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Rubi_Niner Feb 6th, 2012 12:23 PM

Harvard Graduation Affordable Hotels?
We're attending graduation in May and need advice on more affordable hotel options than most of what we've seen in Boston. We can stay at Best Western in Woburn or Best Western in Quincy as rates seem better. For Woburn we may need car to get there from airport whereas Quincy has aiport shuttle service. Have read that it's not easy to drive in Boston and expensive to park. It's our first time to Boston so we want to see some of the area in addition to graduation. Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

mztery Feb 6th, 2012 12:42 PM

As graduation is actually in Cambridge have you checked rates in Cambridge? Probably also high. it's also Mem day weekend too right?

I'm seeing some Hol Inns and Best Westerns in Cambridge/Somerville in the mid 200's for May 22-26.....on

mztery Feb 6th, 2012 12:42 PM

Plus it is CRAZY to try and drive.....

Ackislander Feb 6th, 2012 01:16 PM

The Best Western in Quincy has had a reputation for being scary. Maybe it has changed, but it is also a terrible location to see anything in Boston. In terms of location, Woburn is even worse though it's a nice town.

Harvard graduation is a great event, funny and moving at the same time (no, I am not an alum) but it is going to require you to bite the bullet and stay somewhere close to the Red Line because there will be no parking in Cambridge that day. Kendall Square would be good, there is a Holiday Inn on Cambridge Street near the MGH station on the Boston side, there is the Parker House, and there are a couple of places in the Theater District/Park Square area. Some people really like a small hotel near Quincy Market and the Financial District (name escapes me). You could stay at the airport and take the Blue Lie to the Green Line to the Red Line.

You don't have to stay the whole time in the same hotel but to get to the action on graduation day, it is worth the splurge. Save money on food, but get to the Red Line and get there early. Then you could change to a cheaper hotel, farther out or to a guest house or B&B.


cw Feb 6th, 2012 05:41 PM

What's your budget for a hotel? I checked for May 23-27 (commencement is on the 24th) and saw the Marriott Copley Place for $173 per night. There are other hotels as well. You can identify the Marriott from one of the photos. It's the 3.5 star Back Bay hotel.

330east Feb 6th, 2012 06:21 PM

Boston Marriott Newton?

Rubi_Niner Feb 6th, 2012 08:33 PM

Thanks for the replies! We were hoping to stay around $150 per night but that's probably unrealistic for the area and time of year. Our dates are May 21-26 with graduation on the 24th. Now that I know Woburn and Quincy aren't the best choices I'll take a look at the hotels mentioned above and also the areas, such as Back Bay and/or somewhere close to the Red Line.

Ackislander Feb 7th, 2012 12:25 AM

Not Marriott Newton. It is a long, long way from the airport and not remotely near public transportation to the city, much less Cambridge. You would have to take a hotel van to the end of the Green Line at Riverside, then _at least_ 45 minutes to Park Street, then change to the Red Line for Harvard Square. And it isn't "8 minutes to Park Street" any more, if you remember the sign that used to be outside the Harvard Square station.

But it was good to post this to show the OP that you really have to be careful about hotel listings for "Boston this" or "Boston that." They are often very far out (like half way to New Hampshire or the Cape).

Gretchen Feb 7th, 2012 06:29 AM

Have you checked with the University? Most schools get specials for graduation, in my experience.

bardo1 Feb 7th, 2012 08:46 AM

Here's a nice place on Beacon Hill, a short walk to Harvard Campus, and within your $150 budget.

yk Feb 7th, 2012 12:10 PM

YOu can also check the Hampton Inn near Lechmere, or the Holiday Inn Suites near North Station.

cw Feb 7th, 2012 12:28 PM

The John Jeffries House is about 3-4 miles from the main Harvard Campus. It's a short walk though to the Red Line which will take you to Harvard Square. Good suggestion if it has vacancies.

Rubi_Niner Feb 7th, 2012 02:29 PM

I'll check out the Jeffries House as it sounds/looks nice. I'm holding a room at the Best Western Hotel Tria, located at 220 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Cambridge. It says they have a free shuttle to Harvard Square and also the Alewife T Station. If I don't find anything else I hope this is close enough to Harvard and sightseeing.

yk Feb 7th, 2012 05:56 PM

I'm not a fan of Tria. It's at a busy intersection and not much around except for IHOP and Trader Joe's. You can technically walk to Alewife T station if you wish (google map says 0.6mile) but it's a totaly charmless walk along strip malls and probably not very pleasant esp at night.

