Amtrak is planning a 77-room hotel for the top three floors of Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station. The new property, to cost $9 million, will be built and run by Hospitality Partners of Bethesda, Md., and will be called The Inn at Penn Station. Construction should begin by the end of this year and wrap up by late 2010.
Baltimore's 754-room Marriott Waterfront hotel recently completed a $20 million renovation of all its guest rooms and suites. Rooms were outfitted with new tiled entryways, carpet, bathtubs, bedding, furniture, 37-inch LCD high-definition TVs and more. The Marriott's 80,000 square feet of meeting space, including its 19,140-square-foot Grand Ballroom, also underwent a $5 million renovation.
The new 92-room Quality Inn Harbor South opened last spring. The hotel offers an outdoor pool, an exercise room, and free continental breakfast and Wi-Fi, along with one meeting room that can accommodate up to 50 people.
Starwood's hip new Aloft brand debuted a Baltimore property in August. The Aloft Baltimore Washington International Airport has 155 rooms (all with 42-inch flat-screen TVs) and a 540-square-foot meeting room. Free airport shuttle service is provided.
The 337-room Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel completed a lobby redesign in January. Later this year, all bedding will be replaced with new Sweet Sleeper 300-thread-count linens. The property offers 17 meeting rooms, the largest of which spans 10,524 square feet.
The 337-room Holiday Inn Inner Harbor's West Tower recently underwent a $7 million renovation. Upgrades included new case goods, granite countertops, flat-screen TVs and refrigerators. Ten mini-suites also were created, and updates were made to the indoor swimming pool and 4,528 square feet of meeting space.
Earlier this summer, the 662-room Renaissance Harborplace Hotel completed the final phase of a two-year, $24 million renovation that touched the lobby, café, Watertable Restaurant, indoor pool, fitness center, Concierge Lounge, all meeting space, and all guest rooms and suites. The rooms each received new furniture and soft goods, Wi-Fi and 42-inch HD TVs. The Renaissance has 31,000 square feet of meeting space spread out over 21 meeting rooms.
Meeting Hotels: Baltimore offers more than 7,000 hotel rooms. Properties include the 757-room Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel, 754-room Marriott Baltimore Waterfront, 706-room Sheraton Baltimore City Center, 622-room Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, 524-room Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, 488-room Hyatt Regency Baltimore, 439-room Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore, 375-room Holiday Inn Inner Harbor Hotel, 337-room Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, 303-room Baltimore Tremont Plaza, 260-room Westin Baltimore Washington Airport–BWI, 250-room Days Inn Inner Harbor, 202-room Hotel Monaco Baltimore and 195-room InterContinental Harbor Court Baltimore.
Convention Center: Baltimore Convention Center; exhibit space, 300,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 50; (410) 649-7000; bccenter.org
Airport Transit: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, about 10 miles south of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $30
Taxes: Room tax, 7.5%; sales tax, 6%; total hotel room tax, 13.5%
Small Group Venue: In a 19th-century townhouse in Baltimore's historic Mount Vernon neighborhood, The Brewer's Art is a Continental-style restaurant and microbrewery that recently placed first on Esquire magazine's list of the Best Bars in America. A rear dining room can accommodate up to 40 people, while the entire eatery seats 90 for a dinner or 110 for a buffet. House-brewed beers include the Belgian "devil beer," called Ozzy. Representative entrées include the Ozzy-brined chicken schnitzel. (410) 547-6925; thebrewersart.com
Large Group Venue: Just a 15-minute walk from the Baltimore Convention Center, the American Visionary Art Museum is devoted to works created by self-taught artists, such as a life-size chess set whose pieces resemble angels and aliens. Cocktail parties can be held in the 35,000-square-foot main museum facility, while Sculpture Plaza sits up to 150 for dinner under a 55-foot-tall, wind-powered whirligig. (410) 244-1900, ext. 228; avam.org
CVB Services: Visit Baltimore; (410) 659-7300 or (800) 343-3468; baltimore.org