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My review of the Ames Boston Hotel – part of Curio Collection by Hilton

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This is my review of the Ames Boston Hotel, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.

We asked Hilton if they could help out with some accommodation in Boston after my Aer Lingus flight.  They offered me two nights with breakfast in the Ames Boston Hotel, which joined Curio Collection by Hilton in Summer 2016.  HFP paid all of its other costs.

I had already stayed at one Curio Collection property this year, the Gran Hotel Montesol Ibiza which I reviewed – positively – here.

As you can see from the Curio Collection website here, it is the equivalent of Starwood’s ‘Tribute’ or Marriott’s ‘Autograph’ chains.  It consists of luxurious independent hotels which retain a high degree of autonomy in how they operate day to day, are very lightly branded but can still benefit from Hilton’s marketing scale.  This includes allowing you to earn or redeem Hilton Honors points on your stays.

The Ames Boston Hotel website is here and here is my review:

Location

Even though this was my first trip to Boston and I’m therefore not familiar with the city, I would say that the Ames Boston Hotel in Downtown Boston is in a perfect location to explore.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace is just around the corner, there’s a large shopping street pretty much outside the hotel and you can join the Freedom Trail walking tour in the parallel street.  The hotel also offers free bike rental if you are up for it.

I had a very brief stay at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport hotel the night before, which HFP paid for.  I was hardly awake in hotel so I can’t review it objectively, except to say that it scores on convenience (attached to the airport) but has a very 1980’s feel.

I took a taxi from outside the hotel to get to the Ames Boston Hotel.  The ride ended up costing $30 whilst my return ride back to the airport, in an Uber, was just $15.  Uber wins.  You live, you learn.

Review Ames Boston Hotel

The building

Built in 1893 the 15-story high Ames Building was Boston’s first skyscraper. In 1974 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Boston Landmark in 1993. The Ames Building was sold in 2007 and after undergoing complete renovations it opened as the luxury Ames Boston Hotel in 2009.

In July 2016, after further refurbishments, the Ames Boston Hotel became part of Hilton’s Curio Collection portfolio.

Check-in

The reception is tucked away in between the entrance doors and the breakfast room (which doubles as an all day coffee lounge). As the hotel is fairly small there was only one receptionist at most times although I was lucky and found two on duty when I arrived.

The check in process was quick and painless with me handing over my passport and getting $150 charged to my credit card for authorisation purposes.  I asked for a map of the Freedom Trail as that was one of the things on my ‘to see’ list, as well as a trip to the USS Constitution.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

My room

The Ames Boston Hotel has 114 rooms including 11 suites, of which the Presidential Suite is a full one-bedroom apartment.

I stayed in a King Deluxe which is one level above a standard room.  These are advertised as “from 250 square feet” but they clearly vary as mine was bigger and a decent size for a city hotel. The walls were black which could have made the room look very dark and depressing, but with light brown wooden flooring, a white ceiling and two fairly large windows the room was actually rather inviting.

Wi-fi was complimentary and a good speed for voice calls, Netflix and emails.

curio ames boston hilton review

The bathroom was a cubicle inside the room with a glass wall in between the walk in shower and the bedroom. The bathroom door is on the side. There was no bathtub – only a few rooms in the hotel have one. As I was travelling alone I didn’t mind the ‘open’ bathroom, but there was a white curtain that can cover the bathroom if necessary.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

The bathroom had a full length mirror which made it appear bigger than it was. In front of the mirror was a lot of space for make up, wash bag etc.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

The shampoo and conditioner were by Molton Brown. There was no liquid shower gel, oddly, and as I still had some left from the Hilton at the airport I never got to use the soap bar.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

The bed was comfortable with the usual four pillows to choose from, of which two have to sleep on the floor at night.

There were two bedside tables with lamps that reminded me of old street lights and hark back to the Victorian roots of the building.

Curio Ames Boston Hotel review

Opposite the bed was a good size desk with a chair as well as a sitting area with armchair and coffee table.

Using the app Stayconnect I connected my phone with the TV and was able to watch Netflix on the big screen.  This was impressive.

You could also purchase movies via the app but at $10 for an old movie and $20 for a new one, I found this overpriced.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

In between the entrance door and the bathroom door was the wardrobe with ironing board, minibar and safe.

There was no socket around that area and I had to take the coffee machine out of the cupboard and plug it in next to the bed to make a coffee. The coffee was good, with a typical American style machine using a pad akin to a large tea bag.  I just don’t understand America’s obsession with takeaway cups in hotel rooms, especially when the hotel offers free coffee in the breakfast room all day.  In my hotel room, I’d much rather drink coffee from a real mug.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

The staircase next to the lift was one of the original features of the building which has been retained.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

Suite

I asked to see one of the suites. The picture below shows the living room area.   The bedroom and bathroom were almost identical to the ones in my room.

