The Liberty, a Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel, Boston
What We Love
- Prime downtown Boston location
- Free bicycles, Saturday yoga, and a Running Concierge (depending on the season)
- "Liberty Affairs," a full range of weekly on-site social events (including Gallery Night Tuesdays, Fashionably Late Thursdays and Fall Fitness Saturdays)
What To Know
- 18 rooms are in the original jail itself, while the other 280 are in the new, modern building
- There's a young, hip vibe; Alibi Bar & Lounge is busy late into the evening
- The fitness room is on the small side, and there’s no pool or spa
- Free WiFi and overnight shoeshine service
- The hotel is pet-friendly and nonsmoking
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
In just a few years the Liberty Hotel has become Boston’s most talked-about property and one of the most unique on the National Register of Historic Places. Dual escalators separated by a contemporary mosaic rise to the jail’s central octagonal rotunda — now the bustling lobby. Complementing the original granite exterior, tiers of wrought iron and weathered brick fully envelop the space. The lobby is in a five-level, 90-foot atrium, and the space is illuminated by chain-link chandeliers and natural light filtered through elaborate ocular windows and three-story glass panes. Burgundy, black and white couches and fabulous chairs set a tone of warmth and splendor.
Bed and Bath
In the adjoining tower’s guestrooms, the focus is on details such as four-fixture baths and superfine linens. In some rooms floor-to-ceiling windows look out at the crossroads of Boston and Cambridge, where sailboats fade into the horizon. In all cases, the rooms themselves are elegant, technologically up to date and delightfully comfortable. The ubiquitous prison theme is reflected in the “Solitary” key rings placed on doorknobs in place of “Do Not Disturb” signs.
In the main building, the prison theme is ever present. The Clink restaurant uses the vestiges of original cells as the backdrop for its modern American cuisine, which is heavily focused on local and sustainable ingredients. Downstairs, at Alibi Bar & Lounge, patrons can raise their glasses and sip cocktails in the Charles Street Jail’s drunk tank.
In the Area
Renowned restaurant Scampo is adjacent to the hotel’s entrance and serves renowned lobster dishes that showcase chef Lydia Shire’s culinary ingenuity. Take in the beauty and prestige of Beacon Hill and the Italian charm of the North End by walking through Boston’s famous neighborhoods on the Freedom Trail, still the best way to learn about Boston’s rich history. With a recent expansion that added 53 galleries, the Museum of Fine Arts houses a vast and varied collection from all over the world. (Don’t miss the Buddha room.) A visit to the country’s first restaurant, Union Oyster House (circa 1826), is a must on any trip to Boston. Shuck ’til you drop or feast on lobster, New England fish cakes or any of the fresh fish specialties at yet another National Historic Landmark.
How to Get There
The room my husband and I were given had non-working a/c. We complained to the front desk (we were behind a man who was also complaining about his a/c not working) and were told they would fix it, which they did temporarily but it broke again in the afternoon. The front desk said they would call us to see if the a/c was working and we fell asleep waiting for that call, only to be woken by it 2 hours later when they finally remembered us. We told them it wasn't fixed and the hotel promised to send someone up with keys to another room. We waited 45 minutes, called the front desk again, and that's when they finally sent someone. It's absolutely unacceptable that we spent several hours of our vacation time rectifying their mistake.
The second room had working a/c but a clogged shower drain, which they fixed when we complained. I suppose we could have fixed it ourselves but there's no way I'm reaching into a drain to fish out a bunch of strangers' hair. Two issues with two separate rooms is too many, and reading reviews on Flyertalk it's clear that the a/c is an ongoing problem.
There are some pros but they're quite superficial. The hotel certainly has a beautiful lobby and room decor. The toiletries are Molton Brown, the bathroom is spacious, and the elevators are very quick.
I'd recommend staying elsewhere and visiting the hotel to take a photo of the lobby. You get about 70% of the benefits that way and don't have to deal with the friendly but ineffective service. This trip my husband's colleagues stayed at the Four Seasons, the Hyatt and the W, and none of them had any issues. Next time we'll opt for one of those.
The Boston Strangler, Malcolm X and even Babe Ruth has been inside these walls. What a great hotel. The history behind this hotel is dubious which adds to its character. My wife was convinced someone was standing outside our window on the 7th floor.
They turn the lobby into a club on a Friday and Saturday nights. I promise you the prisoners never partied like we did Friday night.
If you want to stay some place different this hotel is a must.
We booked a three night stay at the Liberty Hotel using a combination of Starwood Points and money in order to mitigate the high tariff for the room ($450++/night for standard room). At that tariff, we assumed that even the standard accommodation would be superior to another brand's offering since this is in Starwood's 'Luxury Collection '. Boy, we're we wrong!! The room was of average size with two beds, a writing table and office chair and a platform to pace suitcases on that had two drawers underneath. Other than the wall TV and 3 lamps, NOTHING ELSE! The only reading light for the two beds was a single lamp on the one night table between the beds. There wasn't even a clock in the room. One had to sit on the bed to watch the TV. And the view? We looked into the office windows of the MGH Hospital across the narrow alley that faced our windows (and they looked into our room if the drapes were left open). We feel we were given this inferior accommodation because we were using Starpoints, which was the first and last time we shall do so and we are reassessing our loyalty to the Starwood brand as well.
Stayed here for 3 nights in May 2018 for a company perk trip and found the rooms very nice with desk, sofa and small fridge with sodas, beers and liquor. Unique metal night stand that looks like a safe actually held a safe. Glass of champagne while checking in was a nice touch. Bar staff was friendly and helpful. This hotel is pet friendly which would be fine if the pets were friendly but a small dog in the bar area almost bit my wife as well as another woman. Lobster roll was skimpy and eggs we had for breakfast appeared to have been cooked in a large container in the oven.
I stayed at this hotel the night after running the Boston Marathon in April 2018. The staff was so accommodating from the moment we arrived (I ran with my mom, aunt, and cousin and we all stayed at the hotel) offering us special pre-marathon food and beverages, and VIP treatment. This hotel is a unique experience since it used to be a jail. I love how they kept some of the original bars on the walls! The interior and exterior is absolutely gorgeous and the rooms have an excellent view of Boston. No matter what room you stay in, you will feel like royalty. No need to even leave the hotel to have a good time, the Liberty has 3 bar/restaurants to choose from, each offering delicious cuisine and drinks, and an exciting and lively atmosphere. Highly recommend, especially if you are in town for the marathon. It is very close to the Boston Common, where the buses pick up runners to bring them to the start line!