Flush, flush, flush A review of The Inn at Harvard
We stayed at the Inn at Harvard for one night to visit relatives in Cambridge. The red brick building is about five stories high, on an island between two streets adjacent to the Harvard campus. There is a lobby atrium topped with a skylight at the center of the inn, with the rooms around the perimeter. When we arrived, we were told that the only room available with two beds was a second-floor interior room with a French door/window that opened onto the lobby atrium, and no outside window. I thought this might not be a good arrangement but accepted it as we needed a room with two beds. The room was very small, with barely enough room to fit the two full-size beds, a TV cabinet (containing a tiny 13" TV) a tiny desk and a stuffed chair. You had to close the closet door to get into the tiny bathroom.
Inside the room, you could hear the people in the lobby talking and when I looked out I saw a man sitting in the atrium staring into our room, so we kept the curtains drawn and window closed for the entire stay, so the (mostly recirculated) air in the room just came from one small vent. One of the main problems with this hotel is that the rooms have high-pressure flushing toilets, and you can hear the toilets flushing throughout the hotel. So just as I was going to sleep and drifting off, I would hear flush ... flush... and then just as I was going to sleep again, flush... flush.... It was the same in the morning, as other guests used the bathroom. Not very nice, I think you would agree!
The full-size (not queen-size) beds were pretty comfortable, and there was at least one pillow with a down/feather mix on each bed.
The hotel, which is supposed to be owned by Harvard University but managed by a private company unaffiliated with any chain, is very miserly with what they offered -- there were two bottles of Aquafina water on the desk with a sign that they were $4 each. Telephone calls were the most expensive I have ever seen in a hotel -- they have the audacity to charge $1 a minute for local calls and for calls to (800) numbers! (As you might expect, we used our cell phones for all calls to avoid paying these ridiculous charges.) The high charges continued at breakfast the following day, when we only had orange juice, a bowl of oatmeal each, some fresh fruit and tea -- the bill came to over $40, with a service charge added.
We had dinner at the Harvard Faculty Club, which is a nice privilege which can be extended to guests at the Inn, but the main dining room was noisy since they had a big alumni gathering going on and every table was full. The pumpkin soup with a pheasant dumpling was good but sweet, and one of the entrees we ordered, butterfish, tasted bad and had to be sent back to the kitchen. The lamb chops were excellent and tender, and came with string beans and a feta cheese pie. The hot souffle we had for dessert was nice and light. The host at the door was rude to us and the wait staff was young and inexperienced, but tried to please.
We paid $179 for our room for the one night, maybe you'll get a better deal. The Inn at Harvard is certainly conveniently located if you want to be right near the campus, but otherwise you'll probably do better elsewhere. If you do decide to stay here, try to get a room with a window facing outside on one of the higher floors, so perhaps the flush... flush... flush... noises from the other rooms won't be quite so loud.