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All reviews porter square historic house harvard square mass ave highly recommend this b b minute walk quiet street underground parking wet bar every afternoon breakfast was delicious the ground floor harvard law school first floor t station small fridge public transportation
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Reviewed 6 July 2018 via mobile

The parking is a little tricky. They offer underground parking which is really meant to be used for compact cars. There are three spots next to the inn however there isn’t any signage letting you know you can park there. One of the lanes is for two cars so you might block someone or be blocked in. If you are parking and not driving the city, no issues. While we were there, a guest parked underground and was requested on two separate occasions to move their vehicle. They did not. Just keep it in mind. We checked in and were assigned Room 1. It is by the front door so I was concerned it might be noisy from people entering/leaving. No issues from guests upstairs either. We were pleased with the room. Two suggestions: offer ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs and place mini fridges in the room. The room had been cleaned while we were out and an item was mistaken for trash and was gone when we returned. We reuse towels and such, so we really didn’t need our room cleaned. As we were on a road trip with a cooler, we didn’t have anywhere to put our sandwich fixings. We used ice from their ice machine. The room was beautifully appointed and comfortable. Excellent WiFi and cable tv. The shower head is fantastic as well as water pressure. Comfortable bed. Excellent a/c. Breakfast is great. We will definitely stay here again.

Date of stay: July 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank TexansFan2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2018

I stayed two nights at this place which was very lovely. However, my impression of the place totally changed because of what happened next.

The person at the front desk was reluctant to offer help when I told her that I might have left my phone charger in the room I stayed the previous night. I had to explicitly ask her to call around to check whether the housekeepers might have found it (can't believe that she didn't even offer to help check into the matter at all in the beginning). Then, after 10 minutes, she finally called and said no one had found/seen it in an utterly aloof tone. Since my phone was completely dead, I had to borrow a charger to get my phone charged to at least 5-10% before it could function again. After 5 minutes, she came back and asked, "are you through with our charger? There is a store (Rite Aid Pharmacy) across the street where you can buy one." I have never experienced such flat-out rudeness or coldness at any of the hotels that I have stayed. A huge disappointment at their professionalism.

Room tip: the room I stayed in has wooden floor and it made lots of noise.
Date of stay: May 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled on business
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Tingting T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2018

My husband and I were in Cambridge for a concert and chose to stay at the Mary Prentiss Inn. It is an absolutely charming historic inn. Our room was on the first floor in the front. Comfortable bed and very clean. We had no problem with street noise and slept very well. We are in our 70's and easily walked to Harvard Square for dinner and concert. We emailed that we had a car and a parking spot was ready for us when we arrived. Plus coffee/tea and delicious biscotti and cookies were also waiting for us when we arrived Breakfast was delicious and set in such a lovely space. I highly recommend this B & B.

Date of stay: May 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank Ann P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2018

I stayed at the Inn because it was extremely reasonably priced relative to many other hotels in the area, and is located very near to Harvard Square. I was pleasantly surprised. It is quaint, traditional, cosy and clean. The service was friendly and someone was almost always on hand to answer questions and provide help. The breakfast was plentiful although the choice is a little limited. There is always afternoon tea/coffee with the most delicious cookies. Overall I would highly recommend and would definitely stay here again.

Date of stay: April 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled on business
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Gillian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2018 via mobile

My review consists of the information of which I would have liked to know before staying at The Mary Prentiss Inn. I absolutely would stay at The Mary Prentiss again depending on the reason and needs of my travel situation and the specific room available. In short;

-          The Mary Prentiss is best for self- sufficient travelers as you may have to solve any issues that arise with your stay by yourself.

-          The Inn is beautiful but traits of the accommodations are not always practical. You can tell whomever set up the rooms did not stay in the rooms so best to come prepared.

-          Though the parking is included in your rate it may not be available or you may find it impossible depending on how many other guests are staying at the Inn.

-          The front desk staff is not properly trained. Know that though some are surly they ultimately would like you to have a nice visit they just may not have the resources or the knowledge at their disposal.

-          I advise you to budget for tips when visiting the Inn. Tipping here will help you. Know that there is a tip jar at breakfast but a small donation to all staff you interact with is met with immense gratitude.

-          There is a Restroom downstairs by the ice machine (accessed by the stairs behind the front desk near rooms #3 & #4). The toilet in your room may not be too private when traveling with others (depending on the room you are staying in).

