Many hotels today promote staying in the neighborhood to be a part of the community where you’re traveling. Much of the appeal comes from the consumer trend for everything “local.” But the truth is, not a lot of hotels can pull this off, let alone pull it off authentically. Hotel RL Baltimore is one of those rare hotels that can. A recent stay proved what a gem in the city this hotel is and why staying in the neighborhood has many advantages.
Staying like a local when you travel allows you to really dive into your destination. It means knowing the neighborhood and you can’t do that everywhere. This is when having staff at the hotel who are neighborhood experts is a huge plus. I am not talking about a concierge who can get you what you “need,” but people who know the neighborhood like they live there.
We’re talking a staff who gets out and walks the neighborhood, meets the locals, and are true neighbors. Staying like a local allows you to find hidden gems to see, restaurants only the locals know about, and allows you to explore areas off the beaten path while being in middle of it all. I found the Hotel RL Baltimore was a true neighborhood hotel. Let me tell you why.
How Hotel RL is Like Living Local in Baltimore
The Living Stage
Located right in the lobby, the Living Stage is designed to bring the neighborhood into the hotel and that it does. The Living Stage brings in live local radio and TV talk shows, local chefs, and music performers. Each show is also live-streamed into your room if you prefer not to leave – but there is something special about being in the lobby live.
Dedicated to the Living Stage in all Hotel RL properties, Hotel RL believes, “The Living Stage presents new ideas through the lens of awareness, innovation, and creativity.” What I love about the Living Stage is that it really feels like you are being entertained in your own family room with friends.
The local food and drink menu
Hotel RL Baltimore has a menu that screams local. On the night we arrived, it was a bit late and we didn’t feel like a full dinner, so we ordered the Charcuterie Board and the RL Mini Sliders’ Crabby Patties. The Charcuterie Board was loaded with wonderful meats and cheeses as well as dried fruit and Marconi almonds. The Crabby Patties felt like a true Baltimore classic, full of real crab meat and a hint of the local spices.
The second night, we decided to “stay home” and eat in as well. I enjoyed the clam chowder. When I asked the Chef what was in it, she replied, “Clams, cream, and love.” For my meal, I had the Hotel RL’s CEOs Sloppy Joe, served on a perfect ciabatta roll.
The cocktail menu serves up local beers and cocktails, such as the Harbor Mule and Baltimore Sling. My favorite was the Harbor Spritz.
Community involvement – Project Wake Up Call
The Hotel RL Baltimore has partnered with Healthcare for the Homeless in Baltimore to have a direct impact on the community, and guests can participate, too. It’s so easy! Donate $100 to Healthcare for the Homeless through Hotel RL and you will get a complementary night when you want it. The program is a passion of the Hotel RL’s CEO. He describes it as a way to stop and care about the city you are in. Hotel RL is about embracing the community, not just being a hotel in the city. What I love most is that 100% of your donation goes right to the Project Wake Up Call partner.
Take a bike for a ride
Parked right in the lobby, Hotel RL has beach cruisers ready for you to take for a spin for free. The bikes are designed for anyone to ride and include a helmet and lock to take with you. The Baltimore Inner Harbor is very doable by bike and taking the bike for a spin is a great way to get a lay of the land.
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The Hotel RL Baltimore
The Hotel RL lobby is truly like being home. It is full of comfortable places to sit, a community room full of games, and a big table to gather at. It’s a space you just want to spend time in. It’s definitely not one of those lobbys that feels stuffy and you just pass through.
The other feature that keeps guests in the lobby is the Hotel RL Cafe. The hotel has partnered with Seattle’s Victoria Coffee Roasters to bring the delicious fair trade coffee to each lobby. The staff is specially trained to grind and make each cup.
The rooms are comfortable and very well-appointed. Each room has beautiful art work that features parts of the city. The rooms are perfect for recharging and enjoying some quiet time. The hotel has 130 rooms, and you can combine rooms to sleep up to 7 people. You can connect rooms and each room has a hidden bed to pull down as well.
I am a huge product person and Hotel RL delivers with 600 thread-count sheets and huge comfy bath sheets to use. The bath products are from Cascade Soapery, which features hemp and lemon shampoo and conditioner and a beautiful lavender and tea charcoal bath soap.
Hotel RL likes to think of itself as a hotel for professional nomads or pro-mads as they are called. As a pro-mad, I would agree, but it is truly a hotel priced for most budgets. Room rates range from $99 with breakfast in January and February, but can go as high as $459 during some weeks. Plan a weekend getaway as the rates are lower and join the Hello Fresh program for special deals, as well.
Things to do
The Hotel RL Baltimore is located in the Inner Harbor area, home to America’s oldest water taxi service. It is close to a lot of venues including:
- The National Aquarium
- Port Discovery Children’s Musuem
- Camden Yards and Oriole Park where you can watch a baseball game
- The VisionaryArt Museum
- Baltimore Farmers’ Market and Bazaar
- HarborPlace for upscale shopping
- Fort McHenry, the site that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner
Hotel RL, as part of the Red Lion Hotels chain, has many more new properties opening across the U.S. Hotel RL Washington DC is currently open and wrapping up a lobby renovation. Over the next several years, you will find a Hotel RL opening up in Olympia, Spokane, Salt Lake City, Houston, St. Louis, Brooklyn, and more; all with the same neighborhood models. I know I will be looking for Hotel RLs when I’m traveling!