Like many aging nobles, Lord Baltimore Hotel has had its share of indignities since its birth, in 1928. The 700-room, French Renaissance–style hotel, designed by architect William Lee Stoddart, featured a copper-clad mansard roof that became a beacon for downtown Baltimore, the go-to place for high teas and formal balls. Owner Harry Busick’s death in 1930 led to a series of changing hands, starting with his sons, who later sold the hotel to New Yorker H. R. Weissberg, who hacked away at it with renovations until it went up for auction in 1969.
Last year Don and Mera Rubell, collectors and hoteliers with properties in Washington, D.C., and South Beach, Florida, bought the iconic building and enlisted designer Scott Sanders to rescue the lord in distress. “I stripped away all the layers that had been added over the years to reveal the simple elegance of the original architecture,” Sanders says. He also instated a gray-and-black palette inspired by menswear fabrics and accented it with polished bronze and gold lighting. The history of the hotel, which reopened in March with 440 rooms, and its location compelled Sanders to make the design true to the port city. “On one visit,” he says, “I saw the tropical colors of the Matisse paintings at the Baltimore Museum of Art and thought, Perfect!” Rooms start at $140; 20 W. Baltimore St.; 410-539-8400; lordbaltimorehotel.com.