Did you check the Hampton Inn or the HI Suites I mentioned above?

DonTopaz Feb 8th, 2012 02:43 AM

The Tria does have a a couple of things going for it. It's adjacent to a Whole Foods store and across the street from the walking/running/biking trail that encircles Fresh Pond -- you'd use the pedestrian signal to cross the very busy street. The bus to Harvard Square passes in front of the hotel, but I'm not sure where the bus stop is. (I've never set foot in the Tria, so I can't speak to the quality of the property itself.)

Ackislander Feb 8th, 2012 04:04 AM

You do not want to depend on a free shuttle to Harvard Square, but if you stay there, a free shuttle to Alewife Brook would be very helpful. You don't want to go into Harvard Square on graduation day in an aboveground wheeled vehicle. Take the T. Please.

Do you find that you can get better prices closer in the days after graduation? It's a long trip to Alewife for a sightseer.

On the other hand, if you do stay at Alewife, you have the opportunity to get off the T at Davis Square in Somerville, a kool neighborhood with lots of entertainment and places to eat, including Redbones Barbecue (yumm) and a real, old-fashioned diner from the '30's or '40's. You will need to ask directions.

If you get off at Porter Square, you can walk to Harvard Square (this is during your tourist days) and check out all the interesting shops and cafes along Mass Ave.

Rubi_Niner Feb 8th, 2012 12:40 PM

Jeffries is booked along with the condos on Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) that my niece (our graduate) forwarded to me. I looked at Holiday Inn again and I can get HI Somerville on Washington St or HI Boston-Cambridge on Monsignor O'Brien Hwy. These are roughly the same cost as Hotel Tria, so I'm wondering if either of these would be a better choice for us. What I'm seeing is the rates from about the 23th to 25th are almost double the regular rate, all for the commencement attendees presumably. In any case if you guys can advise regarding Holiday Inn vs Best Western Tria I'd sure appreciate it. Thanks for all the help!

Rubi_Niner Feb 8th, 2012 01:06 PM

Another option, La Quinta Inn Somerville on Cummings St. Hotel description says it's 1/2 mile from the T.

Ackislander Feb 8th, 2012 02:04 PM

Have you looked at where these are on Google Maps? First find them, then see where they are in relation to the MBTA. None of those Somerville motels is anywhere near the Red Line.

The HI Express on Monsignor O'Brien is the same one as the one on Washington St and is four long industrial blocks from Lechmere Station on the Green Line, which you would take to Park St and the change to the Red Line and come back in roughly the same direction.

Check the HI on Friend St in Boston. It is much better located for the T, and you can walk there from Maverick on the Blue Line if you take the T from the airport (strongly recommended if you are on a budget). There is a Whole Foods almost next door and you are on the back side of Beacon Hill for sightseeing as well as being a short walk to the Charles/MGH Red Line stop.

doug_stallings Feb 8th, 2012 02:37 PM

I can't comment on specific hotels in Boston, but I'd like to throw in a couple of considerations anyway.

1. $150 is very low for any hotel in Boston proper regardless of the time of the year. I think your expectations for hotel pricing are just not very much in line with reality. If you can find a hotel for $250 or less (even if it's double the regular rate), that's not bad as long as it's not way off at the end of one of the T lines. What I would consider is making this more of a vacation rather than just going for graduation (if you can do that); then you may not feel so bad about splurging for the hotel for a couple of nights. The costs may balance out in the end.

2. You need to consider the cost of being far out of the way, and time is money. If you do plan to do any sightseeing or anything else in Boston besides the graduation, you lose so much time when you stay in the suburbs. That travel time is worth something to me, and I'd much rather stay at a hotel in the center of things than on the outer edges if I can pay modestly more. There is a reason that location figures into pricing.

3. Definitely pay need to the experienced posters with regard to getting to Harvard on graduation day. Stay near a T stop that doesn't require a lot of changes or too much walking.

4. Finally, keep in mind that many people book their hotels for the various college graduations in Boston about a year in advance. You will have already missed out on all the good, cheap, well-located rooms already, so concentrate your search at bigger hotels if you want to stay in Boston proper or at suburban hotels that are near T stops if you really want to go that route. This is a special occasion; it's worth the splurge if you are going to the trouble of going all the way to Boston for your niece's graduation.

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