"..won’t satisfy everyone’s tastes and wants. It is too small to do that and too smart to try." Boston Globe

Hotel Veritas

Hotel Veritas awarded “Small Business of the Year” by Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

At Hotel Veritas, we love being a small, independent hotel.  We are able to make immediate decisions regarding what’s best for our guests, what’s best for our owners, and what’s best for the staff.  We don’t have layers of managers, regional managers, district managers, directors, and executive committees involved in our little hotel (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Last night, we received the “Small Business of the Year” award from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce during their annual “Excellence in Business” awards dinner – and we are so honored.  The Small Business of the Year award recognizes a small business in the Cambridge area that:
• Demonstrates excellence, professionalism, leadership and originality in its industry;
• Exhibits a tangible record of positive impact on the community;
• Has fewer than fifty employees and has been a Chamber member for at least one year.

Cambridge is an amazing city in which to do business.  We have incredibly supportive organizations such as the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, the Harvard Square Business Association, and the Cambridge Office of Tourism.

The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce is a 1,500-member not-for-profit organization representing all sectors of the Cambridge economy. Its diverse membership and deep expertise in government affairs, business development, professional development and business philanthropy attract employers of all sizes.

Since its inception, the Chamber has been actively engaging local business leaders in governmental and philanthropic activities, connecting and educating its members, and providing a forum for addressing the needs of the Cambridge business community.

We are so happy that our little hotel was recognized with this award.

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100th “Excellent” Review on TripAdvisor for Hotel Veritas!

Since Hotel Veritas opened in May of 2010, we are honored to have received so many great reviews posted on TripAdvisor by our guests.  This week, we received our 100th “Excellent” review and we are so thrilled.  We do read every review which is posted, because listening to our guests is extremely important to us.  We love when we make a connection with our guests and are disappointed when we fall short on meeting their expectations.  The reviews of Hotel Veritas on TripAdvisor allow us to acknowledge the staff who strive each day to deliver the highest level of service and to fine tune our operations in order to satisfy our guests’ needs.

We’ve been very fortunate that most of the reviews have been very complimentary of the service, decor, location, and amenities of the hotel.  The ongoing concerns which are expressed are the small size of our rooms and the noise from the street and subway – two things which we can’t change.  While it may seem strange, we truly love when guests post about these issues, because it helps potential guests determine if we are the right choice for them.

Thank you to the 131 guests who have posted their reviews of Hotel Veritas on TripAdvisor – and especially to the 100 who rated us as “Excellent!”


NEW iPad App from Condé Nast Johansens

We’re excited that the new Condé Nast Johansens iPad app is here! The guides are free to download and features all of their recommended hotels (including Hotel Veritas, of course!) It offers comprehensive information about our hotel and the option for guests to check availability directly through our website. Start downloading it here. Hope you like it!


Hotel Veritas celebrates 2nd anniversary with 2nd TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!

Today is the second anniversary of the opening of Hotel Veritas and we just received word that we were awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the second year in a row!  We’re thrilled that our guests have shared their comments so often on TripAdvisor and that we are ranked the number one hotel in Cambridge.

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, today announced that it is awarding highly rated accommodations, restaurants and attractions with the 2012 Certificate of Excellence Award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional businesses for consistent excellence, as reviewed by travelers on the site,” said Christine Petersen, President, TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence Award gives highly rated establishments around the world the recognition they deserve. From exceptional accommodations in Beijing to remarkable restaurants in Boston, we want to applaud these businesses for offering TripAdvisor travelers a great customer experience.”


Hotel Veritas – a 2012 “Best of New England” by Yankee Magazine!

Hotel Veritas has been recognized as a 2012 “Editors’ Choice” winner in Yankee Magazine‘s Travel Guide to New England!

“Best Posh Retreat For Scholars”
“If you had a decadently wealthy but utterly refined Italian uncle who also taught at Harvard for his own amusement, his house might look something like this 31-room hotel, shoehorned into a tiny lot at the edge of Harvard Square. Rooms are compact but brilliantly designed: intimate rather than cramped.”

This designation is awarded by Yankee‘s editors and contributors, who name select restaurants, lodgings, and attractions in New England to the exclusive list. For 36 years, Yankee Magazine‘s Travel Guide to New England has been the most widely distributed and best-selling guide to the six-state region, providing readers with a comprehensive vacation-planning tool and daily reference.

“This special travel issue highlights ‘The Best of New England’: more sights to see, things to do, places to eat or spend an overnight than most of us could possibly fit into even the most jam-packed vacation,” says Yankee‘s editor Mel Allen.  “Wherever you may travel this season in New England, there’s certain to be a Yankee ‘Best’ nearby.”

