Buses board from Copley Square in the shadow of the John Hancock Tower. There are plenty of hotels within a short walk to the Square, but as you would guess, they are all rather pricey. You may wish to research the handful of B&Bs Boston's Back Bay neighborhood.
As for driving in Boston, it can be a real nuisance for out-of-towners; especially with the Big Dig still underway. The streets are crooked and poorly marked. So if you stay in town, the trolley is a very easy, safe way to get around.
Cambridge & Brookline hotels ought to be a bit more affordable, still no car needed. Further out, look into Newton, Natick, and Waltham; but now you will need a car to get around.
My choice would be the Cambridge Mariott (at Kendall Square) or the Holiday Inn Brookline (at the 24 mile mark)
Note: be sure to hit Legal Seafoods for their New England clam chowder.
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