Now if you would like to know more I’ve included the specific information which I sought about The Mary Prentiss Inn before traveling to Cambridge;

Most importantly know that the Inn is not located in Harvard Square which is a mile away from the Inn (15 minute walk). Rather, MPI is located next to Lesley University and is 5 blocks to the Porter Red Line Station which is one stop north from the Harvard Station.

As others have written, the young adults who staff the Inn are not trained in Customer Service standards of a hotel staff nor are they the actual Inn Keepers with the friendly & warm demeanor of such.

-           The staff indicated to me that they struggle with the organization style which the Inn utilizes for business. For example upon Check-In the front desk girl could not find my Reservation. Because I read Trip Advisor I was prepared for this and had a hard copy of my Reservation on hand. Leading me to another example.  When I produced my printout of my Reservation and Room Number to the front desk girl, because she was unable find it, she seemed agitated and said something to the effect of, “ how am I supposed to”, “look at this office”, “I would have found it” in a snarky manner which was off-putting especially when Checking Into accommodations.

-          As another example, I was looking for an ice bucket and none were on top of nor on the table next to the Ice Machine downstairs. A Front Desk staff member happened to be walking by, coming from the underground parking lot, so I asked her where they might be located. She told me over her shoulder, as she went up the stairs, never meeting my gaze, “they are on the table next to the ice machine.” She was well on the 2nd floor and out of sight before I could point out to her that they actually were not. This is not a tragedy and I resolved it on my own, sans bucket. But be prepared for an unengaging staff whom may not have resolutions for the bigger issues and be ready to resolve any and all on your own. I’m looking at you Bicoid.

-          The staff is not properly trained in regards to the functioning of the Inn. For example; when I was unable to turn on the hot tub and the provided directions were water logged and illegible, I went to the front desk for assistance. The staff member was at a loss and did not know how to run the hot tub. Kindly she persevered with me and we were able to resolve the situation together.

Communication at the Inn can be unreliable.

-          I strongly suggest no matter how you chose to make your reservation to follow up with at least one phone call and write down the name of whom you spoke to. For example, when I never received a confirmation e-mail when adding an additional night to my reservation which I was told would be done, I called again. Due to an unrelated situation the Inn did not book my second night as the cost changed. This would have been fine, if they contacted me to inform me, and I would have happily paid the difference. But because the Desk Agent answered with silence when I asked him why I was not contacted I decided to only commit to one night and then proceed day-by-day and have a back-up plan. Be aware and proactive is my suggestion.                                                                                                                                                                     

Great for people without cars who like to use Public Transportation and walk and use taxis, Ubers & Lyfts

-          The Inn has a puzzle like parking situation. I saw a note left for Guests asking them to leave their keys on a shelf by the Front Desk if they happen to be blocking in another guest’s car. I don’t know if leaving my car keys on the front desk would be prudent.

-          I did not have a car during this trip but I do know that parking is a challenge in Cambridge and Boston. The Inn has underground parking between the original structure and a new side extension which is connected to the original house on the second floor. The deck of the courtyard (garden patio) is between these structures and underneath the courtyard is the Inn’s underground parking (look at photos of the front of the Inn to see what I mean) It is comprised of a dirt floor and structural supports of the Inn as it is actually the downward slope of a hill. It is tight and small. It may only hold 8 parking spaces.

-           There is also parking next to the original house, what looked like to me as 2 side by side slender but long spaces where one car would go in first and then another car parks behind it effectively blocking the first car in.

-          I have read in the other reviews that the Inn also gives street parking passes to their guests so they can park on the road

I am very glad I did not bring a car on this trip and in general always try to come to Cambridge/Boston without one. Take public transport into and around the city if at all possible. Driving and parking in Cambridge/Boston is the stuff of nightmares.

The Afternoon Tea service did not live up to the photos I saw online which I believe are actually photos of different commissioned catered events.

-          What I did appreciate was the good coffee provided as well as variety of tea bags. Only one type of cookie was set out. I did appreciate that the “Tea service” was left out into the evening.

-          I also appreciated the water dispenser in the reception area that contained cucumber water.

There is a sign- up sheet with Breakfast Times ranging from 7:00AM – 9:30AM where you choose your desired morning meal hour.

-          Breakfast is two courses, fruit & hot dish or you can choose continental. You also have a choice of juice, tea or coffee

-          I suggest choosing a time no one else does as breakfast may not be brought to you promptly otherwise even if you choose continental.

