hotel has to offer. I haven't stayed in downtown Boston yet, so I have no idea how that compares… I would stay here again though, and I think that says something about the hotel.

Your Turn

Have you ever spent the night in the Boston area? Is there any place near there (in Cambridge or otherwise) that you would recommend? Would you consider this hotel for the future?

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