by Lissa Poirot
In all my years living in and visiting Boston, I had never considered a stay in the Financial District. To me, there were hotels for business travelers and the area shut down at night and there wasn’t an allure. But as the Big Dig came to its completion, the city has done such a fine job of creating a new seaport area of Boston that Financial District hotels may be just the ticket for families.
Consider that within a few blocks await the Children’s Museum, the New England Aquarium, Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere’s house and the Freedom Trail, and the Financial District is increasingly finding children strolling between the business elite in pin-striped suits. The fact the area still gets a bit quiet in the evening actually becomes a bonus for families looking to sleep well at the end of a long night.
In the heart of the Financial District is the Langham. Formerly the city’s Federal Reserve building, the architecturally historical hotel is the epitome of luxury, yet still welcoming to children. Upon check in, kids are offered lollipops — and not the kind you get from the bank teller but those fancy lollipops that look like animals. Staff is happy to accommodate family needs, and mom and dad will love not having to take cabs and the subway to see the historic heart of the city.
Our Editor Loves
- Indoor pool
- Onsite dining available
- Walking distance to Children's Museum
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
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Contemporary and loft suites, both 550 square feet in size, make up the majority of the family-sized rooms at the Langham. Loft Suites offer distinct living and bedroom areas and are two stories in height with a bath and a half, and stunning city views from floor-to-ceiling windows. The Contemporary Suites have living and bedroom areas on one floor, and two 42-inch plasma TVs. Executive rooms are junior suites with queen bed and with sitting area in 400 square feet of space.
The living areas provide pullout sofas, which can shrink the room a bit. When we arrived, the pullout sofa did not have any bedding, nor was bedding in the closet or drawers to make up the bed ourselves. We called down to housekeeping who wouldn't allow us to make the bed ourselves, instead, making up a perfectly comfortable sofa bed version of the king-sized bed. A very nice touch.
Standard rooms are also available. Classic rooms feature a queen bed and are 270 square feet. Superior rooms are 320 square feet and feature either a king or two doubles. Deluxe rooms are the largest, at 350 square feet, also with choice of king or double beds.
Extras include iHome docking station for iPods, and families can request bed rails or Pack 'N Plays. Basic Wi-Fi is free.
I can imagine that the Langham Boston was one of the best hotels in Boston at one time. Today the comfort is gone, technology is ancient, and hospitality a bit too traditional even for me (and I'm not a millennial.) I gave the hotel 4 stars because they are trying, just not trying with any creativity.
by Meg M
We could not have asked for more professional service and comfortable accommodation. Great breakfast menu, with massive weekend buffet. Good bar with excellant seafood selections. Walking to many good restaurants. Love the walking distance mix of "new world" financial district convenience and "old Boston" historic streets.
Within the hotel, there isn't much to entertain the kids but the indoor, heated pool, located on the third floor will do nicely when looking for some in-hotel time. Open from 6 a.m. on weekdays, 7 a.m. on weekends, closing at 10 p.m. nightly, the pool actually welcomes kids -- an unusual touch in upscale hotels.
Boston Children's Museum
If you can ever get your kids out of the three-story climbing maze near the entrance of the museum, they'll encounter exhibits on science, health, culture, arts, environment and fitness that all allow for hands-on exploration. My kids can't get enough of Kid Power, where an interactive dance floor would entertain them for hours if they also didn't want to see how wind can be generated by ride a bicycle and climbing walls. Another favorite is The Common, where motion on moves projected images of butterflies and marbles on the wall, and puzzle pieces on light tables and giant Tic-Tac-Toe boards could easily occupy them for the rest of the day. It's hard to tear them away from this just-for-them museum, but they never sleep as well as they do after a day here!