-          Coffee is out by the front desk before and during breakfast and it is top rate coffee.

-          I was pleasantly surprised at how well prepared the food was when it arrived. Gorgeous presentation also.


The prime season for the Inn may be Spring – Fall as many have raved about the Garden patio and the pictures of the flowers are magnificent. I believe one of the owners, Jennifer, puts much focus & pride in the gardens in front of the house and in the courtyard.


One of the most important factors in ensuring you are happy with your stay is the room you are staying in fitting your travel needs.

-          The Inn has 20 rooms all unique and can fit different traveling styles and needs including extended stays (kitchenettes), budget travel (smaller 3rdfloor rooms sometimes competitively priced) Romantic stays (some rooms have real wood burning fireplaces and soaking tubs) and get-togethers (kitchen on site which can cater. See their Facebook page for photo examples )

8 rooms are on the first floor of the house. Note there are about 4 stair steps to the entrance of the Inn

-          Pro: Great for mobility issues or if one desires a courtyard (garden patio) facing room. Note that there may be privacy & noise issues with these courtyard facing rooms as your only windows are the glass paned doors of your entry door. In addition, another reviewer wrote that the curtains that cover these paned doors let in sunlight in the morning as the left & right sides of the curtains are unable to cover the ends of the paned doors. She used a waste basket to hold the curtain in place, I say bring double sided tape.

-          Con: Might not be wise if sensitive to noise depending on location of room.

-          Room 1 is on the first floor facing the front right side of the house. May have street noise, may have noise from people entering the front door of the house or passing past your doorway though the reviews of guests staying in rooms next to the front doors say they were pleasantly surprised they were not disturbed. There is also a soft rug with padding in the hallway outside Rooms 1 & 2

-          Room 2 is on the first floor left side of the house. The door to the room is opposite Room 1’s door. Note possible noise issues. If traveling with family or friends renting these two rooms together would be fun!

-          Room 3 is at the back of the Inn next to the “front desk”, which is a small space with a side door under the stairs. Room 3 & 4 share a small hallway which also has the supply closet, front desk and the stairs which lead down to the underground parking of the Inn.

-          Room 4 seems to be a popular suite. 4 & 3 in tandem would be great to rent as they share the same hallway. I have read a review which said that 3 & 4 can hear the noise of the young adults who run the front desk as well as noise from the breakfast service (the kitchen is down the same stairs so 3 & 4 may be best for early risers. First breakfast service is at 7:30 A.M. and coffee may be put out earlier.

-          Room 5 is on the ground floor of the new side extension in the front of the property. It has a private entrance and you can view it from photos of the front of the Inn (the stairs on the right). Many reviewers liked the feeling of having “their own house”. Note that you will have to walk outside in order to enter the Inn, like at breakfast time. Room 5 has a wet bar.

-          Room 6 is on the ground floor of the new side extension at the back of the house. The entrance are glass paneled doors facing the courtyard. Room 6 & 5 can adjoin through a shared door. The glass paneled doors of Room 6 face the glass paneled doors of Room 20 on the other side of the courtyard deck. Renting 5 & 6 would be great when traveling with others.

-          Room 19 & 20 are located on the left and right of a separate building behind the Inn facing the courtyard. Both have private entrances (glass paneled doors in lieu of windows) facing the courtyard. Both have working wood fireplaces and air tubs (effervescent). There may be noise if breakfast is held in the courtyard or people hang out in the courtyard. There may be  privacy issues if you do not keep the curtains closed over the glass paneled doors. It also could be lovely to leave the doors open and enjoy the courtyard from your room.

There are 8 rooms on the second floor of the Inn which is accessed by the much photographed curved staircase winding up from the lobby. There was no one to offer to help with bags upon arrival and I have read much the same in the other reviews, so be prepared.

All but one of the second floor rooms come with “wet bars” (microwave, small fridge, sink as well as glasses & dishes) which is a wonderful amenity to have while traveling. As with all the other rooms of the Inn each is quaintly decorated and each has a unique layout and individual characteristics such as King beds, queen beds, some have sleeper sofas or roll-a-ways, pumpkin floor boards, alcoves or carpeting. This is a historic house so a loose floorboard here or creaky stair there should be no surprise to anyone and may be viewed as charming depending on your style.

When choosing a second floor room take into consideration:

Date of stay: March 2018
Trip type: Travelled with friends
3  Thank fallenidol234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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