Northeast

8 Coolest Hotels in Baltimore Where You Can Embrace the City's Culture and Style

Looking for a hotel that features the best the city has to offer? Local writer Eva Leonard has you covered with this list of the coolest hotels in Baltimore.

Baltimore has a personality all its own, one that’s equal parts an eye-popping parade of architectural styles, from loopy Mid-Century Modern to grand Victorian, a gritty industrial heritage, a saucy nautical past, and a dynamic art scene, with a healthy dollop of kitsch and eccentricity thrown in for good measure. It’s a town packed with character and characters. (Think Edgar Allan Poe, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Babe Ruth, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kathie Lee Gifford, Martin Lawrence, Anne Tyler, and John Waters, all former or current residents.)

There’s a reason Baltimore’s nickname is “Charm City.” It’s only natural that the coolest hotels in Baltimore would reflect the city’s multi-layered personality and its multi-faceted charms. Perhaps at times that character is viewed through an art-house lens or reflected in a fun-house mirror, but it’s a personality that cleans up nicely.

Baltimore Posh

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Could Baltimore denizens of a century ago ever have imagined that a posh hotel with an infinity edge pool (complete with cabanas and a poolside bar) would one day claim a prime perch on Baltimore’s once-seedy Fell’s Point waterfront? Blending eye-catching modern artwork with design elements that recall the city’s icons and Revolutionary War and literary histories, the Sagamore Pendry occupies a renovated, revitalized hundred-year-old Beaux Arts building. Known as Rec Pier, it formerly served as a commercial pier and the second-largest immigration gateway in the U.S., and later, as a set for films and TV shows like “Homicide: Life on the Streets.” Although the building had fallen into disrepair, vandalized and vacant in recent years, there are few reminders of that grittiness about the Sagamore Pendry now.

At the hotel’s entrance, a metal sculpture depicting white sails by local artist Adam Scott Cook stands in front of a brick arch that was once a gateway for trucks to drive through when making deliveries and pickups on the pier. It’s now covered with glass and comprises a wall of the hotel’s Rec Pier Chop House restaurant. Three antique cannons recovered from the harbor during construction of the Sagamore Pendry serve as hotel décor alongside cutting-edge modern artwork by local artists and video art bought at Art Basel. In The Cannon Room, the hotel’s American whiskey bar, one of the ancient cannons, from the 17th Century, is on display, visible beneath the floor.

Along the entrance hall, a modern metal wall sculpture outlines Baltimore native son Edgar Allan Poe’s face, and light circles infinity artwork by Chul Hyun Ahn mesmerizes guests with spiraling, changing neon hues. The Sagamore Pendry’s airy courtyard, filled with shrubbery and comfortable seating around a fireplace, is anchored by a 12-foot-long, 3,500-pound metal sculpture of a horse by artist Fernando Botero. A massive painting in warm reds and yellows by Baltimore street artist Gaia, “The Most Difficult Needle to Thread,” dominates a wall in the bar.

Sagamore Pendry Baltimore

Baltimore, 0.7 miles to Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore
8.9 Excellent (336 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Outdoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

Cruise Around The Inner Harbor

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The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore was originally designed with captains of industry in mind. A sculpture depicting a buff, winged Mercury, the Roman god of money and travelers, and another male figure symbolizing industry sit over the entrance near the Inner Harbor. The two set the mood on arrival to the hotel, which is ensconced in the historic 1906 Beaux Arts building that was formerly the offices of the B&O Railroad.

A white marble grand staircase, vintage brass accents, and stained-glass windows recall the early 20th Century. Adjacent to the front desk, a living room area with a fireplace and plush seating in cheery colors and patterns gives a warm, modern vibe. The hotel’s B&O American Brasserie has a cool, cavernous feel and serves locally-sourced American fare and craft cocktails. After fueling up at B&O, hotel guests can grab one of the free PUBLIC bikes to cruise down to the Inner Harbor and tour around the city.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore Inner Harbor

Top rated
Baltimore, 0.7 miles to Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore
8.7 Excellent (3002 reviews)
Excellent Rooms 8.9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

A Nod to the Gilded Age

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This stately turreted red brick mansion, built in 1889 and once home to a bottle-cap magnate, now comprises The Ivy Hotel, along with two adjacent Federal-style townhouses. Well-crafted architectural elements, including 23 fireplaces, stained-glass windows, parquet floors, and carved wood wainscoting give a nod to Gilded Age splendor. A grand piano, artwork including colorful murals, antiques, books, and plush furnishings create an atmosphere of luxury that is tailor-made for weekend getaways.

The Ivy’s Magdalena restaurant’s five different dining areas include a walled courtyard and the more intimate Treasury, where the house valuables were once safely locked away. At the Mansion Bar, guests can make their own drinks, cribbing from a handy recipe book of classic cocktails. The second-floor Spa at the Ivy, although tiny, offers facial, foot, massage and body treatments, which can also be performed in-room.