New England Aquarium
Walking up to the New England Aquarium, kids will discover playful seals swimming near the ticket booth and then immediately encounter penguins of a variety of species - all before really stepping inside the intimate aquarium. Take a walk around the main aquarium, where the gradually sloping floors spirals you around the tank and climb floors, witnessing life at the bottom and top of the ocean (the top floor actually looks down into the tank). Sea turtles, rays and sharks swim gracefully by as smaller exhibits showcase colorful fish, New England sea life, sea dragons and graceful jellyfish. Hands-on areas give kids up-close educational exhibits, as well as the chance to touch the fish and animals that life under the sea.
Catch a ferry from Long Wharf and visit the Boston Harbor Islands, a collection of 34 islands with 12 available for exploration. Junior Ranger fun through the National Park Service lets kids learn about the islands, its wildlife and its history. Lighthouse tours gives families a tour of three historic lighthouses by boat, or select the Boston Light tour to climb to the top of the oldest continually used light house in the country. Kayak through the protected waters of Hingham Harbor on your own, or join a ranger-led tour from Spectacle or Grape Islands. You'll never believe you're staying in a metropolitan city when you hit the water and explore Boston's rarely explored islands.
The hotel's ultra-hip restaurant and lounge is a favorite hangout of the moneymakers working in the Financial District. This is their after-work, powerhouse dinner and drinks spot, and while the food is outstanding, this is best for mom and dad only. After 10 p.m., a DJ makes the restaurant a hip nightclub, Thursdays through Saturdays. The restaurant is not open for lunch.
Located beneath a six-story glass atrium filling the space with sunlight is the elegant, brasserie-style Cafe Fleuri. Open for breakfast and lunch, 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., its award-winning Sunday brunch is a must with made-to-order omelets, light and fluffy cinnamon brioche French toast, and a "Kid's Barn" with all-beef hot dogs, country fried chicken nuggets, pizzas, fruit skewers, mac and cheese, penny candy and treats galore, including gummy bears. Brunch is $64 for adults; $39 for children 12 and under; free for children under 4. The Cafe is not open for dinner.
A tradition since the building was first converted into a hotel and operated by Le Meriden, the Chocolate Bar (September through June) is world famous and features 85 different types of chocolate desserts. Although not to be missed, this is not for the weak. No other brunch foods are offered. It is 100 percent chocolate, from a chocolate pasta station to a chocolate crepe station to a fountain of chocolate with berries, marshmallows and pretzels to dip into to chocolate martinis to even chocolate pizza. My little ones were immediately drawn to the cotton candy station, devouring a hearty dose of pink spun sugar for their first brunch "meal." A word to the wise: follow a visit here to the Children's Museum and let them play out their sugar high. ($42 for adults; $29 for children 12 and under; free for children under 4)
Open for dining from morning to night, The Reserve is conveniently located in the lobby. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner, and be sure to stop by in the afternoon for traditional British Tea time.
Room service options are better-than-average dinner selections, including cheese plates with a selection of French, Italian and Swiss cheeses served with fruit and bread, and succulent steak. Kids will find the standards like grilled cheese, PB&J, chicken fingers and hot dogs.
Planning & Tips
The Art of Smart Timing
Boston is a year-round destination, although the summer and fall are the best times to visit due to the better weather. (Boston gets very cold and snowy winters that last into a late spring.) During May and into June, hotels may be hard to come by, as college graduations at the many schools in the city bring family in droves. Book early if planning to visit during this time.
Langham Hotel is located in the Financial District and can be reached via subway or cab from anywhere in the city, including Logan International Airport. If driving, it's located off of I-93, and valet garage parking is provided.
Most family fun can be found within steps of the Langham, with Faneuil Hall, the North End, the Seaport District, Downtown Crossing, Beacon Hill and the Boston Common all within blocks from the area. Ride the country's first subway system, the "T" when you're feet aren't up to the hills and cobblestones.
For Mom & Dad
Chuan Body + Soul Spa, located on the third floor, provides traditional Chinese treatments based on Traditional Chinese medicine practices. Massages, facials, scrubs and wraps and man treatments are offered in 30- to 60-minute treatments.