Yankee Magazine’s May/June 2012 Travel Guide, on newsstands April 24, feature 287 “Best of New England – Editor’s Choice” selections, which include the region’s best dining and lodging venues, attractions, adventures, local secrets, and bargains. This special issue also names 120 top events around New England and shares 15 walks – from strolls on Martha’s Vineyard, an inn-to-inn trek in Vermont, and a cliff walk in Maine.  Treat yourself and celebrate with fresh recipes for summer’s first fruit – strawberries.  Plus, feast in the best 12 lobster shacks in our six-state region.


Earn free nights at Hotel Veritas!

We are very excited to announce that we are now a partner hotel with Stash Hotel Rewards, a hotel rewards program for authentic, independently-run hotels. Members earn and redeem points for free nights at one-of-a-kind hotels across the U.S., including some of the best spas in Napa, upscale resorts in the Rockies and Florida, and boutique gems in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C, and now Hotel Veritas!

Start earning points on your next stay by joining Stash Rewards now!

 


“What’s it like to work in a small hotel?”

We constantly have guests comment on how interesting it must be to work in a small hotel. Well, back in the early ’70s John Cleese had the same question while he was filming Monty Python sketches he was staying in a hotel in Torquay, U.K. His inspiration led to the creation of the what the British Film Institute considered the number one Greatest British Television Programmes of all time.

Fawlty Towers,’ is set in Torquay, UK (‘The British Riviera’). Basil and Cybill Fawlty run a faulty hotel; where the proprietors, guests, staff, and building are always  setting off Basil Fawlty’s (Cleese) very short fuse. It’s in Mr. Fawlty’s reactions we find ourselves laughing out loud! There are only tweleve episodes of the series, ten of them I think are PERFECT. Fawlty Tower’s was co-wrote by John Cleese and his co-star/wife/ex-wife Connie Booth (they divorced in between writing episodes six and seven).

I have had some friends who watched Fawlty Towers during classes at hotel school– it was part of their curriculum! The show isn’t exactly a barometer for what it’s like to work in a hotel (although the first hotel I worked at, overseas, was pretty similar at moments). I recommend Fawlty Towers for anyone that wants to imagine what running a hotel is like– not for an acurate picture, but for a fun interpretation and a chance to laugh real hard.

Fawlty towers can be purchased off itunes for $1.99 an episode– very very worth it! Fawlty Towers is also on rotation on PBS with other greats like ‘The Black Adder,’ and ”Are you Being Served?’ Pick any episode and GO! (‘The Germans’ is my favorite!).

Cheers,

Laurie

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


Signed First Edition of the Month Club at the Harvard Book Store

Harvard Square is renowned for its bookstores and the Harvard Book Store is the grande dame. Since 1932, the independently owned book store has been attracting writers from around the world for readings and signings. Each month, a tome is selected for both its literary merit and potential collectibility – and is signed by the author.

Hotel Veritas offers a room package which includes a night at the hotel, as well as the monthly selection from Harvard Book Store and a glass of wine. The Simple Truth Lounge is the perfect quiet place to relax, sip the wine, and being the first chapter.

Due to popularity, the signed first edition is subject to availability.

To reserve the Hotel Veritas Harvard Book Store package, click here or call 617.520.5000. To sign up for the Harvard Book Store Signed First Edition of the Month Club to have copies mailed to you, click here.

Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 617.661.1515


Harvard Square Businesses welcome Lady Gaga by supporting her Born This Way Foundation

Harvard Square Business Association members and one very generous local realtor, Holly Donaldson of Coldwell Banker, prepare to welcome Lady Gaga to Harvard Square by supporting her foundation.

On Wednesday, February 29th Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, are among those scheduled to join Lady Gaga at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education for the launch of the singer’s nonprofit Born This Way Foundation.  The Born This Way Foundation addresses issues such as self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development through research, education and advocacy. The Gaga nonprofit is in partnership with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Chutney’s – 36 JFK Street, 617-491-2545

Spice it up for Lady Gaga at Chutney’s!

Mention “Born This Way” on Wednesday February 29th and get 20% off your order! $1 for each sale towards will be donated to The Born This Way Foundation.

Crazy Dough’s – 36 JFK Street, 617-492-4848

Mention the “Lady Gaga Offer” on Wednesday the 29th and get 10% off your entire order at the Harvard Square location. 10% of the “Lady Gaga Offer” sales will also be donated to The Born This Way Foundation.

FiRE+iCE – 50 Church Street, 617-547-9007

FiRE+iCE Harvard Square will donate 20% of all dessert sales on Wednesday the 29th to the Lady Gaga Born This Way Foundation!

Follow The Honey – 1132 Mass Ave, 617-945-7356,

100% proceeds of our fabulous 1/4 pound ball jar of “Massachusetts Honey on Tap” to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Bee as you were born to bee ~ raw honey courage!

