The Best Hotel Breakfast You Can't Have is in Baltimore
At Charm City's exclusive Ivy Hotel, the lavish morning meal—included in the rate—is for guests only.
A comfortable banquette facing out to a walled garden in a restaurant that is cozy, secluded, but somehow also bathed in natural light—it's the perfect setting for any breakfast, at any time. The feel is more European country house than you'd expect, considering the location; the food as luxurious as you'd find at any hotel of the genre. Baskets of pastry, plates of house smoked salmon, porridge with ginger and apple jam, bruleed grapefruit, fruit smoothies, yogurts with local honey—all yours at the asking. Being that you're not actually in the English countryside, there's so much more to try, too—lemon souffle pancakes, brioche french toast, house made sausages, sides of Anson Mills grits, Benton's bacon and country ham, even a Kobe beef steak and eggs.
Want it? Never mind. You can't have it.
By night, the restaurant where breakfast is served, Magdalena, is one of Baltimore's better choices for a civilized drink and dinner, overseen by Chef Mark Levy—mornings, however, just like the rest of the common areas at this 18-room hotel, the space belongs strictly to guests, who descend from their quarters whenever they feel like waking up—okay, not quite—accessing the restaurant through an unmarked, interior doorway.
The Ivy is one in a growing number of new arrivals that's changing the way travelers experience Baltimore, long popular as a regional tourist destination but in recent years becoming a hotspot for more creative food, sophisticated nightlife and some of the most striking new hotels to open in the Northeast, of late—The Ivy, of course, among them.
The breakfast isn't the only perk included in the nightly rate, which can easily run you over $600 per night—the additional amenities are just as, if not more impressive, beginning with the number of private common areas that could easily serve a hotel three or four times the size.
Built out of a series of historic buildings and completed by a handsome new extension (including a small, full-service spa) that blends beautifully into the Mount Vernon neighborhood, the hotel faces in, rather than out, creating a spacious interior courtyard and gardens. Room after beautifully appointed room leaves guests with the feel of having gained access to a private mansion, rather than a typical hotel; private car service takes you all over town, as requested, drinks are served as needed, there's afternoon tea, well-stocked in-room bars and an expertly-trained house staff on hand, whenever you require their assistance.
Since its debut in 2015, the hotel has pretty much been (as one might imagine) a smash hit—within its first year, The Ivy joined the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection—the French organization includes some of the world's most unique hotels and restaurants.