Custom House Hotel: Boston's Most Historic Stay

Luxury Hotels: If you have ever wanted to stay in a clock tower, now is your chance. The Custom House located just outside Faneuil Hall and steps from the bars and nightlife of State Street offers one of the most historic accommodations in downtown Boston.

In 1847 when the Custom House was constructed as a point of entry for ships, it was the most expensive building ever erected in the United States and the tallest building in Boston. The building played an important role in the government finances during the early history of the country. Prior to income taxes, duties were a major source of income for the federal government and the Port of Boston, the second largest in the country. It accounted for one-fifth of the money collected.

The city's first skyscraper was referred to for years by Bostonians as the "four-faced liar." Inside one of Boston's most historic buildings, you will also find the Great Presidential Seal painted in the dome in 1960, the only seal painted in a city outside of Washington, DC. Karen Connors, the property's on-site knowledgeable concierge and true history buff, hosts in-depth property tours daily where you can learn even more about the history of the property.

In 1996, Marriott spent $25 million to renovate the building and renamed the property Marriott's Custom House. Today, Marriott operates the all-suite property as a time share as well as a selection of hotel rooms that offer an amazing view of Boston Harbor, the Zakim Bridge, Faneuil Hall, Government Center, the North End and beyond. The distinctive clock tower has been recently restored with all the modern amenities.

We stayed in a one-bedroom king villa, an nautical designed enormous suite with separate living room, pullout sofa and flat screen TV, dining area, kitchenette and floor to ceiling glass windows that overlooked Faneuil Hall. Inside the meticulously clean bedroom, there was another flat screen TV as well as a wall of windows that overlooked Boston Harbor. We slept with the shades open all night gazing at the most incredible view of boats pulling in and out of the harbor all night. The panoramic sunrise view from this room on the 17th floor was simply breathtaking.

While there is no restaurant on-site or room service available, there is a continental breakfast available (coffee and tea are complimentary but everything else is a la carte) inside the Counting Room Lounge that includes bagels, muffins, yogurt, juices, hard boiled eggs and waffles. It is in this same room where one time soldiers stood guard as the tariff revenues of the Port of Boston were calculated. At night, the adjacent room is transformed into a small bar that is also open to the public.

Don't miss a ride in the elevator to the 19th floor where you will then cross over to a second set of elevators that will take you to the top observation deck located on the 26th floor. It is here that you will be able to see one of the best views of the city (and up to 60 miles beyond) from the outside observation deck. Early risers should grab a cup of coffee in the first floor Counting Room and head upstairs for a relaxing cup with an expansive city view.

There is a game room on the 24th floor for the kids, which offers everything from air hockey and arcade games to a pool table. It is here you will also find washers and dryers available for complimentary use to guests. On the 25th floor, there is a small fitness center with cardio equipment.

In the warmer months, falcon peregrines can be seen overhead nesting on the top 30th floor (which is not accessible to guests). They had to construct a net barrier on the top of the observation deck to prevent the birds, which can reach speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, from protecting its young during nesting season.

This just might be the coolest place to stay in the city.

Kellie Speed

As the Boston city guide editor for JustLuxe, Kellie Speed is a native Bostonian and a freelance writer/editor/copywriter with more than 20 years expe...(Read More)

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