Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood wasn’t always the place to be or be seen. In the 1960s and 70s, This central shopping area once bordered Boston’s “combat zone” -- the adult entertainment district. The combat zone is now a part of Boston’s history, and Downtown Crossing of today, with its trendy bars and restaurants, has become one of the city’s must-visit neighborhoods. Here’s a look at one of its newest tenants -- the chic Godfrey Hotel.
Budget Level: Upscale ($150 to $300 per night)
Lodging Type: Large Hotel (100+ rooms)
What You Need to Know
It’s not just the neighborhood that’s gotten a makeover. With its meticulously preserved exterior and a shining new interior, the Godfrey itself has been transformed from dilapidated eyesore to a historic landmark. You’ll see some of the Blake and Amory building’s original gothic revival style around the elevators, but the rest of the building is clean-lined and modern. Rooms are done in gray and navy blue with crisp white bedding. Look for quirks like analog alarm clocks in all the rooms, and fun celebrity quotes on the laundry bags.
The Godfrey feels very much connected to Downtown Crossing, which is filled with startups and tech companies. You’ll see shoppers, students, and young professionals darting down the narrow streets from your room. You’ll also find the lobby -- and the excellent, adjoining George Howell Coffee -- constantly buzzing with hotel guests and locals, many of whom have come to chat with friends, use the free wifi, or just enjoy the space.
Who Will Love It
If you’re looking to stay on the doorstep of top-notch restaurants and nightlife, this is it. Bonus points if you’re looking for modern design that feels approachably homey, with a social atmosphere.
Who Might Not
Guests looking for a serene escape from the surrounding city may find the downtown location — and the hotel’s energy — a little too stimulating. And although the rooms are plenty peaceful, the hotel doesn’t have a spa.
Ruka, the hotel’s restaurant, offers over-the-top decor and Chinese-Japanese-Peruvian fusion dishes that wow on the plate. Impeccably prepared and presented, you’ll find sushi rolls, sashimi, tacos, ceviche, and a roster of cocktails in cheeky glassware. For a truly show-stopping experience for a big group, order the whole-fried black bass with mussels, shrimp, and sweet chili sauce. A tip — make your restaurant reservation when you book your room. You’ll need to reserve well in advance to snag a table.
With your room reservation, you’ll get complementary wifi, overnight shoe shines, use of the gym, and bicycles (in season). During the week and when the weather’s nice, ask about the hotel’s guided running tours. Individuals and small groups can run with a local at 6:30 a.m. for free.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
Extras like valet laundry and dry cleaning, as well as parking, cost extra.
How to Get a Deal
For all Boston hotels, prices drop with temperatures. Look at January and February for affordable rates — think $150 to $200 per night vs. summer and fall rates of $300 to $350. Sign up in the hotel’s booking engine to access special discounts like 5 percent cash back, or discounts on your next stay.
In the Neighborhood
The Godfrey is just up the block from Boston’s theaters, which feature the touring productions of Broadway musicals, nationally known comedy and music acts, and the Boston Ballet. It’s also a short walk to the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden — two of the city’s most treasured green spaces. Walk in the other direction about 15 minutes, and you’ll reach the shopping and dining hubs of Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Quincy Market, as well as the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Boston Logan International Airport is a surprisingly easy 20-minute drive from the hotel. Estimate about $25 to $30 for a taxi, including tip.
Nearest Public Transit
The Godfrey is well connected to Boston’s subway system — the T — with the Downtown Crossing stop just around the corner. The Chinatown and Park Street stops are also within a five-minute walk.
The Bottom Line
This stylish property is right in step with the pulsing neighborhood around it — and is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking to see all of what Boston has to offer.