Above: Nineteenth-century Victorian brownstones in Back Bay, Boston

Boston: Back Bay to Beacon Hill

Boston is one of those cities that strikes a pleasing balance between size, manageability and richness of metropolitan pleasures. Founded by the Puritans in 1630, today it seems a relaxed place. Many people are being drawn back to the center by the town’s livability, which ranks very high; I particularly enjoy its walkability and easy-to-use public transportation. Boston is also a city of lovely neighborhoods — areas such as Beacon Hill, Back Bay, the gentrifying South End and the emerging Fenway — all of which have a wealth of enviable townhouses comparable to those in neighborhoods such as Georgetown and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. or Greenwich Village and the Upper East Side in Manhattan.

The Eliot Hotel

My previously recommended Boston hotels are grouped close to the Public Garden and Boston Common. I used to recommend The Eliot Hotel in Back Bay, but after an unsatisfactory visit about five years ago, I decided to drop it. However, several complimentary reviews from subscribers recently persuaded me to take another look. Set on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue — one of the most beautiful urban thoroughfares in the country — and Massachusetts Avenue, The Eliot Hotel enjoys a location that puts it just steps from Newbury and Boylston streets, both alive with restaurants, shops and galleries. Back Bay’s top attractions are also within easy walking distance, including the beautiful Boston Public Library, Copley Plaza, with its high-end shopping, and the Hynes Convention Center.

The Eliot Hotel’s handsome 1925 neo-Georgian brick building with stone accents houses 95 rooms and suites. The small black-and-white marble lobby, which descends to the reception area, feels like that of a small European hotel. And elsewhere, hallways lined with fine woodwork help to sustain the impression.

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Above: Nineteenth-century Victorian brownstones in Back Bay, Boston

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Boston Restaurant Discoveries The New Harvard Art Museums Beacon Hill Walking Tour Boston for Families: The New England Aquarium