Hospitality at Its Finest: Baltimore’s Ivy Hotel

In today’s currency of credit card points, customer reward programs and discount memberships, one can feel the days of genuine customer service slipping away. Today we get service at whatever status some corporate rewards program deems us eligible, and at every turn we are reminded what you can or cannot have based on that status.

Step back in time to a place where hospitality and generosity remain core values. The Ivy Hotel, located in the heart of the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood in Baltimore, offers an escape to a period when the highest level of customer service was extended to every guest, where the royal treatment still exists. 

From the moment you arrive the staff makes certain you feel welcomed. It is truly in the smallest details, like greeting you by name, offering you complimentary refreshments as you check in and asking how you prefer your coffee in the morning. The service is beyond what you would expect, even from an establishment that cares deeply about creating long lasting relationships with its customers.

This late-nineteenth century mansion turned boutique hotel on the corner of Biddle and Calvert Streets opened its doors in 2015 after a six-year restoration. Earning its name from the once wild and unruly English ivy climbing up the red brick facade, The Ivy features a three-story tower, slate-covered roof, high windows and many of the historic interior details of the original home.

Perfectly curated spaces create atmospheres for conversation, entertaining and the lost art of relaxation. Much of what you see in the hotel today was hand-picked by San Francisco-based interior designer Joszi Meskan. Several million dollars, three years abroad, and nine tractor trailers later, The Ivy had nearly all it could possibly pack in.

Yet, the property would not be what it is today without Baltimore locals. Baltimore-based philanthropists, Eddie and Sylvia Brown purchased the property from the City of Baltimore in 2010 and quickly partnered with Ziger/Snead Architects and Martin Azola, a Baltimore expert in restoring historic buildings. The Ivy’s custom furnishings (including their “barmoires” or mini bars that resemble armoires), along with the 1920s-inspired mural that wraps around the walls of the living room, was fabricated and installed by Baltimore’s artist and craftsman, David Wiesand and his team of local artists.

There is an intention in the common areas to entice you to stay and enjoy the various nooks and crannies. Perhaps you fancy a game of billiards? A wooden jigsaw puzzle? Choose a seat for afternoon high tea service in the library or living room, sip some bubbly or a hand-crafted cocktail from the self-service mansion bar. With each spot you settle into you find something interesting to gaze upon: the view out the window, shelves upon shelves of books, a commissioned portrait of the mansion’s original owner.

The color palette runs the gamut from soft, muted beige, deep blue, to vibrant salmon and fresh minty green. With a slight touch of Mediterranean-style, guests can momentarily be transported from the Gilded Age mansion in Baltimore to a friend’s home in Casablanca – radiant textiles, intricately handcrafted furnishings, exposed beams, decadently patterned and layered rugs, parquet flooring and gold-leaf detailing. The whole experience feels like a film noir movie set you can finally see in color.

As you explore the first floor of the hotel you may not realize that just below you is the home of Magdalena, where the award-winning Executive Chef Mark Levy and his team are waiting to provide you with a fine dining experience. With bistro-style indoor seating, a vaulted wine cellar and welcoming tables in the courtyard garden, the restaurant exudes the same level of service and elegance as the hotel above. Featuring locally sourced fresh ingredients whenever possible, Chef Levy will delight your senses – the perfect complement to your stay at the hotel.

The Mount Vernon neighborhood is situated in the heart of Baltimore and provides easy access to some of the city’s finest attractions. It’s hard to leave the comforts of The Ivy, but if you find yourself wanting to discover Charm City many of the hotel staff are Baltimore natives and will happily provide transportation and recommendations on where to visit.

The Ivy Hotel offers specials throughout the year. Learn more about this incredible hotel at TheIvyBaltimore.com.