Baltimore’s Hotel RL: Community, Coolness, Incomparable Comfort

As a business owner with clients around the U.S., I occasionally hit the road for face-to-face confabs.  So when I needed to meet with a new client in Baltimore, I researched hotels in Charm City where I could stay while taking care of biz.

Given my affinity for hip boutique hotels, I checked out two popular properties:  Hotel Indigo and Hotel Monaco.

 

Hotel Indigo had sharp rooms, but the rest of the property looked kinda stiff.  And Hotel Monaco’s rooms, lobby, and overall feel - though attractive - were wound WAY too tight for me.

 

I then discovered Hotel RL Baltimore, the city’s newest lodging option that has generated exceptional user ratings (Booking.com - 8.9 out of 10 stars, Kayak - 8.6/10, Hotels.com - 4.3/5, Expedia - 4.3/5,  Travelocity - 4.3/5, TripAdvisor - 4/5).  It also turned out to be one of the most fun and unique hotels that I’ve ever experienced.

The Hotel RL brand is a new line of properties from the Red Lion Hotels Corporation.  It’s targeting tech savvy millennial guests - and while my age demo is in the upper range of Gen X, I nonetheless found Hotel RL Baltimore’s excellently executed offerings to be right in line with my business travel needs.

 

The hotel, which has ten floors and 130 rooms, is centrally located at 207 East Redwood Street in Baltimore’s busy Inner Harbor district.  It’s housed in the majestic Keyser Building, which opened its doors in 1905, and is on the list of the state's historic properties.

Hotel RL Baltimore is easily accessible by all modes of in-bound transportation:

 

  • TRAIN - Baltimore Penn Station is a ten minute cab ride from the hotel
  • CAR - valet parking is available as is hourly parking at two lots on Water Street, which runs parallel to East Redwood Street and is a thirty second walk from the hotel
  • AIR - the Shot Tower Metro Subway Station, which runs back and forth from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, is less than a 5 minute walk from the hotel

 

Notable perks that the Hotel offers to its guests include:

 

  • The free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel clocks in at a zippy 16.8 mbps.
  • Free cups o’ joe from Victrola Coffee Roasters are available in the lobby from 6:30am to 11pm.  Guests are also entitled to one complimentary specialty coffee drink on each day that they're staying at the hotel.
  • A large, immaculate, state-of-the-art fitness center with plenty of cardio and strength equipment is available for usage 24/7.
  • A groovy (and free) VM minibus shuttle is available to bring guests anywhere within a two mile radius of the hotel.

THE LOBBY

Hotel RL Baltimore’s first floor arrangement is the most innovative lobby layout that I’ve encountered in my many travel adventures.  Its bright, unpretentious, and airy communal ambiance makes it easy for guests to mingle, dine, and work (or co-work).

traveldaddyblog's RL Baltimore lobby album on Photobucket

  

Key sections of the lobby include:

 

  • A game room, which features a selection of old school board games, bean bag and lounge chairs, a 60” flat screen TV, and a large table (with device connectivity capability) for game playing, working, or meeting.
  • A bike storage area, with free two wheelers for guests to use to tour the neighborhood.
  • Lots of chic and crazy comfortable couch areas,for relaxing, meeting, or dining/imbibing.
  • The Living Stage, where local Baltimore performing artists share their stuff, and the hotel’s corporate meeting clients can offer TED-type talks or presentations.
  • The Steps, a stacked bleacher-type seating area for enjoying the Living Stage shows or cooling out.
  • Hotel RL Cafe, featuring gourmet brews from Seattle’s Victrola Coffee Roasters.

 

Colorful creations from local Baltimore artists adorns the lobby walls, and it’s all beautiful.  Check out this impressive ceiling sculpture that was constructed using recycled bicycle parts:

All of the areas that comprise the Hotel’s lobby mesh seamlessly into one another, creating an extended openness and roominess that deliver opportunities for bustling interactivity, or - if needed - privacy, focus, and solitude. 

 

I spent a bunch of hours getting work done in the lobby’s various sectors, and it was invigorating.  It represented a highly creative usage of hotel space that emitted vibe, utility, and the opportunity for productive engagement with fellow guests.

 

THE ROOM

Bright.  Spacious.  Sleek.  The pix tell it all:

traveldaddyblog's RL room album on Photobucket

Other room-related deets:

 

  • A wall mural of a turn-of-the-century Baltimore skyline is above the beds in each of the hotel’s 130 rooms.
  • The ceiling height for rooms on the second floor is 14 feet; for rooms on the other floors, the ceiling height is 12 feet.
  • You don’t realize how many big pillows you need until you sleep in a bed that has as many big pillows as you want.  Awesome.

 

MORE INFO

  • Hotel RL Baltimore offers three rooms that are available for group meetings and corporate meetings (two small rooms can each fit 15 people and have conference tables; the third is a large room that holds 100 people).
  • The hotel can host weddings, rehearsal dinners, post-wedding brunches, birthday parties, company parties/events, etc.
  • The Living Stage is available for usage by the Hotel’s corporate event/meeting clients and wedding/celebration clients.

 

THE TAKEAWAY

It’s refreshing when a brand delivers what it promises, and Hotel RL delivered exactly what I needed in my trip to Baltimore - and much more.  Its location, accommodations, and energetic atmosphere made it one of the most memorable of my many hotel stopovers.

 

If my experience at the Baltimore property is representative of what I can expect at other RL’s in markets across the U.S. (there are 80 that are planned to open over the next couple of years), I am there, baby.  Hotel RL is an innovative concept with superb execution that delivers a stylish and productive stay for business travelers.

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