Hotel Review: Sonesta Collection ES Suites, Burlington/Boston, MA

Lobby of Sonesta ES Suites Burlington and, beyond, part of breakfast room. (Photos courtesy Sonesta ES Suites Burlington



Review by Ron Bernthal

In 2014 the Sonesta Collection of hotels and resorts launched their Sonesta ES Suites brand, with “ES” the abbreviation for Extended Stay, one of the fastest growing hotel categories. I really like most extended stay properties, especially when the room rates are comparable to regular, non-extended stay properties.

When I needed to spend some time in the Boston area I chose Sonesta’s ES Suites Burlington, a property located in Boston’s NW suburbs, close to Route 128, known as the “high tech” highway because of all the technology companies that are located in that area.

The hotel, which had been another extended stay property brand before Sonesta took it over several years ago, has been completely remodeled, updated and refreshed with room and public area renovations and redesign. This part of the Boston metropolitan area is busy, not only with corporate offices, but residential housing and shopping malls have expanded throughout the area, and regional highways are maxed to capacity during morning and evening rush-hours. Rooms at the Burlington Sonesta ES Suites property, as well as the Sonesta ES Suites property in nearby Andover, are often quite full with business travelers on multi-week work assignments, leisure travelers visiting friends and relatives, and travelers on I-95 going to/from New Hampshire and Maine needing an overnight stop.

Despite a busy lobby with late afternoon check-ins the front desk wait was minimal, and the reception staff was friendly and efficient. Good extended stay hotels need to have oversized and clean accommodations and my one-bedroom suite did not disappoint (the property also offers studio rooms and two-bedroom accommodations). My suite had a full kitchen with a separate table for eating, full-size fridge and freezer, microwave, two-burner electric stove, dishwasher, and a complete set of glasses, plates, silverware, pots and pans, toaster and coffee maker.

Kitchen in hotel suite.

The living room of the one- and two-bedroom suites are equipped with a 32” Samsung TV, work desk, chest of drawers, couch, comfortable reading chair, phone, plenty of lighting and outlets everywhere, and a large window for natural light. Framed prints hung on the walls. For a business traveler staying for several weeks, this room could easily be a home-away-from-home.

Sleeping area portion of hotel’s one-bedroom suite.

In the bedroom, separated by its own door, was another chest of drawers, another large screen Samsung, two Queen beds (Kings are also available), night tables with reading lights, another phone and charging port, and a colorful, plastic laundry basket for taking clothes to the guest laundry room. Both rooms had pleasant, if not institutional looking, brown carpeting. Wi-Fi speed was excellent throughout the property, and complimentary.

The bathroom contained a nice looking, square Kohler sink with a large vanity mirror, and many drawers under the sink. There was also a separate tub, shower and toilet room. Poggesi brand canisters of Coco Mango shampoo, conditioner and bath gel were attached to the shower walls.

The public areas of the property were equally as impressive, including the large breakfast room, a modern and colorful space near the front desk with a variety of seating choices. The complimentary breakfast was your normal buffet lineup of eggs, bacon, potatoes, fruit, cereals, juices and coffee, and it was kept clean and refreshed during the entire morning until 10:00 am. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays the property offers a 5:00-7:00 pm manager’s reception, a social gathering offering complimentary hors d’ oeuvres and wine or soft drinks. This is targeted to their extended stay business travelers, which make up much of their mid-week business, but all guests are welcome.

Photos courtesy Sonesta ES Suites Burlington

The hotel’s fitness room is called the “Mat” and is a small room near the lobby with two new treadmills and other “Life Fitness” brand equipment. The “Shoppe” is little grocery section next to the front desk that sells a variety of snacks and drinks. There is also a wonderful, landscaped courtyard, accessed by doors off the breakfast room, with an outdoor pool, barbecue grills, tables and chairs, and a full-size outdoor basketball court (a rare amenity at any hotel).

