Story and photos by Melanie Votaw
BALTIMORE’S HOTEL MONACO
2 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Kimpton Hotels are known for funky décor and daily wine receptions. Baltimore’s downtown Kimpton property, the Hotel Monaco, is no exception. It’s housed in a historical Beaux Art building that was once the headquarters of B&O Railroad. Built in 1906, the property has dramatic white marble staircases, stained glass windows, and gold clock-style dials above the elevator doors.
The 202-room boutique hotel is right in the center of downtown, and it’s an easy walk to the city’s waterfront, which has great places to sit, lots of restaurants and shops, the National Aquarium, and four historic ships that you can visit. (See story about Baltimore).
When you arrive, you’ll take an elevator up one floor to reception, and you’ll walk by several placards that tell you the history of the building and B&O Railroad. Adjacent to reception is a large lounge with a fireplace. In keeping with Kimpton’s style, the interiors are decorated in lots of color and eclectic furniture, such as fuchsia-striped velvet chairs with lime green backs.
Hotel Monaco has a number of unusual amenities, such as bicycles that you can borrow (along with helmets and maps), a yoga mat in every room, in-room spa services, and the early evening wine reception in the lounge. The property is also pet-friendly, as well as kid-friendly, and has a gym and business center on site. It isn’t a smoker-friendly hotel, though, as the entire property prohibits smoking. Since it’s a smaller, inner city property, there is no pool on site.
The restaurant is named after the railroad – B&O American Brasserie. It’s a casual but elegant dining establishment with a large bar, where business travelers gather after their meetings during the day. I had lunch there, sampling the Pear & Arugula Salad with goat cheese, praline prosciutto, and amaretto vinaigrette. The restaurant also serves brick oven pizza, burgers, seafood, and steak.
For this caliber of 4-star luxury, the room rates are very reasonable, ranging from $119.25 to $194.25. There are deluxe rooms, including accessible rooms, as well as rooms with bunk beds. There are spa rooms as well, and this is what I enjoyed. It included a Jacuzzi tub big enough for two with a seat on each side, a separate shower, a red lacquer desk, and a separate living room with a couch, chair, and a second flatscreen television.
If you’ve ever stayed at a Kimpton hotel, you know they provide fun animal-print terry cloth bathrobes. There are no slippers, but you have an in-room safe, coffee maker, minibar, and fine toiletries.
Kimpton is one of my favorite hotel groups. I have stayed at enough properties now to trust that I’ll have a good experience, and Baltimore certainly lived up to Kimpton’s reputation. I couldn’t have asked for a friendlier staff or better location than Hotel Monaco on Charles Street.
© December 2015 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.