Friday, August 31, 2012

Hotel Review-Residence Inn Baltimore Inner Harbor

I had family members make a last-minute visit to Baltimore last weekend.  I always love their company, but after a few mouse clicks, I quickly realized their timing couldn't have been worse (for reasons I will explain below).

It seemed like there were no affordable hotels in the entire city.  I am usually apprehensive to attempt booking rooms in the Inner Harbor during a summer weekend.  The massive amount of tourists drive the hotel prices to rather unreasonable heights.  When I was done with my preliminary scan, my worst fears were confirmed.  The major hotel chains were all in the $270 and up price range.  For a three night stay, this just wouldn't do.

I have a special corporate code at the Hilton Baltimore Convention Center (one of my family's favorite hotels).  This is our default spot due to my Hilton Gold Elite Status.  My family gets free breakfast and an upgraded room, so it's hard to beat.  Unfortunately, all the rooms under the code were sold out!

Quickly scrambling, I was able to secure a pre-paid rate at the Marriott Residence Inn Baltimore Inner Harbor for about $150/night.  Normally I detest prepaid rates: they are usually only within a few dollars of the fully-cancellable rate, and I enjoy the flexibility if ever needed.  However, with my family's non-refundable flight already confirmed and the possibility of getting one step closer to Marriott Silver Elite status, this was a no-brainer.

Marriott Residence Inn Inner Harbor Exterior
The hotel is located on the usually bustling Light Street.  However, due to a water main break last month, the street was barricaded and nearly deserted.  This lent an almost eerie feel to exterior, but it wasn't anything to worry about.

Once inside, check-in went smoothly.  We were only given a room on the 4th floor.  This is usually a point where you have to speak up and ask if there is an upgrade or anything on a higher floor available.  However, with traffic shut-down due to the water mane issue, it was a moot point.  All was very quiet each night.

Lobby Meeting Area
Check In Area

The room itself was very large, especially for the solid rate we got.  Normally business hotel rooms in the heart of the Inner Harbor are a bit cramped for my tastes.  However, this room featured a kitchen, separate living room with work station, and large bedroom/bathroom.

Kitchen With Microwave and Huge Fridge
The kitchen was handy, and the refrigerator was absolutely massive.  The workstation area was key, too.  At Residence Inns, internet is always complimentary.  While my family members showered and prepped for our touristy activities, I was able to get some work done.  The connection speed was very fast, so I had no complaints.

Living Room/Work Area
The sleeping area had two good nightstands and another flat screen television.  I really liked the paintings of Baltimore landmarks on the wall.  Normally you see generic nature scenes, so this was a nice touch to emphasize the downtown location.  Off the bedroom was the wash area and separate toilet/shower room.  This is always helpful, especially when more than two people are sharing the room.

Sleeping Area-Notice the Domino Sugar Factor Painting
We had no issues with water pressure, and the shower room was clean....a very important detail that should not be overlooked!

Washroom Area-Nice Finishes for a Residence Inn
Decently Clean Shower Room
Breakfast was served in the downstairs lounge each morning and was complimentary to all guests.  I was not able to partake, but my family members said that the spread was decent with fruit, cereals, eggs, and sausage.  One family member described the sausage as "iffy," so word of warning if you are banking on filling up on breakfast during your trip to Baltimore.

Overall, this was the perfect choice for my family's long weekend visit.  They had plenty of space to spread out and unwind.  Free breakfast helped save everyone money, and the rooms were clean and comfortable.  There isn't much more you can ask for $150/night on a busy summer weekend in Baltimore.  If the water mane break had been fixed, I doubt we would have secured such a great rate.

-Charm City Traveler


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