Friday, October 17, 2008

Irving House - revisited!

I have stayed at Irving House in Cambridge, MA once before, back in 1999 when I and three friends visited the US. In 2006 Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Susanne Koch stayed a few nights in this charming B & B and fell in love with it. As I worked to book a hotel room in Boston the day before going back to Europe, Irving House was the only place to offer a decent room at a decent price. Staying at Irving House confirms that the small intimate B & B has so much more to offer than large luxurious hotels. Irving House is highly recommended when staying in Beantown.

Location: BBBBB

Irving House is located in Irving street, a 10 minute walk from Harvard Yard, in a quiet charming neighborhood, with the old university, bars, restaurants and shops nearby along Massachusetts avenue.

Service: BBBB+

Good but not great service at Irving House. Maybe a little more effort could have been made to make the guests feel a little more welcome. This would have emphasized the intimate feeling of this charming Bed & Breakfast.

And beware - if you have a large suitcase, as I did, there are no lift, so do ask to get a room on the ground or first floor. This is also stated in the booking confirmation. To drag it up to the 5th floor was not amusing.

Hygiene: BBBBB

Immaculately cleaned everywhere. Spotless!!

The room: BBBBB-

The room cost $240 a night, a high price, when comparing to European hotels, but cheap in a city where you may struggle to find a decent room for under $400 a night.

The room was a little smaller than I have been used to in Boston, but it had a decent double bed, but the room would probably have been on the smaller side for two.

A charming classic design with a traditional quilted bed cover, dark velvet curtains, a small desk, a comfortable chair to sit.

The bathroom had been newly renovated to a high standard. It had a bath tub, but when looking for a tap in order to use it, I discovered that it probably had been removed, or had it?

Whatever, I had to settle for a shower instead of a great dip in hot water.

There were enough room for the content of the toilet bag for at least two. All in all - a comfortable bathroom.

Breakfast: BBBB+

The breakfast is included. I may be a little spoiled, but I found it a little disappointing. No scrambled eggs or bacon, only boiled eggs available on a small buffet. A relatively small selection of cheese, no meats. A few variety of breads, one dark and one white. Coffee and juice. Jam, yogurt, muesli, and fruit. I am picky - but I do not care for sweet things for breakfast, and I missed more savory products on the buffet

As a tourist a breakfast is the meal getting you going in the morning to last you to lunch, and I found the breakfast at Irving House not too filling. A larger selection of cheese, meats, scrambled eggs and bacon would have been a good idea for travellers like me. The good thing at Irving house is that it is included (you get bed AND breakfast).

Facilities: BBBBB-

Irving House is not the place for those looking for inhouse restaurants, bars, swimming pool and fitness rooms. There are no facilities found in traditional hotels here. What you get is peace and quietness.

The breakfast room is located downstairs, a little small and there are certainly potential to get a more interesting interior here.

At the reception area you have a small room with comfortable chairs to sit in, and a mac (hooray) available for guests. So here you may check you e-mail (as I did).

Price: BBBB

I think $ 240 is expensive compared to what I would get for the same price in London, Paris or Berlin. But compared to $400+ it is an acceptable price, and you get what you need at Irving House. There are cheaper rooms with shared baths available. Prices vary with season.

Rating the Irving House experience: BBBBB- (4,55 points)

A classic Bed & Breakfast in a quiet charming area of Cambridge MA. Greater Boston area easily available by subway and bus-services. Harvard square with restaurants, bars and shops nearby.

Highly recommended by Enjoy Food & Travel. We will certainly go back.


Irving House
24 Irving Street, Cambrisge MA 02138
Phone: +1 617-547-4600
Phone: (Toll Free) +1-800-547-4600
Fax: +1-617-576-2814
Official website here

1 comment:

Susanne said...

I've stayed at Irving House myself and I think it's a great place: chaming and quiet and with the most excellent service!