BALTIMORE: The Return of The Lord Baltimore Hotel
Room rates at the Rubell family's recently redone hotel, a few blocks off the Inner Harbor, are up $50 since the Miami-based art enthusiasts bought the property from Radisson in March 2013, the hotel's Lee Johnson tells us. The goal was to return the 1928-vintage hotel to its former glory and improve its rates, though keep it affordable. During renovations, a two-story speakeasy was uncovered that Lee describes as a storage closet with a cutout in the ceiling that leads to a loft where drinkers could watch the entrance with two-way mirrors. The hotel is working on permits to reopen it. (As the tallest hotel during the Depression, the hotel unfortunately was also a logical suicide leap, including for a legend-making family of three; the little girl, Molly, is said to haunt the 19th floor.)
Above: the French Kitchen restaurant. Lee says regional staycationers are feeding in a lot of business, but so is group travel. The ballroom space is more flexible than before the renovation and now can fit 1,200, and there are breakout rooms. But the coolest change is the addition of two rooftop spots suited for VIP receptions and post-event parties. (Great, we've got the venue with the menu. Now we just need a fiance.) The new-and-improved hotel, Lee says, celebrates the six members of the Calvert family—the Lords of Baltimore—and the Rubells' love of art. That includes portraits of the Calverts and 2,000 unique artworks, including Pollock-esque drip paintings and Hirst-esque dot art in every room.