Ames Boston Hotel suite

Meeting Rooms

The hotel has two meeting rooms which can be combined into one big space. Ames, the room in the picture below, was very bright thanks to almost floor to ceiling windows and even had a functioning fire place.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

The Oliver & Oakes meeting room looked like an old library with real books on the shelves.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

Breakfast

The breakfast buffet in the area next to the reception was served from 6:30am – 10:30am.  It is free for Hilton Diamond members, and Gold members can choose free breakfast as their ‘My Way’ benefit. For everyone else it costs $18 per person.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

Typically American, there was a huge selection of cereals, flat square sausages, potatoes and eggs. There was also a good selection of yoghurt, fruit and bread as well as a selection of muffins and cakes. I would have loved to see some cheese or cold cuts, but the only things to put on bread were cream cheese, peanut butter and jam.

The coffee machine was free to use for all guests all day long and had a pile of take away cups next to it so you can make a coffee before leaving the hotel.  This is a simple and low cost gesture for the hotel but one that I appreciated.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by HiltonCultivar

Travelling on my own, I didn’t have the urge to eat in the hotel’s new restaurant Cultivar but I did like the botanical design.  Given that you are in the centre of Downtown there is no shortage of other dining options.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

Gym

The gym was nice and bright thanks to large windows and had all the standard machines you would expect to find in a good hotel gym.

Review of the Ames Boston Hotel - Curio collection by Hilton

Video

I edited a few clips into a short video that hopefully gives a good impression of the Ames Boston Hotel. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel via this page – this is the same link to visit if the video does not automatically appear below.

Conclusion

The Ames Boston Hotel is an impressive boutique hotel with lovely staff which is well placed in a great location for exploring Boston.

As my second Curio Collection stay this year, I have begun to feel very positive about the brand.  The quality of properties appears to be high and, with a greater degree of independence to divert from Hilton ‘brand standards’, there is always an element of quirkiness or surprise.  Whilst Rob had a terrible time at the Hamburg Curio (Reichshof) during its bodged opening – see here – I know his wife has been there more recently and raved about the Art Nouveau interiors.

Being able to combine a degree of independence and original style together with the ability to apply your Hilton Honors status benefits and earn or redeem points appears to be a winning combination.  You can see why Starwood’s ‘Tribute’ and Marriott’s ‘Autograph’ brands have been equally successful.

A standard room at the Ames Boston Hotel costs up to 70,000 Hilton Honors points.  A typical weekend cash rate, booked now for March 2018, was $339 + 14.45% tax per night, so a redemption is good value.  Cash prices can get a little crazy (the weekend of 6th-8th May is $689 plus tax for a standard room, perhaps due to graduation ceremonies) which makes 70,000 points an exceptional deal.

The Ames Boston Hotel website is here if you want to find out more.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (53)

  • Tristan Elby says:

    “I just don’t understand America’s obsession with takeaway cups in hotel rooms, especially when the hotel offers free coffee in the breakfast room all day. In my hotel room, I’d much rather drink coffee from a real mug.”

    I agree that real mugs are much nicer, but would you be comfortable drinking from a real mug which the housekeeper washed in the bathroom sink after cleaning the rest of the bathroom? Sadly, disposables are a much cleaner option in view of how widespread this practice is. I wish more hotels would provide disposable cups!

    • Sam Wardill says:

      Tristan – I am totally with you. Isn’t that why they also now have wrapped plastic glasses in the bathroom?

      On the subject of Uber, I’m surprised that the significant cost advantage of Uber vs. taxi would be a revelation to you, Anika. On this basis I can kind of understand why people like Sadiq Khan might not realise the devastating impact of banning Uber.

      • Mike says:

        I have never used UBER is it cheaper ? If so I might take a look – do

        • Mike says:

          From one Mike to another, Uber in USA is a good option and cheaper than using standard cabs. I was in Miami recently and the best value for money I had was Uber. Miami is incredibly expensive but Uber was very reasonable when travelling around the city. Unfortunately, I can’t use Uber where I currently. live

        • barnaby100 says:

          It is a moral choice isn’t it?

      • Rob says:

        Uber is not half the price of a standard cab in London.

        • Lumma says:

          What would be even cheaper than both in Boston would be to get the silver line to downtown. It’s a bus that pretends to be a subway train and it’s free from the airport

        • Yuff says:

          It’s about a 1/3 rd, of a black cab to T5 Hilton, at Heathrow, having got stung with a black cab at T5 after missing the last hoppa by 2 mins.

    • RussellH says:

      I am absoutely with Anika on this. A hotel of this standing should have no difficulties training staff to bring clean cups or mugs from the kitchen and taking the used ones back there. The same applies to the disgusting plastic-wrapped tooth mugs.

      Personally I would love to see a punitive environmental levy on disposable crockery and cutlery.

