After five years of renovations, The Ivy Hotel is finally open in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon neighborhood. Was it worth the wait? We traveled to Charm City to find out.
A 19th century mansion-turned luxury boutique hotel
Each of The Ivy’s 18 rooms (nine of which are suites) is uniquely laid out, giving the impression that you’re staying in the home of a wealthy confidant, as opposed to a hotel. Plush, king-size canopy beds are a feature in most rooms, private sitting areas come standard, and many of the views look out onto the property’s courtyard, a space that can also be used for events. As temperatures dropped outside, we appreciated the cozy fireplace and the in-room selection of classic reads like Of Mice and Men and Emma, but the real standout was the beautifully serene bathroom with heated French limestone floors, a deep soaking tub, and an abundant supply of NaturaBisse products.
The common areas are what set The Ivy apart. A bit like a luxe, real-life version of Clue, guests—who run the gamut from sophisticated staycationers to business travelers to family members of patients receiving treatment at Hopkins—gather in the conservatory or the library for tea and communal breakfast, or an after-dinner drink from the fully stocked bar. But if alone time is what you’re after, not to worry. No small-talk required.
From check-in to check-out, service at The Ivy was impeccable and, more impressively, highly personalized. After complimentary car service from the train station, we were greeted by name and treated to a glass of champagne and a historical tour of the property, while our bags were whisked up to the room. For all meals and snacks, dietary restrictions were noted and accommodated, and the front desk was quick to offer access to puzzles and board games as well as suggestions for things to do around the neighborhood.
The Ivy operates under a “highly inclusive” model, meaning that amenities ranging from a full breakfast and Wi-Fi to cocktails, on-demand movies, and all gratuities are included in the nightly rate. But our favorite perk was the gorgeous in-room “bar-moire,” decorated by a local artist and filled with complimentary salty snacks, Tcho chocolates, and drinks like fresh orange juice and local beers. One of the few things excluded from the price would be dinner at Magdalena, the on-site restaurant, which occupies the mansion’s former treasury, and offers a seasonal menu of cross-cultural cuisine.
What We Loved
For this anglophile, full afternoon tea service with finger sandwiches and scones in front of a roaring fire was the highlight of my stay. My history-buff husband, on the other hand? He could have spent days exploring the hotel’s collection of antiques including vintage books, a 1930s-era globe, 19th-century pool table, and restored Tiffany glass windows.
What We Wish Had Been Better
While the hotel is close to cultural centers like the symphony hall, Walters Art Museum, and the Maryland Historical Society (which houses the original copy of "The Star-Spangled Banner"), it is a bit removed from Baltimore’s bustling Inner Harbor—the city’s tourism hub. That said, The Ivy’s private car service will get you there quickly, at no charge to you.