21202 Travel Guide
Sitting area off the lobby at the soon-to-open Ivy Hotel in Baltimore
If you're looking to enjoy a trip to Baltimore while at the same time avoiding the busy, touristy hotels that surround Inner Harbor, the old streets of the Mt. Vernon neighborhood just a few blocks north will boast the city's newest luxury property when the Ivy Hotel opens this June.
The specs of the hotel echo that counter-corporate mentality that one might be looking for when expanding their horizons beyond Inner Harbor. With only 18 rooms - nine suites and nine rooms - it's about as boutique as it gets without calling itself a bed and breakfast. The hotel likens the experience to staying at a private mansion, each room a little different and featuring high-ceilings, a fireplace, hand-carved paneling, and locally designed armoires. Some rooms even have balconies.
You want sushi, you order a glass of sake to go with it, right? You ask your waiter or waitress to bring a glass over and you’re done.
Unless you’re at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore’s PABU Japanese restaurant, that is. There, you need to navigate through over 100 different types of premium and super-premium sake. Quelle horreur! What’s a sake neophyte to do?
This is where Tiffany Soto, the restaurant’s Sake Sommelier, comes in. As the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore’s Beverage Director, Tiffany is also a Master Sake Sommelier – one of the few women in the world to earn the coveted title.
Hotel Openings / Four Seasons Hotels / Baltimore Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
When we last checked in with the upcoming Four Seasons Baltimore, we saw that their website was using stock photos of the guest rooms at the Four Seasons Seattle. Yet with the hotel just one week away from opening, we are relieved to see that their guest rooms are all theirs.
Above is a Four Seasons Executive Suite with a harbor view. It sure is pretty with its floor to ceiling windows, sofabed, deep-soaking bathtub, two 40" flat screen LCDs (with another in the bathroom) and get this, a universal phone charger. Hallelujah. We hope more hotels start adding these to their amenities soon.
We couldn't actually make a rezzie online for opening day on November 14 (you can call the hotel at 410-576-5800 to see if there are rooms open) but we did find a room available on November 21 for $359 a night for a city view room.
Yesterday, we commented on the guestrooms at the upcoming Four Seasons Baltimore by saying they looked "decidedly Four Seasons" meaning they look pretty darn similar to other Four Seasons hotels. But we were still shocked when a tipster pointed out that the room photo is ripped off from the Four Seasons Seattle's website!
So you can see for yourselves, we put the room shots together above. The room photo on the bottom is the Four Season Seattle's partial bay view room while the one on the top is the Four Seasons Baltimore's generic room shot. Thanks to the trickery of photoshop, the view has been swapped out to show Baltimore's city streets and not Seattle's Elliott Bay.
Looks like we owe you guys some money! Back in December we bet the forthcoming Four Seasons Baltimore would probably open in early 2012 instead of late 2011 but guess what? The hotel is now accepting reservations for November 20...2011.
A city view room is going for $359 a night while the marina view rooms are slightly more at $399 a night. All rooms include complimentary coffee, tea and pastries in the lobby from 5:30 am to 8:00am as well as fresh fruit at check-in and bottled water if you valet your car.
Labor Day Hotels / Green Hotels / Eco-Friendly Hotels / Baltimore Hotels / Fairfield Inn / Marriott Hotels / → All Tags
Eco-conscious travelers heading to Maryland over Labor Day weekend can bunk at Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott - Baltimore Inner Harbor, the city's first green hotel.
The limited-service Fairfield Inns aren't exactly the most exciting of Marriott's brands. But the Baltimore outpost tries to make itself stand out from the ho-hum hotels by monopolizing on its building, converted from a brewery, and adding a bar, and by going green.
You know the scene. You open the door to your brand new hotel room, run over to the window, open the blinds and bam, you are hit with the anti-view. Maybe you are looking down a dirty alley, witnessing a drug deal, staring at an air shaft in the face, or seeing a brick wall. Whatever you are viewing it is not extremely pleasurable. Help out your fellow hotel mavens by uploading your anti-views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number with the not-so-easy-on-the-eyes view.
