Is it possible to review a hotel you’ve never stayed at? In my case, yes. I’m a self-proclaimed hotel snob and I know what I like in a hotel. And resting my head on a pillow for eight hours isn’t always necessary for me to know what I think.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to an event hosted at the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, a luxury boutique hotel located in a quaint waterfront area of the city known as Fell’s Point. In the past, the area has been known for grungy pubs and bars or the oddball vintage stores. It’s even been the backdrop for some gritty cop shows like Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire. So imagine my surprise when I plug in the address for the Sagamore Pendry and end up, unknowingly, in the heart of Fell’s Point.
The building formerly known as the Recreation Pier first opened on August 20, 1914 as a commercial pier, housing an immigration station. It closed in 1937 but continued to be used over the years for many purposes including the police station for several of the TV crime dramas mentioned above. After it’s run on the small screen, the building sat vacant for 15 years until Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour right across the bay, invested in the building.
During the massive renovations, which including reconstructing the piers from the ground up, historic artifacts were uncovered that included cannons dating back to the 1700s and more recently the Battle of 1812. These cannons are now displayed both poolside and in the American whiskey car on site known appropriately as The Cannon Room.
It’s this kind of attention to history, detail, architecture, art, and style that make the Sagamore Pendry Hotel a new landmark in Baltimore.
Welcome to the Sagamore Pendry Hotel
Your experience starts before you even enter the hotel. The bell desk sits just outside the entrance offering artfully created seating and valet parking (I loved their “text to retrieve” valet vehicle service). And the entryway into the hotel offers a glimpse of the industrial architecture mixed with modern art.
Dine or Lounge in Style
Once inside the hotel, there’s no shortage of picturesque locations from which to view the harbor or meet and greet with friends or colleagues. The style is dark and industrial but still conveys the warmth of a historic lodge or gentlemen’s club. You’ll find pockets of seating throughout the hotel including the lobby, lounge, and hotel restaurant.
The large windows and high ceilings give the darkly decorated interior a warm feel. And just on the other side of the lounge, you’ll step completely out of the dark into what feels like an onsite arboretum.
If you’re not aware of the connection of horses to both Maryland and Kevin Plank, you’ll be reminded of both with this large bronze sculpture in the atrium of the Sagamore Pendry.
(Note: Maryland is home to many horse farms as well as the Preakness, one of the races of the Triple Crown. Kevin Plank is the owner of Sagamore Farms, a horse training facility north of Baltimore.)
Heading Out to the Pool
It takes vision and some clever engineering to create a pool on a pier. But looking out over the pool water and into the Baltimore Harbor keeps the hotel true to the roots of its location. And the pool bar outside offers clever takes on classic drinks (jalapeno-tinged mai tai, anyone?).
The Rooms Deliver What the Hotel Promises
At this point, I’m sure you’d agree that the Sagamore Pendry Hotel looks like an amazing place to visit and hang out. But the rooms count too! Although I didn’t stay the night, I got to peek inside one of the ground floor guest rooms. Keep in mind that every room has a view of the water!
Why the Location Works for Baltimore
When traveling to Baltimore, most travelers are typically looking to stay in a hotel close to the Inner Harbor or in the newer area known as Harbor East. Until recently, Fells Point wouldn’t have even appeared in a hotel search. But to make the location work, you need easy access to other parts of the waterfront. The hotel is conveniently located next to several water taxi locations that can take guests to most locations along the harbor.
It’s a hotel, it’s a destination, it’s a glimpse into Baltimore history. Even if you don’t have a chance to stay in the hotel, it’s worth a visit to appreciate the massive efforts taken to help revitalize this little pocket of Baltimore.