The Four Seasons in Baltimore: Great food, spa and lush guestrooms

If you’re not in love with Baltimore, you haven’t stayed at the new Four Seasons Photo: Four Seasons Baltimore

BALTIMORE, September 11, 2012 — If you’re not in love with Baltimore, you haven’t stayed at the new Four Seasons

One of the best new hotels to enter the Mid-Atlantic market, the Four Seasons, a sleek glass tower perched at the edge of up-and-coming neighborhood Harbor East, has ushered in a new age of luxury defined in a singularly modern way. This is where a premium is placed on comfort and quality.

Lobby of the Four Seasons in Baltimore/Image: Four Seasons Baltimore

Because this is a new hotel, the space is infused with a high-tech energy.

  Elevators require a scan of computerized room cards to move to individual floors (no dip and pray here) and many bathrooms feature electronic mirrors (aka TV embeds).

A sexy infinity pool that seems to tumble into the Inner Harbor sets the tone that this isn’t just a city hotel, but a resort oasis.  Private cabanas with billowy canvas tops, comfy sofas set in rattan, and mini bars with granite counter tops make pool time here as lush as in any South Beach cabana. 

One of the greatest achievements of this hotel is it embrace of the friendly vibe that authentic Baltimore delivers.

STAY: All of the 256 rooms and suites at the Four Seasons have down duvets and pillows, plush robes and walk-in rain showers. 

View from a Lighthouse Suite at the Four Seasons Baltimore/Image: Andrea Poe

 

There’s not a bad room in the house since the hotel has staked out a prominent point along the waterfront.  Most rooms have a view of the harbor, but all guests can access it by walking onto the wrap-around teak deck that hugs the fourth floor of the hotel.  This spot delivers a perfect view of the city from the landmark 19th century Bromo Seltzer Tower to the iconic barn-red screw pile lighthouse to Pier Six Pavilion, the city’s outdoor concert venue to the National Aquarium.

If you can score an upgrade to a suite, grab it. But be warned: you may never want to leave.  And because the Four Season has residences in the building this could become a serious dilemma.

Suites here are downright majestic and serious enough to make you want to take meetings with important people.  Or, you can do as I did and hole up and have the majesty all to yourself. 

Details like black walnut millwork, art niches, modern sculptures and curvy sexy columns lend a gallery-like feel.  Modern furnishings swathed in tan typically leave visitors cold.  Not here.  The clean lines and cool colors serve as a neutral backdrop for spectacular harbor views.

In the Lighthouse Suite the living room is sprawling and comfortable, and invites you to sink before the large flat screen, that is if you aren’t lured to the floor-to-ceiling windows.  A dining table, a desk and a mini bar cry out for you to do all kinds of things but don’t be surprised if all you do is stare out the windows until the sun goes down.

The bedroom is big and inviting, but its greatest asset is the waterfront balcony that lures you outside.  The walk-in closet is an aria of woodwork.  Closets as formidable as a bank vault bring reverence to the mere dressing process.   

Room rates range from $279 to $1,500 per night.

EAT:  Two restaurants are in the hotel.  Named Bon Appetit’s Chef of the Year 2005 chef Michael Mina created both Wit & Wisdom, an upscale tavern that specializes in comfort food, and Pabu, a Japanese pub with sushi and a rabata grill. 

Recently, Wit & Wisdom tapped Clay Miller to helm the kitchen. After a stint at the French Laundry, Miller successfully launched Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, Virginia.  He brings that same inventive spirit to Baltimore.

Book a table before summer’s bounty has disappeared.  You will kick yourself if you miss the white corn soup with garlic pesto froth.   Share the lobster pie, which combines summer corn and plump lobster and is presented tableside.  A side dish of wood-fired mushrooms delivers a rich and smoky punch. 

Don’t skip dessert.  Pastry chef Chris Ford, also formerly of Trummer’s on Main, specializes in creative desserts that rely on seasonal ingredients.  Try the berry trifles with elderberry cream and a pungent basil pound cake that’s topped with a raspberry granita or the addictive CCC, a riff on the Almond Joy candy bar, which is a pool of chocolate caramel pudding ringed with crushed almonds and topped with an airy coconut sorbet.

RELAX: Open less than one year, the spa is already legendary among locals.  Word-of-mouth has been wild-firing among those who know spas in Baltimore.  Even residents who had previously held fast to old favorites have been jumping ship to join the caravan of spa-goers who now swear by this spa. 

Jaw-droopingly beautiful, it features sleek high tech designs tempered with warm wood and rustic tile.  There are also so many relaxing amenities it’s like an adult Disneyland.   Options like an aromatherapy steam room, heated tile relaxation chairs, a Finnish rock sauna, an ice fountain and a bank of soaking tubs, ensure that guests linger after their treatments.  For those who want to linger even longer, there are VIP suites with their own treatment rooms, showers, sitting rooms and outdoor decks.

Soaking tubs at the Four Seasons spa/Image Four Seasons Baltimore

BONUS:  Lamill Coffee, a cafe in the lobby, has taken the humble art of serving coffee to new heights.  Yes, the coffee is good and strong.  But it is more. 

Lamill serves coffee that is eco-smart and sustainable, and the café goes to great lengths to share its taste-good, do-good goals with guests.  On Saturday mornings, the café features a “cupping”, basically a coffee taste test, much like a wine tasting, where visitors can learn about everything from harvesting to acidity testing.


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Andrea Poe

Andrea Poe is a veteran journalist, whose work has appeared in thousands of publications, including Town & Country, Marie Claire and Entrepreneur.  She is the author of several books and her work has appeared in many others, including anthologies and college textbooks. 

Andrea serves as editor of the Travel & Food section at The Washington Times Communities.  Her love of travel has led her to cover everything from remote villages in the Andes to her hometown of New York, from Paris to Pittsburgh, from Beijing to the Bahamas.  No matter where she travels, she likes to uncover the unusual and share with readers those often-overlooked aspects of a place and its people.  She dubs her column Raven’s Eye as a nod to her illustrious (and, yes, infamous) relative, Edgar Allan Poe, a writer who knew more than a little something about the quirky and unique.  

Andrea is also mother to Maxine, who was adopted from Vietnam in 2006, and is the inspiration for The Red Thread column on adoption at The Washington Times Communities.   Andrea is currently at work on a book on international adoption.

In addition to her work as mother, writer and traveler, she is the founder and president of Media Branding International, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations craft and promote their image in media outlets around the globe.

Find Andrea at andpoe@Twitter, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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