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obione980 Aug 16th, 2007 03:28 AM

Boston (or nearby) Accommodation
We will be in Boston in mid-September. We are renting a car; but think it best to stay outside the Central City, and use the T line to explore.

Could you advise us of a hotel(s) near a T line commuter station (within 40 minutes would be fine.)

Many Thanks
Paul & Ann (Brisbane, Australia)

cmcfong Aug 16th, 2007 04:35 AM

Newbury Guest House at 261 Newbury St. is a great place to stay with free parking. You will be in the center of everything and able to walk to many attractions.

gail Aug 16th, 2007 05:30 AM

While I would advise you to skip the car and stay inside Boston downtown, I realize that may not fit your needs, wants or finances.

For your plan - do a search here - many fair suggestions on places to stay and commute into Boston. (Enter Boston lodging in search)

Some very important things to keep in mind about your plan. Many hotels advertise shuttle to MBTA. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I would be prepared to take a cab to/from MBTA if necessary.

Commuter MBTA and rail lots fill extremely early in the AM - most by 7:30 AM. There are some exceptions - I am familiar most with north of Boston. The Anderson lot in Woburn (commuter rail) always has spaces. Most others north of Boston do not.

Commuter rail trains run very infrequently outside of rush hour. Weekends also has sparse service. If you are a late night person, the commuter rail will likely be a poor choice. Regular MBTA subway/trolley run until about midnight and much more frequently, rush hour or not. is good website to research public transportation of all types. It even has a fair search feature where you can enter addresses and it will tell you how to get from point A to point B.

When you find a hotel you are considering, post a new thread here with heading such as "Hotel Blah Blah, Boston - is it a good place to stay" and we can comment on your choice. Some hotel names are really deceptive as they bear little geographic proximity to where they actually are in relation to Boston.

While I know this all sounds very negative, I am trying to tell you what I think you might want to know to make this plan work.

Anonymous Aug 16th, 2007 05:50 AM

"We are renting a car; but think it best to stay outside the Central City, and use the T line to explore."

If you are going to use the T, then why are you renting a car? We could formulate a better answer if we understood why you don't want to stay in the city -- do you just prefer suburban settings, or what?

penel523 Aug 16th, 2007 06:04 AM

A good answer will send you to a place that might be interesting for you to explore on its own. You might, for instance, stay in Salem, Mass., and take the train from there to Boston. It's on Boston's North Shore and would be interesting to explore on its own, as would neighboring towns. The other advantage of Salem is that the airport's north of Boston, so you wouldn't have to drive through Boston to get there--you'd already be on your way.

Towns in the western and southern suburbs also offer interesting sights and historical properties. It would be helpful to know what kinds of things you're interested in doing.

capxxx Aug 16th, 2007 06:41 AM

(My guess is they have heard the warnings about driving in Boston.)

There is a DoubleTree Suite Hotel near Alewife Station (terminus of the Red Line). Alewife has a huge parking garage and is easy to get to.

Or you could stay in Lexington (a quaint town/suburb important to U.S. history -- the Battle of Lexington and Concord started the Revolutionary War) and be less than 10 minutes drive from Alewife.

I do suggest you stay near a T stop (MBTA subway/trolley), _not_ on one of the commuter lines, which are further out and take considerably more time to get you into Boston.

Maggi Aug 16th, 2007 06:48 AM

Obione, perhaps you are doing a driving vacation and will be in Boston with your rental vehicle as part of your trip? I recently returned from my first trip to Boston and loved our hotel, the Charlesmark. It was reasonably priced and well located and near a T stop.

tovarich Aug 16th, 2007 06:52 AM

Try the Chandler hotel.Paul

swalker Aug 16th, 2007 07:44 PM

Obione - I suggest what many others have. Rent the car for day excursions and put that extra money to a hotel in or around Boston. cambridge (on the Red line) has many great hotels. I would avoid hotesl in the Alewife station, as the area is not one where I would send a vacationer.
Do you have a price point you are trying to hit? is your goal to explore Boston/cambridge with a day trip outside the city?

obione980 Aug 16th, 2007 09:30 PM

Thanks all. We are doing a 6 week driving trip - arriving and departing the US at Atlanta. We collect our car there - and return it there. We live in Brisbane, a city of 2 million people - and are comfortable with urban driving, but we've heard Boston traffic is on another scale altogether - hence our request.

djkbooks Aug 16th, 2007 10:44 PM

I would reiterate everything Gail posted. Brilliant!

September rates are high, and it is quite late to be booking a room at a favorable price in a good location.

Since you will have a car anyway, driving to and parking at the Alewife "T" station is an excellent idea, since that particular garage offers cheap parking and nearly never fills with commuters early in the day, and it's a quick "commute" to downtown from there. I would agree with the advice not to stay in the immediate area. Not bad, but not the most favorable either.

I also agree to be suspicious of hotels offering shuttle service. In our experience such services are unreliable or even non-existent. At one hotel, the front desk claimed to have no knowledge of any such service (even though I had printed pages from their website). At another, "not today, the driver called in sick".

One idea might be the Marriott in Quincy, which is within walking distance of a Red Line station and has complimentary parking, but they may be booked for your dates by now.

Another idea might be to find lodging along the outer stops on the commuter rail, such as Lowell, Dedham/Norwood/Westwood, Framingham, with large garages (and reasonable rates), that are not tourist destinations, but convenient to the commuter rail (taking note of the schedules for your dates). Or, stay in Waltham, Woburn, Burlington, where the major chains are represented - also a reasonable drive to Alewife, though NOT ten minutes (nor is Lexington).

If you can, shop like the dickens for a nice hotel/favorable rate on Quikbook, Hotwire, try Priceline (if you can with an Australian credit card).

All in all, it's much better to stay in Boston (if you can find a rate you can manage), but prepare to pay for parking the rental car. You can often save significantly by self-parking the car (in the same garage the hotel uses) rather than use valet parking. Or, if your dates are over a weekend, park the car in the Financial District (which is barren weekends and you can park three nights for less than one night in the hotel garage).

One place that comes up regularly (due to it's awkward location, which would seem convenient but isn't) on Priceline and Hotwire is the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge. This is a very nice hotel with many rooms (huge and nicely appointed) with enormous terraces overlooking the Charles River (on one side toward the skyline). They do offer shuttle service - though you must reserve in advance (not when you're ready to go). At worst, you could drive into Boston from there (expensive to park) or taxi to the "T" (more economical). Check it out.

Unfortunately, your options would have been much greater many months ago.

If your itinerary is flexible, plan your Boston dates over a weekend.

Good luck!

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