Grendel’s Den Restaurant and Bar – 89 Winthrop Street, 617-491-1160

Grendel’s Den Restaurant & Bar will feature a specially devised cocktail called “The Little Monster”, created by bartender (and Gaga fan) Dustin Frankus. The cocktail features Lady Gaga’s favorite whiskey – Jameson – with Lillet & bitters for $7.50, with $2 from each sale donated to the Born This Way Foundation.

 Hotel Veritas – 1 Remington Street, 617-520-5000

Hotel Veritas is featuring a “Born This Way Foundation” rate which includes a $100 donation made to the foundation. The rate is $25 above the standard room rate, so the guest donates $25 and the hotel donates $75.  This can be booked via the Specials page of our website www.thehotelveritas.com or by calling the hotel at 617-520-5000 and asking for the “Born This Way Foundation” rate. (Offer valid through December 29th 2012!)

Looks – 11 Holyoke Street, 617-491-4251,

Shop at Looks on Wednesday February 29th and get 10% off all dresses. A percentage of each sale also goes to the “Born This Way Foundation”!

Qdoba – 1280 Massachusetts Avenue, 617-871-1136,

Born Cheesy! For every Queso burrito purchased on 2/29/12, Qdoba will donate $1 back to the Born This Way Foundation. Valid at the Harvard Square Qdoba only.

Sweet Cupcake – Zero Brattle Street, 617-247-2253,

Sweet Cupcake is offering a “Be Sweet” cupcake; it has a “Born This Way” special edible fondant topper. All proceeds from the “Be Sweet” cupcake at the Sweet / Harvard Square location on February 29th will be donated to Lady Gaga’s Foundation. If you miss the chance to purchase the cupcakes on the 29th they will also be sold by special order on the online store through March 29th!

TistiK – 54 Church Street, (617) 661-0900

10% of all sales on Wednesday February 29th will be donated to the Born This Way Foundation!

UpStairs on the Square – 91 Winthrop Street, 617-864-1933

For Lady Gaga’s pleasure (and that of her followers) — our special house-label UpStairs on the Square rosé.

All this week, we invite you to come to our over-the-top bar, pink and gold and all dressed up just like Lady Gaga, for a glass of this special rose for $6 per glass, with profits going to the Born This Way Foundation.

Wellbridge Health and Fitness Center – 5 Bennett Street, 617-441-0800,

A portion (25%) of all enrollment fees and/or services (personal training, private Pilate, private yoga or swim lessons) purchased on Wednesday, February 29 will be donated to the Lady Gaga Born This Way Foundation.

Zinneken’s – 1154 Massachusetts Avenue, 617-606-3295

On February 29th, Zinneken’s waffles will be donating $2 for each totally sinful Lady Gaga & Oprah waffle (banana, whipped cream, dark chocolate and caramel).

In addition to these fine offers from our local restaurants and shops, we have also received donation offers from other generous members including:

Holly Donaldson of Coldwell Banker – 1730 Mass Avenue, 617.864.4430

Holly is generously donating 5% of her next home sale to the Born This Way Foundation!

For more information on this event and others please visit www.harvardsquare.com


A week with the kids in Boston and Cambridge

Our 12 year old niece and 17 year old nephew visited us this week from the Atlanta area during their winter school break. They were comfortably ensconced in the two-bedroom suite at Hotel Veritas, which provided them with their own bedrooms and bathrooms: perfect for keeping the peace between two loving siblings. Grammy chaperoned from her nearby Queen Balcony room.

Finding places to eat and drink has never been a challenge for Dan and me – and we spent the week in restaurants which the kids enjoyed a great deal.

Feeding

Tory Row offers the best people watching thanks to their prime Harvard Square location and floor-to-ceiling windows. The kids devoured the sumptuous burgers, while I snacked on the veggie burger and a Fisherman’s Ale from the Cape Ann Brewing Company.

Our niece and nephew are both huge sports fan (not a trait they picked up from me), so Tavern in the Square was a great place to watch a Celtics game and eat some decent bar food. Just a ten minute walk from the hotel, this restaurant is often packed – especially during game times, owing to the fact that it’s one of the few “sports bars” in Cambridge.

Our nephew first tried mussels at Via Matta ten years ago and he’s been hooked since. This trip, we took him to the Legal Sea Food in Harvard Square for mussels and the Treasures of the Reef from the seafood bar. This branch of the seafood chain is one of their smallest, providing a more intimate experience – which we enjoy. In the summer time, they have outdoor seating in the Charles courtyard, along with Henrietta’s Table and Rialto.

Grendel’s Den has been in Harvard Square since 1971 and is great little casual neighborhood restaurant.  They had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to be able to use their liquor license – and I was very appreciative as I sipped on my Harpoon IPA.  I loved the quesadilla loaded with cheddar and jack cheeses, black beans and chicken.  The kids devoured their burgers.

