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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The Grateful Traveler: Exploring the New Ivy Hotel in Baltimore

CRL's travel columnist heads to the Mount Vernon District to check out the Ivy.

Baltimore is one of the great American cities to visit or to have a well-earned romantic get-away. There is Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, historic seaport, tourist attraction, and landmark of the city. It is an ideal example to all American cities of how to fashion a picture-perfect waterfront. The museums are classic, strolling to the many statues throughout the city is relaxing, and the nightlife is all you would want. The food is remarkable as well. Baltimore is much more than just filled with crab cakes and crab, although that is all most visitors seem to crave.

Elegant and casual in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon District
A new classic in the city of many classics is The Ivy Hotel, located in the Mount Vernon District. It is quaint and exclusive with only nine suites and nine additional beautiful bedrooms. Each one has a four-poster bed outfitted with the finest bed linens that I have ever experienced or seen. I truly had the best night’s rest that I have ever had away from home. The rooms also feature a gas fireplace and extravagant bathroom individually heated with limestone floors for a cozy trek to the necessity room.

The views from The Ivy range from the Mount Vernon streets, to a lovely courtyard at the property’s corner location. Some have balconies. However, one collective melody flowing all the way through the mansion/hotel is the impeccable design of the accommodations. Nothing is taken for granted when it comes to your comfort. For example, there is no noise from the outside, as sound proofing on the windows makes that impossible.

I was so taken by the interior design of all aspects of the property that I inquired and learned that this creativity came from Joszi Meskan Associates from Interior Architecture and Design out of San Francisco. Joszi Meskan is one of the top ten interior designers in San Francisco, where gifted interior designers are plentiful. Throughout the property, there is a mix of the historic with the modern and, I might even say, whimsy in some instances. It comes together just perfectly and the results are staggering. Every room is a feast for eyes and every chair takes in incredible views.

The Ivy’s owners, Baltimore businessman and philanthropist Eddie Brown and historic real estate refurbishing expert Marty Azola, created this luxury boutique from a private home built in 1889. Make no mistake, this was a Gilded Age mansion that fell into great ruins and covered in ivy before these business people sprinkled the magic of hard work and ingenuity on it and, no doubt, gobs of their own money. The Ivy is part of Relais & Châteaux, which is a global fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants and simply the best source to the finest properties in the world.

The experience? Well, picture yourself at any time requesting a beverage, or perhaps a pot of tea or a glass of excellent wine sent to your room. Maybe you would rather stroll into the lobby for a formal tea service or a game of pool in the formal pool room. Maybe you are comfortable and settled into your room for the night but you want a late-night snack. All is there for you at any time and can be served to you in your own suite in a faultless fashion.

When morning comes, you can enjoy your morning coffee in the ivy-walled courtyard, or perhaps with a book in the library, or in your room. Wherever you decide to enjoy it, breakfast at the Ivy is something you just need to experience at least once in your life.
There is an intimate small spa available to the guests. The spa is certainly top-notch and another fine example of size not mattering when it comes to indulgence.

The Magdalena experience
Magdalena, one of Baltimore’s most exceptional restaurants, resides in The Ivy. Under the direction of Executive Chef Mark Levy, the Magdalena is a fine-dining bistro. The cross-cultural menu is built on the finest local ingredients and changes with the seasons and the inspiration of the chef. The dining rooms and bar are casual, yet elegant and comfortable—like the entire Ivy Hotel. Once again, the service shines and you really do not want for a thing when you leave, with the exception of the amazing rolls with warm truffle butter. I will crave them for the rest of my life! The rolls are—wait for it—duck fat poppy seed rolls. The combination with the warm truffle butter was sublime.

Splurge and go; there are few places quite like it
The prices of The Ivy are undeniably steep but well deserved steep, generally priced at this time of the year from $520 to $1,300, depending on the room or suite. It is located a short walk from the rail station and the lovely Mount Vernon area is well situated to most attractions in Baltimore. Comfort is the word that keeps popping up as I write this. Elegant? Absolutely, but comfortable as well. Very chic but like staying at a family member’s home where they haven’t seen you in ages and put out everything they have for you to enjoy.

Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran is a travel writer and the founder of the Grateful Traveler.

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