In a city steeped in history like Boston, it’s not uncommon to find hotels that are also steeped in history. However, amongst Boston’s many historic hotels, The Liberty stands above the rest for not only the unique historic usage of the building but also the luxury accommodations that pamper guests and their furry friends. This pet-friendly hotel, which is part of the Starwood Luxury Collection, was once a working jail!
The Liberty, a Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel
Address: 215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA (see map)
Contact: +1 617-224-4000
“Sentenced” to a unique historic hotel
Built in 1851, the building operated as the Charles Street Jail until 1990. Today, reminders of The Liberty’s past are alive throughout the building in fun and chic ways. Guests enter the building and take an escalator ride into the hotel’s main lobby, which was once the prison atrium. Catwalks and balconies loom overhead with some of the building’s original ironwork. Much of the exposed brickwork and some of the tile floor are also holdovers from the past. The restaurants and bars are also themed with names like Clink, Alibi, The Yard, Catwalk, and Scampo.
“Do time” in luxuriously renovated rooms
Thankfully, the rooms have all been updated from their former accommodations as jail cells. Guests sleep well not on bunks but comfortable Heavenly beds by Westin. All rooms come standard with in-room safes, complimentary high speed Internet, flat screen TVs, and Molton Brown bathroom amenities. The rooms are a bit on the small side and some don’t necessarily have the best views as the hotel is located next to a hospital. However, you’re not in Boston to stay in solitary confinement in your room. If you do desire a larger room with a view, upgrades are available from Corner Suites to Charles River Suites to the Deluxe Embersol with a giant balcony complete with chaise lounges.
Eat in one of the modern “mess halls”
The Liberty offers two fine dining options. Clink is their modern American restaurant, which features seasonal fare prepared from local and sustainable ingredients. The restaurant provides a quaint atmosphere with many dining nooks built into the remnants of jail cells. Scampo serves contemporary Italian food from an open kitchen and offers a brick oven for pizzas and a house-made mozzarella bar. Scampo also has a large patio for alfresco dining during the warmer months.
Get wild during “yard time”
The Liberty is a wide-open party once the sun goes down. The main lobby, which houses The Liberty Bar, closer resembles a nightclub for both guests and locals alike. It’s where the Boston young and beautiful come to play. If you’re looking for something a little more quaint, check out Alibi. Fittingly, the bar is in the jail’s former drunk tank. Enjoy craft cocktails and late night light snacks. Also, be sure to check out the fun posters with mug shots from movie stars like Charlie Sheen. A third option is the guest only Catwalk Bar which requires a keycard and elevator to access. The bar is meshed into the various levels of catwalks overlooking the hotel’s main lobby. The menu is a bit more upscale than the other bars. Catwalk’s private nature makes it a great place for celebrity spotting.
Take a “prison break” in Boston
While the hotel has enough amenities and history to keep guests occupied, it’s also centrally located in Beacon Hill for easy access to many of Boston’s most famous sites. Boston Common, the Freedom Trail, Cheers, and the Charles River Esplanade are all just a short stroll away. A little further but still walkable is TD Bank North Garden and Fenway Way. If you prefer biking, the hotel does offer complimentary bicycles during the warmer months.
A hotel stay you won’t forget any time soon
Unlike prison, The Liberty is definitely a place you’ll want to do another “stint” in. It’s the ideal Boston hotel, tying in the city’s rich history with the best attractions the city has to offer all within walking distance.