"There isn’t anything else in the city, or the state of Maryland, of this caliber. Baltimore may not know it yet, but they are ready for it,” says David Garrett. He’s talking about The Ivy, the city’s new 18-room hotel in an 1889 mansion, where he is managing director. Discretion is paramount from arrival, when guests are escorted to the observatory for Laurent Perrier champagne. Past the Mansion Bar and Tea Room is a check-in desk. There’s no lobby. “We’re welcoming you into a private home,” Garrett says.
Four years ago, two Baltimore families bought the former home of William Painter, inventor of the bottle cap, and brought on Garrett and his wife, Christie, to open a hotel. Every historic detail was restored (one woodworker spent nearly three years just carving 107 staircase spindles) under the watchful eye of interior designer Joszi Meskan. Ten trailers of antiques were rescued from the Inn at National Hall, in Westport, Connecticut, after it closed in 2010. Local artists and Maryland Institute College of Art students painted 18 armoires to be stocked as “barmoires” with Melville Pinot Noir and Stumptown coffee. But where The Ivy really shines are the nine suites. Book Suite One ($995) for its pink octagonal sitting area and garden terrace or Suite Seven ($1,295) in the mansion’s turret. Guests pay extra only at the spa and at Magdalena, the hotel’s bistro, helmed by chef MarkLevy. 205 E.Biddle St.; 443-503-4501; theivybaltimore.com.