Standing guard at the corner of fashionable Newbury Street and the Public Garden, the old-school elegant Taj is doing its best to win over the old Ritz fans (it was formerly the landmark Ritz-Carlton Boston), as well as woo new guests, with discounted weekend rates and a soft renovation. Thanks to that effort, it's the most affordable luxury hotel in town, with standard room rates starting at $229 in the off season. Changes include plush new robes and towels in guest rooms,
Molton Brown bath amenities, and vibrant floral displays in the lobby. Happily, some of the best features of the old Ritz remain, including wood-burning fireplaces (and fireplace butlers), Boston's best afternoon tea, and glorious views. Readers warn: Avoid rooms on the 16th floor, under the roof-deck party space.