One of the best little boutique hotels in Baltimore sits on Charles Street not far from Camden Yards. Part of the signature Monaco experience is the building’s historical significance. The hotel is in the former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad station originally built in 1906. While the bathrooms, elevators and lighting are modern, the Tiffany-stained glass and grand marble cases in the foyer hearken back to its former glory.
As part of the Kimpton chain of hotels, Baltimore’s Hotel Monaco prides itself on putting service first. From the bellhop to the room services, each employee takes a personal responsibility in treating each guest with special attention. At check in, a daily schedule is presented explaining the times when hot chocolate, cookies, and then later wine and apple cider will be served in the lobby. These complimentary services go fast, however. When we checked in during the traditional time between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., there were no cups available. Once we called it to an employee’s attention, they restacked the cups and a line formed that drank up the last of the cocoa.
During the wine hour, we were lucky enough to find seats in front of the gas fireplace. A server came around to the crowded lobby, offering refills on champagne and wine. If this perk is one of your main reasons for choosing this hotel, arrive early and try to find a seat before the wine hour begins.
It’s a secure hotel, which means you need your hotel key to access the room floors. Each floor has a turn of the century mail drop box and beautiful marble hallways. The rooms are spacious, creative and offer generous views of the city. For those of us who appreciate ambiance, the lighting in the bathroom is worth noting. The shower stall (no tub), has its own light and rain style shower head. The vanity mirror comes with a stationary magnifying mirror and the option of dimming the lights above the sink. So nice for make up application.
The rooms are not so modern as to make it impossible to find bed-side light switches and a turn down service is complimentary. The beds are heavenly and the tiger and zebra patterned robes, while not the most comfy, are super fun. Socks to match are also provided but cost an extra $15.
Room service is offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but don’t expect the food to be memorable. The prices are typical of most hotels in this city and at least the portions are decently sized. You can also pay extra for a package upgrade during your stay for a movie and popcorn in your room daily.
You won’t find a spa inside Hotel Monaco, but an impressive selection of in-room massage and spa services are offered (unless you’re pregnant) during scheduled hours. During unscheduled hours, you can request these services for an extra fee.
The fact that the hotel will print out your boarding pass for you for no extra charge is a nice touch as well. They do have a large ballroom for weddings and special events. And for those traveling with kids, you’ll want to ask about the welcome gift and in-room safety upgrades. They also provide baby-sitting services and strollers for rent. If you’re traveling alone and want some company, as with most Kimpton hotels, you can request a goldfish to your room during your stay.
It’s an interesting feature, especially since they are also a pet-friendly hotel, and I almost brought my cat. AAA members will want to ask for a special rate, or book like we did through SniqueAway, or one of those other discount services and save almost $100 a night. Overall, it’s a great boutique hotel and reasonably priced for the market. If you get a discount, however, you’ll feel like you’re really getting a great deal.