A hip but affordable music-themed boutique hotel
The Verb Hotel, located in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood, sprung from the bones of a 1950s motor lodge near the longtime home of the Red Sox. The hotel has been remade with a 1960s design flair, to honor the nabe’s creative spirit and the city’s often-overlooked music scene.
The common spaces of this hotel retain a warmth that can drive away the famously cold winters of Boston. Elkus Manfredi Architects designed the recording-studio-chic lobby, which features a mix of paraphernalia from the now-defunct culture paper Boston Phoenix, bright yellow midcentury couches, guitars, amplifiers and a soundproofed reception desk. Guests can flip through available LPs and, if they like, borrow one to use on the in-room turntables. Look out for records from local favorites like The Pixies, Mission of Burma or The Modern Lovers.
The Verb is a hotel with a decidedly 1960s pop vibe but lacks many clients who actually lived in the 1960s.The crowd attracted to the hotel is a mix of hipsters, music lovers and Red Sox mega-fans who mingle by the pool and look at Mondrian-esque colored-glass windows while waiting for a table at Hojoko, the on-premises izakaya, or causal Japanese bar.
Rooms are spacious and well designed, especially given the constraints of turning a motor lodge into a modern room. A worthy addition to the Fenway neighborhood, the Verb Hotel has quickly become a place where Bostonians and tourists congregate in an ultra-cool setting.
A baseball’s throw from Fenway
Have we mentioned this yet? The Verb Hotel sits directly across the street from Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox and the oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball as well as one of the most important landmarks to Bostonians. Some locals would say you can skip the Revolutionary War tours as long as you see Fenway. (Local fact: It also sits right next door to the location of now-defunct alternative radio station WBCN.)
The Fenway neighborhood has always been diverse and viewed as an incubator for art and music in Boston, but is only a short walk from the more monied Back Bay or even downtown.
Today the neighborhood features some great restaurants like Hojoko (from highly esteemed O Ya chef Tim Cushman), Tiger Mama (a funky restaurant with delicious southeast Asian bites), Sweet Cheeks (a standby for barbecue in the Boston area) and even a brand new oyster bar from Portland, Me.’s Eventide Oysters.
Fenway, and Boston in general, is walkable, and public transportation is never too far away. However, it should be noted that when the Red Sox are playing at Fenway, the influx of baseball fans from other parts of the city makes navigating the area especially difficult.
Heated pool, yes. Though other basic services are not available
The Verb Hotel lacks certain services that some deem essential (i.e., room service) in a hotel, but it makes up for the shortcomings with an accessible price point, a unique aesthetic, a trendy crowd and a few creative workarounds.
The lack of room service is probably the most notable omission, but neighboring restaurant Hojoko offers a to-go menu that can be enjoyed in your room or by the pool. Breakfast and afternoon snacks are available in the lobby alongside chilled water bottles and a 24/7 coffee station. Likewise, you could have one of the nearly 40 neighborhood restaurants deliver to the front desk.
The heated pool is a major year-round attraction for visitors. With a somewhat clubby atmosphere, it’s a place for the hip to be and be seen, especially on nights featuring local DJs.
Another missing element is an on-site gym, but guests can walk to the nearby Boston Sports Club and workout for free with a hotel-provided all access pass or practice yoga at the Boston Yoga Union with 10 percent discount off of all classes.
Parking in the neighborhood is decidedly tricky, and the Verb offers nightly parking for an additional $65/night. Remember that Boston Red Sox game-day parking and traffic is famously bad, so plan ahead if you are driving to avoid the baseball-induced traffic crush.
Same-day laundry and free Wi-Fi are available to guests at the Verb Hotel.
The throughline of the Verb is music, and every guest is welcome to find classic albums from the lending library in the lobby that can be enjoyed in their en-suite record players.
93 rooms range from 150-279 a night on average
The retro aesthetic drives the guest experience at the Verb, and despite the small hallways, the rooms feel incredibly spacious for 300 square feet. Each guest room features Boston rock ‘n’ roll paraphernalia and various means to enjoy music at the appropriate volume (loud); but don’t worry, along with complimentary toiletries from C.O. Bigelow, earplugs are provided for those in need. If you go to sleep early then the Verb, or at least the pool-facing rooms, might not be the hotel for you, especially on DJ nights.
The 93 boutique hotel rooms range from $150-$279 per night and feature 100 percent cotton bedding. They are all dog friendly and non-smoking in keeping with the hotel policy and Boston city regulations. Guests can choose between king- and queen-sized beds with pool or stadium views. The pool view rooms feature original colored glass evocative of the abstract paintings of Piet Mondrian, and some of the rooms have private balconies.
There are some quirks in design as a former motor lodge, and there is no elevator access to the second floor. Overall, the retro-chic design more than makes up for its dated bones, and if anything, the history as a brick block hotel only adds to the charm it has today.