Look out, Charm City. There’s a brand-new hotel in town. The first luxury property in Baltimore’s hopping Fell’s Point district, the 128-room Sagamore Pendry Baltimore is a renovation of the Recreation Pier building, which once served as a major immigration hub for the city, right on the harbor.
The new address is buzzy for a number of reasons — it’s the first East Coast outlet for Montage International’s new design-inspired boutique brand (think: Montage for millennials) and also the debut hotel project for Sagamore Development Company, owned by Kevin Plank, the founder and CEO of famed activewear brand Under Armour.
Before you book your stay, here are five things you need to know:
Sleek and modern, the hotel renovated its historic building to feature stripped-down brick, sleek wooden floors and residential-style leather plus bronze furnishings that make it seem more like a stylish city pied-à-terre than a hotel.
The property features an extensive collection of local art with an array of influences. For example, on one wall, you will find a massive mural of the bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, purchased from the Library of Congress, while in the courtyard stands a 12-foot-tall horse sculpture by Botero that’s so large it had to be dropped in through the roof on a special crane.
At the hotel’s entrance, a series of steel sculptures, called “Rituals,” evokes the sails of a ship. By the pool entrance, a cheeky video-loop piece depicts a woman swimming.
Rooms with a view
The Pendry’s 128 rooms are designed to resemble a ship’s captain’s quarters although, admittedly, starting at 370 square feet, they’re a lot more spacious.
Inside, expect hardwood floors and rich millwork; white marble accents; deep, lustrous leather sofas; as well as perks such as deep soaking tubs, Min New York amenities and locally inspired minibars packed with everything from Old Bay-dusted chips to the hotel’s own Sagamore Spirit Rye.
If it were up to us, we’d book rooms on the third floor, which is mainly made up of suites. Each of these units features a spacious balcony overlooking the harbor.
Work, work, work it out
Working out isn’t always top of the mind when traveling, but when the hotel is owned by the Under Armour CEO, you can bet that a first-class workout is available.
The Baltimore hotel boasts a large waterfront pool, mainly designed for lounging (snag one of the for-rent cabanas for extra perks), and a large — by city hotel standards, at least — gym. But guests of this boutique property also have access to the wait-listed, member’s only FX Studios, a massive gym just across the harbor where pro athletes work out regularly. Take the water taxi — also owned by Plank — to your fitness session.
Want to really escape city living? Starting this summer, the hotel will also partner with Sagamore Farm, another Plank-owned venture. The thoroughbred farm breeding local racehorses will offer special experiences for guests, as will the newly opened Sagamore distillery.
It’s rare that we find ballrooms inspiring, but the richly restored main event space at the Pendry is an exception. Climb a dramatic seven-foot-wide, two-story red carpet staircase to the hotel’s third floor, where you’ll find soaring 35-foot ceilings and a massive grand ballroom that can accommodate up to 300 guests.
The gorgeous area boasts plastered ceilings, grand columns and a vintage feel that, thanks to its restoration, leaves the ballroom looking much as it did at the turn of the 19th century. Many locals remember the space fondly from the hotel’s former days as a rec center, when the ballroom would host community dances.
Take time to indulge
Fell’s Point is one of the city’s most vibrant dining areas, and the hotel’s new Rec Pier Chop House, overseen by well-known Italian chef Andrew Carmellini (whose restaurants include popular Locanda Verde and Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Little Park, both in New York City), is a mix of classic Italian flavors, sustainable seafood and prime cuts of meat served in a contemporary-chic dining space of cozy booths, banquettes and soaring brick ceilings.
Don’t miss the signature sheep’s milk ricotta crostini as an appetizer or the Maine lobster fra diavolo entrée. For dessert, the massive Neapolitan sundae hits the spot.
Post-dinner, hit up The Cannon Room, the hotel’s whiskey bar, which draws its name from the 18th-century canon that lived below the hotel for decades and was discovered during the renovation. Boasting a curved ceiling that resembles the interior of a whiskey or bourbon barrel, the intimate bar features a curated menu of bourbon, rye and whiskey as well as craft cocktails like the Biscotti Old Fashioned, which features the hotel’s own Sagamore Rye.