21201-3707 Travel Guide
It's what you've been waiting all year for--The 2011 HotelChatter Awards! We'll be bringing you the best and worst of the year all day today and part of tomorrow. Agree or disagree with our picks? Air your thoughts in the comments below.
We're not sure about you, but the first thing we always do when checking into a new hotel room is head for the window, throw open the curtains and take in the view. City views. Sunrise views. Views of the country. It really doesn't matter as long as we're high enough up that cars below turn into little dots on the ground.
And then sometimes, you get stuck with an anti-view like this one. After a prior positive experience getting a free upgrade at the Hotel Monaco Baltimore, we were suddenly confronted with this vista of cinder block, exhaust vents, and medieval-style window slits a mere 20 feet from her window.
When the Hotel Monaco Baltimore opened this summer in the 1906-built former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad headquarters, we had no qualms using as many railroad-related puns as humanly possible. From the looks of the hotel’s latest press release, it seems we’re not the only ones who love a good train pun.
“Keep family ‘chugging along’ over long Thanksgiving weekend,” the subject line reads. From there, they pretty much dive head first into a Thesaurus entry of train terms. Once we stopped groaning, though, we found the “Ticket to Ride” family package to sound pretty fun.
With deluxe accommodations in family friendly rooms, the package also includes two tickets to the B&O Railroad Museum (which will be kicking off the holiday season Thanksgiving weekend with the Festival of Trains and a Santa train ride), “a train whistle and conductor’s hat for each of the ‘young engineers,’” plus something called — wait for it — Chugga-Chews cookie snacks.
We’re not really sure what that all has to do with Thanksgiving — except the press release’s line about how it will be “time to get moving” after indulging in your Turkey Day feast — but the special is only available Friday, Nov. 27, through Monday, Nov. 30. Rates start at $169; enter promo code PBOR.
Wot, no fugly carpeting?
Normally, the only time we really notice a hotel staircase is when we’re peeved that the lift has broken down on us, but things are a bit different at the Hotel Monaco Baltimore. Because it’s stationed in the old Baltimore & Ohio Railroad HQ the whole building is pretty splendiferous, and the staircase up to the lobby on the second floor is no exception. In fact, it’s probably the only time we’ve seen a sign like this on a hotel staircase.
Be careful going up and down though – important monuments have no need of adornment in the way of carpeting, so they’re not only steep, but slippery as well. We’d recommend holding on as you pause to look at the pretty stained glass roof:
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[UPDATE: A hotel rep has emailed us to say that the matter has been resolved and the hotel will not be up for auction. Also, the hotel was never in danger of closing as it is only "a tenant and the dispute was between ownership and a contractor." So go ahead, book your rooms.
When we read last week that the Hotel Monaco Baltimore might be facing an uncertain future, we thought we’d better pop along and see it sharpish. So when we needed to make an unforeseen stop in Baltimore, and the room rates were still holding to the introductory rate of $159, we shacked straight up.
We asked as many staff as we met (sorry for bothering you, bellmen, valets and cleaning ladies) about the lawsuit that could see the hotel up for auction. All of them told us flatly that it wasn’t true – except for the manager, who said he wasn’t at liberty to talk about it. After spending the night there, we’re crossing our fingers it’s not true too.
Uh oh. Kimpton’s brand-new Hotel Monaco in Baltimore is facing, like, a serious problem. Opened less than a month ago, on July 30th, the $65 million hotel in the old Baltimore & Ohio Railroad headquarters could be put up for auction as early as next month (!!). Bet Charm City seems a little less, er, charming to Kimpton right about now.
According to the Baltimore Sun, it seems the building owner — not Kimpton — has been accused of not paying a local lumber supplier $184,000 for doors, wood trim, and other materials used in the project.
The Hotel Monaco Baltimore seems to be on schedule to board passengers — er, guests — starting July 30th (whoa, that's next Thursday!). Stationed in the 1906-built former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad headquarters, the hotel will be Charm City’s first Kimpton property.
Like many Kimptons, the 202-room Hotel Monaco Baltimore will retain many of its historic features, from original Tiffany windows to original sculptures and green glass-flecked skylights. Kimptonesque qualities include the free room service option of a “companion goldfish” to keep you company during your stay, noon check-out times, and the use of sustainable products and green practices.
Overall, the photos on the hotel’s website suggest an aesthetic of contemporary but nostalgic glamour not often associated with Baltimore — which we think is pretty cool. Think understated elegance with a few fun Kimpton quirks thrown into the mix to keep things lively.
Opening special weekend rates start from $129, while weekday rates start at just $159.
[Photo by David Phelps, courtesy of Kimpton Hotels]