Irving House is a quaint oasis tucked within the cultural and academic activities of Cambridge. This guesthouse-style hotel sits on a quiet residential street two blocks from Harvard Yard, just a short walk to Harvard Square and the subway to Boston. Close enough to Harvard University, guests could actually hear the bell for dining. You meet deep-thinking types – Ivy League grad students, visiting professors, scientists, researchers.

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Photos: Joanne KY Teoh

Innkeeper Rachael Solem’s homely touch is evident – rooms with shelves of old books sourced from garage sales and used bookstores in the Cambridge area. Guests are invited to take a volume or two with them on their journey, or to leave a few behind to share with other travellers. Such is the pleasure of serendipity, of encounters among dog-eared volumes shared by travelers the world over, many inscribed with scribbled names and places of olde book stores.

The rooms come in all shapes and sizes to accommodate travelers visiting Cambridge to enjoy its cultural, culinary and academic riches. A room for one with shared bath is clean and well lighted. As are rooms large enough for a family, with private bath. With two small porches, hardwood floors and Oriental carpets, Irving is homier than a hotel.

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Photo: Joanne KY Teoh

It is a delight to wake each morning. A hearty continental breakfast awaits in the basement kitchenette. Tuck into chewy bagels smeared with cream cheeses, croissants, rolls and breads with butter and jams. Choose from raisins and cranberries with homestyle yoghurt and fresh fruit. As the aroma of fresh coffee wafts to embrace you, you are reminded of home and simple pleasures, and to take time to savour the small things.

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