Best Kid-Friendly Boston Hotels

Check out these properties for kid-friendly services and local family-fun attractions.


Families on a Boston vacation need every incentive and break they can get. Most large hotels offer packages that are meant to lure families. They might give you tickets to local attractions, cookies at bedtime, free movies and sometimes even toys. No doubt visiting museums will be a high priority on your trip and if you can get some free tickets, you can save a bundle.

Downtime is also important when traveling with kids, and there’s no better place for this than at swimming pools, which are found at many of the Boston family hotels that I’ve reviewed. The following spots consistently offer great family packages and other perks. Three of these hotels are in Cambridge, which is just a stone’s throw from Boston, Mass., and easily accessible by car and subway.

Boston Harbor Hotel

The Boston Harbor Hotel on Rowes Wharf, features a location which alone is almost enough to entertain kids. Watching the hustle and bustle of the harbor traffic can be quite enthralling. You and your family can easily walk to Faneuil Hall, the Freedom Trail and the New England Aquarium. You can rely on the hotel to have Boston family packages year-round, usually tied to the season, that are just an extra $25 on top of whatever room or suite price you book. The current spring package, which runs from March 19 to June 18, includes sugar cookies and milk at turndown, four tickets to the New England Aquarium (worth about $60) and valet parking (which is $36 a night). There’s also a gorgeous 60-foot indoor pool.

During the summer, the hotel offers free outdoor concerts on Tuesday through Thursday nights, and classic film screenings on Friday nights. Movies featured have included Some Like It Hot, Planet of the Apes and The Princess Bride.

Even without the package, the hotel takes notice of all kids who stay there during their Boston vacations. It has books, games, puzzles, child-size bathrobes and even an in-room high chair available. Other items on hand are strollers and a car seat, should you choose not to travel with yours.

Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, tel. 617-439-7000. Package rates start at $375.

Omni Parker House

The Omni Parker House is a veritable institution that opened in 1855. Its employee and guest lists are legendary, as is its claim to fame of creating both the Boston Cream Pie and Parker House Rolls. Malcolm X was a busboy here; Ho Chi Minh was a baker. Wizard of Oz fans might love that Judy Garland used to stay here. The hotel is located in an ideal spot for vacationers, right along the Freedom Trail across from Boston Common. You can walk to almost every tourist spot you can think of—Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, the Public Garden, the State House and many others.

The hotel is ideal for traveling to Boston with kids—it offers a number of packages of interest to families throughout the year. For example in winter, there’s a Wet-n-Wild Aquarium package and a Boston Hockey Sports Fan package, among others. Check the Web site for other seasonal options. Kids also get a goodie bag with games and books upon check-in.

Omni Parker House, 60 School St., tel. 617-227-8600. Package rates start at $179.

Hyatt Regency Cambridge

One of the best views of Boston from a hotel is found at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge. The hotel sits on the Charles River, and while it’s not on a subway line, there is a complimentary shuttle that takes you to select sites in Cambridge. Just outside the doors, you can walk or bike along the pedestrian path on Memorial Drive.

The hotel has adult and kid-size bikes for rental (with locks and helmets). A 75-foot-long indoor pool with a retractable roof is another plus. It would be silly to stay here without booking a river-view room, so make sure to ask. Even the standard rooms are a good size, at 400 square feet, so families can move around. Make sure to inquire about packages, which change seasonally.

Hyatt Regency Cambridge, 575 Memorial Drive, tel. 617-492-1234. Package rates start at $129.

Royal Sonesta

The Royal Sonesta, with its close proximity to the Museum of Science, has more than that to lure in families, including an atrium-style pool. Its “Family Fun Package” includes VIP tickets to the Museum of Science (within easy walking distance), and cookies and milk at bedtime. Free wireless Internet is offered, and there’s a 24-hour health club, should you have time to work out. The hotel sits on the Charles River, and shoppers should like the fact that it’s across the street from the CambridgeSide Galleria mall.

The hotel has an interesting collection of almost 100 pieces of original contemporary art. You can pick up a guide from the front desk to take a self-guided tour. This is certainly an easy way to give your kids a dose of culture! The hotel also offers shuttle service to Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall, Copley Square and Kendall Square.

Royal Sonesta, 40 Edwin Land Blvd., tel. 617-806-4200. Package rates start at $199,

Charles Hotel

Right in famous Harvard Square sits the Charles Hotel, a luxurious property that nonetheless still caters to families as well as visiting professors and dignitaries. The “Kid’s Quest” package, available until the end of 2009, includes a personalized “Kid’s Kit” with activity books, small toys and a Frankie Goes to Fenway book. Kids also get special bath products, free breakfast (when parents order as well) at Henrietta’s Table or with room service, and milk and cookies. Board games are available to borrow. An extra room can be added at a 25 percent discount. This family hotel has several dining venues, but the best pick for families is the excellent Henrietta’s Table, always a boisterous and popular spot, which specializes in using local products.

In the winter, the hotel has an outdoor ice rink ($5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under) which is a treat for kids. As you wander through Harvard Square, don’t miss the fun Curious George & Friends bookstore.

Charles Hotel, One Bennett St., tel. 617-765-4515. Package rates start at $289.

Destinations: Boston

Themes: Family Travel, Urban Endeavors

Activities: Sleep

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