I was excited to be trying a new brand on my visit to the Boston area with friends. Cambria Hotels is one of the more upscale brands that is part of Choice Hotels International, which is probably more known for its economy lines like Quality Inn and Comfort Inn. My first Choice Hotel stay was this past summer at the Edgar Hotel Marthas Vineyard, part of the Ascend Collection. While the Ascend Collection is a portfolio of independent hotels, the Cambria line is more congruent. Cambria aims to be modern, approachable, and stylish targeting business travelers and millennials.
The Cambria Boston Somerville opened in October of 2022, and features 163 guest rooms. Also, there is another Cambria in the area, the Cambria Boston Downtown South which opened in 2019.
CAMBRIA BOSTON SOMERVILLE TAKEOFF POINTS:
Date of Stay: October 2023
Room Type: Two Queens Room
Pros: Very comfortable beds, nice new modern finishes, and spacious rooms.
Cons: The AC unit in the room was finicky, disappointing showerhead, and had no elite recognition.
The city of Somerville is just northwest of Boston and borders Cambridge. It’s quite a nice area and convenient. It is just a quick 15-minute walk to Harvard University. The hotel itself is located right next to Walgreens, Dunkin Donuts and a chicken wings shop. We mostly just took Uber to get around as they are fairly priced in the Boston area. We also walked a lot and even rented a bike once outside the hotel. It’s about 3.5 miles to the North End of Boston, and we ended up biking two-thirds of it and walking the rest which was fun.
Our Amtrak got into Boston around 10 am, and we got to the hotel right before 10:30 am. I wasn’t expecting to be able to check in, and the front desk associate said that they were fully committed the night before so there would be no rooms ready before the standard check-in time of 3 pm. So, we did a bag drop as we wanted to explore the city. We then came back around 5 pm, and was quickly given keys to our room on the 2nd floor.
No Elite Status Benefits?
Since the Cambria brand is part of Choice Hotels, I decided to do an elite hotel status match to the Choice Privileges Platinum Level. It was really simple, I sent an email with proof of my elite status from Hilton and within 24 hours I was matched. Please note the terms do say you can match once “per lifetime”, so you might want to save it for when you have a lot of stays lined up.
One of the benefits of Platinum is an Elite Welcome Gift, which I didn’t receive. Nor was I recognized as being an elite member. Apparently, I found out after my stay that if you book with points the Choice Privileges program does not provide any elite benefits, which isn’t generally the case with other major hotel programs.
When I went to the front desk to see if we could have a later checkout, the hotel was nice enough to offer 1 pm (from the standard 11 am), but I think they would have done it for anyone, and the elite status did not play any factor.
The lobby is quite nice, with two sections. Once you enter, you’ll see the front desk and plenty of seating options plus a fireplace. I really enjoyed the decor of the lobby.
Then to the left are more seating options that feel a bit cozier. I sat here a few times to catch up on some work and emails.
Our room was a standard 2 Queen room located on the 2nd floor. The hallway carpets still felt nice and new.
Upon entering the room, it felt quite spacious, with even 2 chairs and a table near the window.
The beds were very comfortable, and the pillows allowed for a great night’s rest. I would say the bedding was closer to four-star level bedding, which was impressive.
There was a mini-fridge for personal use, a Keurig with tea + coffee capsules, and a steamer (no iron). The television had a casting function where you could connect your device and stream, and it also had a variety of TV channels. Plenty of charging ports were available as well.
Not much of a view from the 2nd floor, but we overlooked the main street and it was kind of cute.
The one pet peeve of the bedroom was the AC. The weather wasn’t hot in Boston and the room was kept at an ample temperature, but the fan function wasn’t working. The fan would only come on if we set the AC to a very low temperature or turned on the heat. I like having the fan on for air circulation, and white noise.
The bathroom was nice and spacious with a ton of counter space. There was a large standup shower, with body wash, conditioner, and shampoo from Pure by Gloss in refillable bottles. The scent of the toiletries was decent. Also, it was interesting to see a variety of towel designs, some with different colors. Normally, I feel most chain hotels give just plain white towels. I don’t have a preference per se, but it was just unique. The most important thing was that the towels were clean.
A unique feature is a Bluetooth speaker on the bathroom mirror. It makes getting ready in the morning more fun!
The not-so-good aspects were the low-quality toilet paper and the fact that the showerhead only releases a narrow stream of water. Lastly, all the new hotels seem to be doing the bathroom sliding door design, and this one had a decent gap from the door to the wall, causing poor sound insulation and a lack of privacy. Not the best when sharing a room with friends.
Josephine Pizza is located on-site behind the front desk. The restaurant is inspired by James Beard nominated Chef Michael Scelfo’s Italian family roots & upbringing. It’s open for dinner each night and for brunch on the weekends.
On the weekdays, the hotel serves a limited breakfast with an a la carte menu. Items include a yogurt parfait bowl, oatmeal with fruit, a breakfast sandwich, an omelet your way, and buttermilk pancakes.
Fitness Center + Game Room:
On the ground floor, there is a nicely sized fitness center that even features a Peloton machine. While I didn’t find time to get a workout in, one of my friends did and enjoyed it.
Next to the fitness center is the coolest part about the hotel: the game room! My friends and I had fun one night hanging out in here. There is an Aerosmith pinball machine, foosball table, billiards table, Golden Tee Golf, and a shuffleboard table.
If you want to get some laundry done, there is a self-serve laundry machine behind the lobby.
There’s also a small sundries store near the entrance where you can buy drinks and snacks.
Plus, from 7 am to 10 am each morning, complimentary coffee and tea are served in the lobby.
And service-wise, most of the associates were friendly, and what you would expect for a 3.5-star sort of hotel.
I booked my stay with Choice Privileges points. Cash rates in Boston were very high during this fall season, and our nights were over $500. Lucky for me, Choice Hotels was having a sale where I was able to get 60,000 points for just under $500. So it made sense to purchase points for me. The Cambria Boston Somerville currently costs 30,000 points a night, so I ended up paying $250 per night, which was a nice discount off the cash rate. The sales change from time to time and it did cost tiny a bit more than when I bought points earlier this year for my Martha’s Vineyard stay.
One thing to note if you’re buying points is that it did take almost 48 hours for the points to post to my account, and I was getting a bit nervous if the points availability would sell out during my waiting period. Thankfully it didn’t, and I was able to book my room! Additionally, if you have credit card points and want to transfer, Choice Privileges is an American Express transfer partner with a 1:1 ratio and they are a Citi ThankYou Rewards partner at an enhanced 1:2 ratio.
Overall, I enjoyed my first stay at a Cambria hotel and wouldn’t hesitate to try out the brand again. The hotel offers a solid 3.5-star stay, and can compete with the likes of AC Hotels and Doubletrees. At the Cambria Boston Somerville, I enjoyed the comfortable beds and nice modern decor in both the common spaces and guest rooms. Also, the game room was a super fun and unique feature that I enjoyed.
Have you stayed at the Cambria Boston Somerville before? Or any other Cambria in a different location? How was your experience? Comment below!
Have any questions? I’ve also started working with a travel agency, Fora Travel, and can assist in booking hotel stays or planning trips. Comment below or email me at email@example.com. You can also view all my other posts here! Thanks for stopping by!