The Ivy Hotel

Top rated
Baltimore, 1.4 miles to Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore
8.7 Excellent (43 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Gym
Hotel CTA

Baltimore's Creative Vibe

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In the Mt. Vernon neighborhood, near the venerable George Peabody Library and the acclaimed Walters Art Museum, Hotel Indigo Baltimore Downtown brings a creative vibe to a building that was the city’s first YMCA. A literary theme pervades the hotel, from the crisscross wooden bookcases covering the walls of the lobby to the restaurant and bar, Poet’s Modern Cocktails & Eats. Public areas are furnished in vivid pops of aquamarine and yellow, and guest rooms have hardwood floors and custom murals.

Hotel Indigo Baltimore Downtown

Top rated
Baltimore, 1 miles to Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore
8.8 Excellent (1228 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Gym
Hotel CTA

Take in the View from the Rooftop Pool

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Although the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore opened in 2011, it’s already achieved iconic status, both architectural and artistic. This shiny modern 22-story glass-and-steel skyscraper cuts a formidable figure along the Inner Harbor waterfront, and its substantial art collection is the largest of any hotel in the city.

The hotel’s rooftop pool, complete with private cabanas and Splash Pool Bar & Grill, overlooks the yachts and speedboats docked along the harbor and across the water, Baltimore’s iconic 120-by-70-foot neon Domino Sugars sign atop the massive, century-old Domino Sugars plant. The 10,000-square-foot spa features a vitality pool and a Finnish rock sauna. Celebrity chef Michael Mina helms Wit & Wisdom, A Tavern, with a menu of American tavern comfort food, a harbor front patio, and a live-fire grill.

Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore

Top rated
Baltimore, 0.2 miles to Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore
9.2 Excellent (812 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

A Historic Corner Of Baltimore

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Claiming a corner cluster of buildings among the cobblestone streets of Fell’s Point, the Admiral Fell Inn is made up of seven historic structures. Its nautical décor, narrow halls, and uneven floors attest to its architectural mish-mosh and evoke the neighborhood’s salty history. The buildings’ past lives have included a rooming house for sailors during Fell’s Points rough-and-tumble days, a YMCA, and a bottling factory.

There’s nothing cookie-cutter about the guest rooms either. Each one has its own quirky layout and décor and is dedicated to a famous figure that played a prominent role in Baltimore’s history. In the hallway, plaques beside every guest room door describe their sometimes-juicy connections to the city.

Guests can access The Points South Latin Kitchen and 8 Ball Meatball restaurants through the hotel and order a classic cocktail expertly concocted at the Tavern at the Admiral Pub, a local favorite, hidden away in the inn’s basement.

There’s no shortage of food, drink, and shopping options around the inn. Fell’s Point is thick with high-end boutiques, restaurants, bars, shops, and cafes. But to get a sense of just how dicey the area was during the early 20th-century, swing by Pitango Bakery on Thames Street for excellent coffee and pastries. Ask an employee to point out the “No Opium Smoking” sign faintly stenciled on the brick wall in English and Chinese, a reminder of one of the building’s seedier past lives. Or pop over to the Sagamore Pendry Hotel, housed in a century-old pier-top building just across the street from the inn for a nightcap in the Cannon Room whiskey bar.

Try the Preakness, created in the 1930s as a cocktail for the local Preakness Stakes horse races, concocted with Sagamore rye, Carpano Antica vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters. Bar bites are far from an afterthought here — they’re served from the food-forward kitchen of the hotel’s Rec Pier Chophouse. Order the juicy meatballs filled with Parmesan and doused in tomato sauce or the crispy calamari. The flavor gets kicked up a notch with pepperoncini and lemon.

Hotel The Admiral Fell Inn

Baltimore, 0.6 miles to Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore
8.4 Very good (2941 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

French Renaissance in Baltimore

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The 440-room, 23-story Lord Baltimore Hotel was built in 1928 in the French Renaissance style, with revolving brass entryway doors topped by a brass clock a signifier of its early grand dame status. Designed by William Lee Stoddart, the red brick hotel was crowned with a copper roof, its patina now an appealing shade of green, a result of oxidation over the years. Recently renovated by the Rubell family, with guest room interiors by interior designer Scott Sanders, the hotel is well appointed, with a French bistro, a coffeehouse, and a tavern. The hotel’s LB SkyBar rooftop bar offers city views highlighted by the Art Deco Bank of America skyscraper, built in 1929.

Lord Baltimore Hotel

Baltimore, 0.8 miles to Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore
8.1 Very good (6193 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Gym
Restaurant
Hotel CTA

A Neo-Gothic Update

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RL Baltimore Inner Harbor is the updated iteration of this Neo-Gothic former office building, originally built in 1905. It’s now a 130-room hotel with a bar, grill, and a coffee bar. The hotel’s Living Stage presents live music and other performances, and hotel guests can get rides within the city in the house car, a 1971 Volkswagen minibus.

RL Baltimore Inner Harbor by Red Lion

Baltimore, 0.5 miles to Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore
8.4 Very good (2507 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Pets allowed
Restaurant
Hotel bar
Hotel CTA

Feature image courtesy of Visit Baltimore