Sagamore Pendry Baltimore
Start us off with an overview.Years in the making, this is the first East Coast hotel for Pendry, the off-shoot brand from Montage that’s aimed at thirsty Millennials who think they have great taste. The hotel occupies the Recreation Pier, a landmark building in Fell’s Point, that was left empty for nearly two decades before reopening as the Pendry, thanks in part to a big investment from Under Armour’s Kevin Plank.
While the “Rec Pier” serves as the frontispiece of the property—and houses the Andrew Carmellini Rec Pier Chop House restaurant, and a small whiskey bar called The Cannon Room—the guest rooms are in the new-build addition on the old footprint of the pier, which 1) gives the place a bolted-together feel, but also 2) supremely comfortable guest rooms that aren’t jig-sawed into a historic building.
Sounds cool. How was your room?My third-floor suite had a lovely balcony overlooking the harbor, a huge soaking tub, a gorgeous desk for actually getting some work done, and electrical outlets (including USB plugs) blessedly coming out of just about everywhere.
The room decor is nothing particularly remarkable, but they’re nice in that airport lounge, non-offensive, hefty brass fixtures kind of way. Number 366 was a legit suite with doors between the bedroom and the living space, and an extra half-bath. The excellent minibar had Sagamore Rye on offer, plus other high-quality spirits, local Utz’s crab chips, and National Bohemian beer, among other choices. (There’s an off-brand Nespresso machine, but I didn’t try it.) The huge desk had power plugs built into the top, rather than having to crawl around on the floor to find an outlet. The Wi-Fi was free, fast, and easy to connect to with a splash screen that just asked for last name and room number. On a nice day, there’d be no better place for room service breakfast than the balcony, wearing one of those perfectly serviceable terrycloth white robes. Water pressure in the shower could’ve been stronger, but the master bathroom was otherwise excellent, with a pedestal soaking tub and dual sinks; the in-bathroom TV seemed like a last-minute addition. (I didn’t bother watching. Or taking a bath, for that matter. Who has the time these days, amirite?)
How was the crowd, and overall vibe?On my visit, the hotel was still brand new, and there were lines to get into the restaurant and bar on a Saturday night. (The staff, all seemingly well-trained and well-equipped to deal with this crush, were excellent throughout.) The crowd leaned young, and it was heavy on white guys in broad-shouldered jackets, the Mid-Atlantic uniform for the striving class. Still, it was scene-y and fun, and weddings are already a huge business for the property. The infinity pool is a great place to lay out if you didn’t spring for a room with a balcony.
Tell us more about dining at the hotel.The aforementioned Carmellini joint appears to be an instant hit, judging by the crowds jamming the place all weekend. There’s nothing truly remarkable on the menu, at least that I saw, though his staff here is doing the same soul-satisfying Italian hits that have made him so beloved in New York. The cavernous dining room, with gorgeous (contemporarily styled) chandeliers, is downright dramatic and just as pretty—if not more so—than his dining rooms in Manhattan. (Sorry Locanda Verde!) Breakfast is solid, too, and there is—should you have been momentarily concerned—an avocado toast option.
So what's the bottom line?The Pendry’s probably one of the best places to stay in Baltimore right now, along with the Four Seasons and The Ivy, both of which are in different neighborhoods. If you’re coming for Baltimore nightlife and dining, this is a perfect place to be.