Well, the scene outside the window of the Marriott Baltimore Waterfront would have been worthy of the coveted HotelChatter Killer View honor (and one if its views actually was worthy), but unfortunately the hoity-toity Four Seasons has to come to the party and ruin it for everyone.
The previously not-so-bad view of the Inner Harbor now has a big ol' Four Seasons Residences in the works (the building has no hotel rooms -- just private residential living). The construction is slated for completion in Spring 2009, but as a lovely Four Seasons staffer said on the phone, "that's not guaranteed."
Whether construction is finished or not, the structure will still be there -- which we suppose is not so bad, considering you can still see the water and the boats and such. At least the cranes and noise won't be there forever.
We'll have to wait (at least) a year or so for it, but Bill Marriott and co. reckon they are bringing Baltimore its very first officially certified green hotel.
The hotel will be part of the Marriott chain's Fairfield Inn and Suites and will have 154-rooms when it opens in Spring 2009. Based on the energy-efficient equipment and processes used the hotel will be eligible for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, a first for Baltimore and just the second time a Marriott Hotel will gain the big green light. Their first LEED-certified building is the Inn & Conference Center at the University of Maryland.
We were saddened to hear that this green hotel would be part of the Fairfield Inns brand (boring) but the history of the property is kinda cool. The site of the hotel will be the old Baltimore Brewing Co. spot in downtown Baltimore. Aside from being green in construction and operation, the hotel will also incorporate aspects of the brewery building from the site.
For example, beer storage tanks from the brewery will be used to collect rainwater for the hotel's use, and they're even keeping the original Baltimore Brewery sign to incorporate into the design, as well as using some of the original bricks.
Perhaps that's handy for a bit of cost-saving as well as adding to the green tag. And we do hope this trend of building green hotels in big cities continues in the future. Afterall, we can't travel to the jungle every year for an eco-hotel experience.
Did Joe Torre walk out on the Yankees because he had to pay for his own room service at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel? Doubtful, but how frustrating must it be to make $7.5 million a year and then get a note from accounting about a $39.98 in-room dinner. The rest of the Yankees didn't do much better during the 2005 season, routinely getting expenses docked from paychecks any time they racked up charges at hotels.
While Joe didn't want to be on the same floor as other players and frequently requested a "corner suite" with "feather pillows," he wasn't as particular about dinner: grilled chicken, two Amstel Lights and a pay-per-view movie. Still, the Yankees wanted their 40 bucks back for that meal, even after the team dropped a total of $67,916 on the team's four-night stay.
The team did better to focus on Gary Sheffield who racked up a room service bill of $637 and charged a $1,042 room upgrade after staying in Cleveland. He also had four Kahlua cocktails. Wait, Kahlua? No wonder Joe didn't want to be on the same floor the players.
Like many people who stay at The Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, we chose it for its location--downtown Baltimore, across the street from the waterfront--as much as for the rooms. Here are impressions of our two-night stay this past weekend in two rooms (We had two peeps in each room.) We'd reserved both rooms by phone with the hotel earlier this summer. One was with a waterfront view. The other overlooked the hotel atrium.
The full review after the jump.
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
So we thought we'd give her another shout out with this Killer View from room 3228. Who knew Baltimore could look this good?
[Ed. Note: Hotel Maven Suze07 gave us the Perfect Contributor Storm we have been anticipating, submitting a hotel review AND uploading the pictures to the HotelChatter Flickr Pool. Here's her review of the Marriott Baltimore Waterfront Hotel. Enjoy.]
I have to admit, I'm biased towards Marriott Hotels. I've stayed in many, mostly resort types, around the world, and I've honestly never been disappointed. Marriott has always taken care of us, no matter what the issue. That said, now that you know my built-in prejudice, I want to rave about the Marriott Baltimore Waterfront Hotel.