Full-size basketball court located within landscaped courtyard (photo Ron Bernthal)

A huge shopping mall is located five minutes from the hotel, along with other retail outlets and a large number of restaurants. For business visitors with appointments along the Route 128 corridor, Burlington is quite convenient, and for trips to center city Boston the drive is just 25 minutes during non-rush hour periods. There is also a commuter train from nearby Woburn station, a 25 minute ride.


Sonesta Collection ES Suites, Burlington/Boston
11 Old Concord Road
Burlington, MA 01803
Phone: 781-221-2233

Hotel Review: Former 19th Century Office Building in Boston’s Financial District offers 21st Century Comfort as Design-Driven Deluxe Hotel.

The deluxe Ames Boston Hotel (center right with historic facade) was the former Ames Office Building, the tallest building in Boston when constructed in 1883. (photo courtesy Ames Boston Hotel)

Review by Ron Bernthal

From the Orange Line’s State Street subway station I walked across the street to the Ames Boston Hotel, a 13-story, luxury boutique property that had once been Boston’s tallest skyscraper when it opened as an office building in 1893. Originally the home of the Ames Company, a manufacturer of America’s first shovels and other agricultural tools, the firm was founded in the 1770’s and is the oldest existing company in the United States, now headquartered in Pennsylvania.

The building became one of the tallest masonry load bearing-wall structures in the world, meaning the 13 story building was built without steel, with a three story granite base and sandstone and brick façade. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The conversion of the building to the Ames Boston Hotel was completed in 2009.

The lobby is intimate and stylish, with an eclectic chandelier, designed by Rolf Knudsen and made of thousands of reflective mylar discs, suspended on wires over the interior entry way. Above the chandelier is a stunning, domed mosaic ceiling, preserved from the original 19-century architecture. An interesting juxtaposition. The front desk clerk was friendly and efficient, and off to one side of the lobby is the hotel’s King Street Tavern, a pleasant, casual dining venue with long, communal wood tables as well as smaller individual tables situated next to large windows overlooking Court Street. This convenient on-site restaurant serves breakfast and dinner.

The original domed, mosaic tile ceiling from the 1893 Ames Office Building has been preserved in the Ames Boston Hotel lobby. (photo Ron Bernthal)

My third floor accommodations was a wonderfully designed, minimalist “loft” style King bed guest room (there are only four loft-style rooms out of 114 guest rooms and suites), with a huge, eye-brow style window overlooking the street and the Old State House (1713). This particular room has high ceilings, bare oak floors, and an open-configuration with a sitting area and a large comfortable couch separated from the bedroom by a half-wall that held two back-to-back 42” HDTV’s, allowing TV viewing from each area. The room had two great-looking amenities, a Vers model radio/alarm/iPod docking station, and a brushed silver aluminum Pablo Pardo-designed tube LED desk light that sat on a white work desk.

View from loft-style guest room at State and Court Streets, and Boston’s 1713 Old State House (photo Ron Bernthal)

The extra-large bathrooms are one of the hotel’s most popular features. My bathroom was separated from the bedroom by a huge glass window, through which the commode, shower and sink was all quite visible. The property promotes their “infamous sexy showers” on marketing materials, and they are quite nice, with deep-seated marble bathtubs in some of the rooms, and streamlined stainless-steel fixtures. Modest couples, however, should note that the optional sheer curtains that can be drawn over the bathroom window will not conceal much.
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and, despite its casual “boutique” ambience, provides all the standard property amenities found in larger deluxe hotels, including a 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour business center, concierge services, valet parking, and meeting and event space.

King bed guest room, view from glass-wall shower. (photo Ames Boston Hotel)

Boston has been a leader among U.S. cities where 19th century structures have been successfully converted into downtown luxury hotels. These include a former bank, a jail, a customs house and police headquarters. Several of the city’s current historic hotels were originally built as hotel properties and have been beautifully restored, including the Omni Parker House, which opened in 1855 and is the longest continuously operating hotel in the country.

The Ames Boston Hotel is located on Court Street, in the heart of the city’s financial district and is a short walk to the Government Center, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Beacon Hill, Boston Commons, several subway lines and Amtrak’s South Street Station.


Ames Hotel Boston
1 Court Street
Boston, MA 02198
Ph: 617-979-8100