Baltimore gets to hobnob with the likes of Madagascar, Beverly Hills, Paris and Dubai in a magazine best-of list that dubs the Sagamore Pendry one of the planet's top new hotels.
The hotel inside Fells Point's historic Recreation Pier made Travel + Leisure's list earlier this month of "The Best New Hotels in the World," along with 55 other "game changing" properties.
The travel magazine said it chose from thousands of hotel openings and renovations. The list also includes the Casa Cook Kos, resembling a traditional village on the Greek island of Kos; The Silo Hotel, a re-purposed waterfront grain silo in Cape Town; and the Conrad Bora Bora Nui in French Polynesia, which upgraded its over-water bungalows with giant soaking tubs and large wood decks.
The $350-plus-a-night waterfront Pendry, with a whiskey bar, ballroom and interior garden, was backed by the private real estate firms of Under Armour founder Kevin Plank and his brother Scott Plank. The hotel opened in March.
"A great location, thoughtful design, and intuitive service are a given," the magazine said of its quest for the best lodging. "What's harder to define is a little thing called buzz-factor," something that might add to the fabric of a neighborhood, open up new destinations or offer unique excursions.
The magazine noted Recreation Pier's 103-year history as port cargo storage facility, community center and TV studio for "Homicide: Life on the Street" before closing and deteriorating into a longtime eyesore.
"It seemed unthinkable that this Inner Harbor plot could be a hotel, but local businessman Kevin Plank (of Under Armour fame) and Pendry, a new, millennial-focused brand from Montage International, had the vision," Travel + Leisure contributor Tom Austin said in a review. "Now, the Sagamore is the place to be."
Austin described the Pendry's 128 guest rooms as resembling old-school captain's cabins, full of brass and mahogany, and noted the 18th-century cannon displayed beneath the floor in The Cannon Room bar. Guests are given passwords for a free shot of Sagamore Rye at the bar of the Rec Pier Chop House, led by chef Andrew Carmellini, he said.
"But the true allure of the Sagamore is surprisingly, its location," the review said. "Despite the tourist trappings downtown, Baltimore still has a working harbor, with just the right dose of grit. Staying here gets you up close to it."