Best of Boston

2000 Best Hotel, General Excellence

The Charles Hotel

Perhaps the best answer to what defines the Cambridge experience, The Charles Hotel is the epitome of understated elegance. Sure, The Charles has all the amenities one would expect from a first-class hotel (health club, plush towels, in-room computer portals), but it also has a combination of “extras” that take it over the top in our book: the Regattabar (the best place to hear live jazz in town); incredibly private rooms (you’ll have no idea you even have neighbors, the walls are so thick); and even a library form which patrons can check out anything from Iris Murdoch novels to cookbooks. For a real splurge, the presidential suite, which has been enjoyed by the likes of Barbra Streisand and Jane Fonda, is the way to go: With its own kitchen, baby grand piano, two bathrooms, and entertainment center, you’ll never want to go home again.

1 Bennett Street, Cambridge, 617-864-1200,