The Parish Cafe in Back Bay has long been a favorite of ours and has won numerous Best of Boston awards from Boston Magazine for their sandwiches created by well-known local chefs. I love the Schlow: roasted rare sirloin, sliced thin, with caramelized onions, tomato confit, arugula and a horseradish-cream sauce, along with a Harpoon IPA. Our niece ordered the mac-and-cheese, which satisfied her no-frills palette. Our nephew was a bit more adventerous with the Zuni Roll: smoked turkey breast, crisp bacon, chopped scallions, dill Havarti cheese and cranberry-chipotle sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla and served warm.

The Wagamama chain has three location in Boston and Cambridge, with one just a ten minute walk from the hotel. This was perfect for the noodle-loving kids. I opted for the beef cha han: stir-fried rice with beef, snow peas, carrots and leeks accompanied by a bowl of vegetarian miso soup and japanese style pickles – and a Sam Adams Lager.

With the kids festooned in their Celtics jerseys, we went to Jerry Remy’s by Fenway Park to watch the game on their dozens of large screen televisions. We asked our nephew if he’d heard of Jerry Remy and he gave us a stupid stare. He had. Along with nachos and steak tips, we enjoyed the trivia night which we weren’t expecting. We had a blast since the questions covered a variety of topics enabling us all to be involved – from the 12 year old niece to Grammy.

For some of the best ice cream in the area, JP Licks is the place. A five minute walk from the hotel, this small cafe was exactly what my gummy-bear-hungry niece wanted. I prefered the Pralines and Cream.

Back Bay Social Club was the most “grown up” place we took the kids on this trip. They loved the VIP treatment we received (thanks to my “cousin” who runs the place) and our leather banquet in the corner. I had a wonderful scallops appetizer, Dan ordered charcuterie, while the kids feasted on Chicken and Waffles with BBQ maple syrup. Grammy went southern with the Shrimp and Cheese Grits and pickled corn relish.

The 20-year-old Miracle of Science attracts a great local crowd and has a strong following of MIT students. Dan and I are here at least once a month. The kids, Grammy, Dan, and I all went with burgers and steak tips. Can’t go wrong – especially when paired with Ipswich Ale (for the adults.)

Shopping

Follow the Honey is a spectular raw organic honey store across the street from the hotel. Grammy and the kids stopped by and stubbled upon a Skype conference live from Kosovo with author, translator, educator, and beekeeper Elizabeth Gowing. She was discussing “Travels in Blood and Honey: Becoming a Beekeeper in Kosovo & Macedonian Honey Tasting.” Just a typical day in Harvard Square.

Of course, the kids wanted to hit some of the major stores: the Apple Store, NikeTown, H&M, Ugg Store – so we’re lucky to have those around.

The kids were particularly blown away by the service received when purchasing running shoes at the locally-owned Marathon Sports on Boylston Street. The staff here is extremely knowledgeable and patient in helping our niece find the perfect pair of shoes.

Black Ink is one of those shops where you wonder where their buyers find this stuff – and you want to purchase everything. Their tagline “Unexpected Necessities” is completely warranted. It was very challenging pulling our niece out of the store.

The Japanese shop in Harvard Square, Kofuku, is the place to go when you’re looking for that unusual little item. The kids loved it.

A quick stop by the Harvard Coop gave my nephew time to find the perfect Harvard sweatshirt that he had to have.

Educating

The kids visited two museums while in town: the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

The MFA can definitely be a bit overwhelming for a couple of teenagers, so they focused on what interested them most: Art of the Ancient World. Our nephew was particularly fascinated by the Egyptian pieces – and I was happy to see his interest.

Our niece “loves giraffes,” as she told me when I mentioned that the Harvard Museum of Natural History has a fascinating, newly renovated Great Mammal Hall, “the oldest and most dramatic gallery in the museum, with a 19th century arrangement of specimens that includes a full-sized giraffe and three whale skeletons suspended from the rafters. In the balcony, you’ll find Harvard’s extensive collection of birds.” She also loved their gift shop and picked up some little trinkets for her friends at home.

Getting Around

The T was very easy for the kids to use alone. They only got lost once.

I believe they prefered when they were traveling with their Uncle Benson, who is now completely dependent upon Uber, a car reservation service which recently launched in Boston and Cambridge. For slightly more than the cost of a taxi, a black sedan or SUV will take you anywhere you want to go. I haven’t been in a taxi since I started using the service a few months ago. I’m pretty certain that the kids want me to arrange for an Uber car to take them to school when they return on Monday.

What a week. And I need a cocktail.

Posted by Benson Willis, General Manager of Hotel Veritas