  • Boris says:

    The Ames used to be part of the Morgan’s hotel collection and doesn’t appear to of changed too much since it first opened vs your report

  • TripRep says:

    Anika – Great review of ca nicelooking hotel, but heck that’s one hell of a cash price!

    For balance, I wouild very interested to see how it compares to other Hilton’s in Boston and to similar hotels from rival chains?

    • The Paw says:

      Best not to regard cash prices of Boston hotels on May weekends as representative!
      Boston, being a university city, has four major universities with 15-30 thousand students each, as well as several smaller universities and colleges. Unlike Oxbridge, each university has a single annual commencement (graduation) ceremony on a weekend in May. So the city is flooded with parents and relatives most weekends in May…

    • Mike says:

      $689 plus tax !!

  • TripRep says:

    Anika – Great review of a nice looking hotel, but heck that’s one hell of a cash price!

    For balance, I wouild very interested to see how it compares to other Hilton’s in Boston and to similar hotels from rival chains?

    • Sandra says:

      We spent a week in Boston over the (UK) October half term staying at the Intercontinental which is on the waterfront on the edge of the business district, about 5 minutes walk from Fanueil Hall & harbour ferries in one direction and the South Station in the other. We liked the location as it was central for the sights and the hotel was well serviced, clean and friendly, the Club Lounge was excellent. Pricewise our rate over the week varied between $528 and $390 (2 double bed city view incl. breakfast but no Club access, booked 6 months earlier). As Ambassador members we were upgraded one level to a waterfront view and we negotiated Club access with reception at further cost. As someone else said there are world renowned universities plus several other colleges in Boston and it is a popular place – Halloween (proximity to Salem) and Fall colours pushed up prices whilst we were there. It is also popular for conferences and in addition to the normal taxes there is a 2.75% additional Massachusetts state conference tax! It is a great city and despite high hotel rates we will go back choosing our dates carefully. If you do stay at the Intercon though a waterfront view is best, on the city side you have the fire station which is large and fire engines go out several times day/night sirens blaring!

    • barnaby100 says:

      I stayed twice last easter- top and tailed a longer stay. Booked on points as a diamond but swapped 2nd stay to cash quite late as it was only about $200- room with bath and bathroom door. In my experience of boston rooms come down a lot very close to the stay. Across Boston hotels you often see people on a long stay cancelling and rebooking at the desk mid afternoon during a stay to get a cheaper price for the next night. I remember once on new years eve the snow came in- everything cancelled. I was going down in lift to get coffee and the lift was packed, a lady in the lift asked me if I was rushing to rebook- she grabbed me and took me to the desk and as we were within cancellation and the rate had dropped we saved about $500 on the 2 rooms for that night alone.

  • Alan says:

    Good review, thanks Anika.

    I think you maybe mean USS Constitution, not Institution? 😉

    I swithered about staying here back in June – ended up going for Hilton Boston Back Bay instead. Was using a free night certificate for one night then points for the other so it was a bit cheaper. Not as recently/nicely renovated as this property but I really like the Back Bay area. Price-wise both were expensive and points good value. Went for the even cheaper option of taking the MBTA subway both ways!

  • xcalx says:

    “I took a taxi from outside the hotel to get to the Ames Boston Hotel. The ride ended up costing $30 whilst my return ride back to the airport, in an Uber, was just $15. Uber wins. You live, you learn.”

    Or the Taxi has a built in $$ excess FROM an airport but no such fee TO an airport. I have come across this practice worldwide.

    • Kiran says:

      In Boston there is a road toll going into Boston but not one coming back which would explain about $4-5 of the fare difference.

  • the real harry1 says:

    Is Boston the most European of US cities in feel? I must say I loved it way back when and everything felt scaleable

    • RussellH says:

      Boston is indeed often said to be the ” most European of US cities”. But what does that mean, eaxctly? I do not know, TBH. European cities (and even British ones) all have their own, distinctive feel. I did meet a Bostonian last summer in northern California (who had only comparatively recently moved west) and she said that she still found aspects of Californian life weird. She missed proper winters…

      Boston was the first US city I visited, over Christmas / New Year 1971/72. Having hitched and wandered around much of Europe during the late 1960s (including being escorted down a mountain path by armed Jugoslav soldiers) I found US immigration and customs a real shock to the system that took some days to get over. But after that it did not seem that different to London. However, I have not been back since 1980.

  • Lumma says:

    Boston is a great city but hotel prices are verging on the ridiculous. Was there back in August and unless I wanted to sleep in a dormitory, there wasn’t anywhere for under £120 a night.

    In the end I used Airbnb for the first time and absolutely loved it, big mansion in a seaside suburb. Actually preferred the bars and restaurants near where I stayed and it was only 10 minutes to downtown on the subway. £160 for all 4 nights