Baltimore’s Best: The Hotel Monaco and B&O American Brasserie

Baltimore's Hotel Monaco
Baltimore's Hotel Monaco (Photo: Jacquie Kubin)

Baltimore, MD — With over three centuries of growth, Baltimore, Maryland has developed into a robust travel destination with great food, architecture, history, museums, the National Aquarium as well as the proximity to some of Maryland’s greatest treasures, including Annapolis, the Assateague Island National Seashore, Antietam National Cemetery and Washington, D.C.

Truly, this town has something for everyone.

However one element of any town that is uniquely their own is the architecture that tells the story — from past to present — of when and how that town became what it is today.

The Baltimore and Ohio Headquarters - c. 1906
The Baltimore and Ohio Headquarters - c. 1906

Baltimore architecture is some of the most vibrant and varied one can find. From the neoclassical Baltimore Basilica (built 1806-1821) by architect Benjamin Latrobe to the pioneers of Modern Architecture pioneers Mies van de Rohe and I.M. Pei, who constructed the World Trade Center, a 32-story building that is noted as the tallest five-sided equilateral building in the U.S. (1977), it is possible to find dozens of architectural treasurers in this Harbor City.

Visit the ironclad Sun Iron Building designed by R.C. Hatfield (1851) or the Lloyd Street Synagogue, an example of Greek revival architecture (1845) that is one of the oldest synagogues in the U.S.

The Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church (1871) is regarded as one of the most “significant buildings in this city.” A virtual treasure in the Gothic Revival style architecture, the building’s stained glass windows are by artists Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church was dedicated in memory of George Brown, one of the founding members of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (1827) that leads us to the B&O Building on North Charles Street.

A remarkable example of early 21st century Beaux-Arts architecture, the building opened in 1906 as headquarters for the B&O Railroad. At that time it was a bastion of building technology featuring elevators, working electrical lights in all rooms and a sprinkler system in case of fire.

Today the building stands remarkably untouched by time with magnificent exterior carvings and ornamentation including the larger than life sized statuary above the front awning, depicting Mercury, the messenger and God of trade, profit and commerce and the figure Progress of Industry, holding a locomotive and torch, symbols of the railroad resting, both regally, flanking a world globe resting on a draped, flowered pedestal.

With its upper-crust core North Charles Street’s corner stone buidling was recently renovated by Kimpton Hotels creating a luxury oasis that while thoroughly modern heralds back to an era long past. An era where grace and comfort ruled the day. This property is well worth your visit for both its architectural grandeur and luxurious appointments.

The buildings architecture with its raised first story allows for a grand entrance where guests can choose to ride in the brass framed elevators or walk up the grand double staircases that are anchored at the base by gold-leafed pillared “streetlamp” style ornamentation.

Throughout the grand entrance and up into the hotel lobby floor, architectural touches abound in marble pilasters, balustrade, sleek marble floors and incredible ceiling detailing and Tiffany stained glass windows.

The low settee just off the elevator lobby invokes the bygone image of a young Victorian era lady, peering over the balcony for her suitor, yet hidden from his view, allowing her to arrange herself for maximum impact as he steps off the elevator.

Lobby seating consists of a number of intimate groupings. High backed couches are flanked by tall plantings perfect for afternoon assignations or late night last calls. Exotic wood tables rest on a rich red and beige fleur-de-lis style emblazoned carpet.

Stepping off the elevator at your floor, you will immediately note the richness of the common areas ornamentation. The carvings and engraved brass are reminders of the building’s glorious architectural importance.

The carpeting, in a rich chocolate brown with blue flower and swirl motif is thoroughly modern however the color choices are old-world classic, creating an immediate symbiotic blend between the present and past.

In the building’s redesign Dallas-based Winston Associates created 202 magnificent guest rooms in a color scheme that incorporates rich navy and red hues against gold wallpaper.

Rich, abundant, classic and new

The rooms each carry a railroad motif through steamer trunk styled bedside tables and sconces flanking the bed-to-ceiling headboards. A back lit art element in the exterior room of the suite shows a soft past scene of a steam locomotive rambling through the countryside.

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Jacquie Kubin
Jacquie Kubin is an award winning writer and wanderer. She turns her thoughts to an eclectic mix of stories - from politics to sports. Restless by nature and anxious to experience new things, both in the real world and online, Jacquie mostly shares travel and culinary highlights, introduces readers to the chefs and creative people she meets and shares the tips, life and travel information people want to read.