I was reading the Guardian the other day and they were talking about a scheme called Open House London in which more than 700 private buildings are open to the public once a year. You know the kind of building… an old office building downtown with really interesting architecture, or a private house that you’ve long admired.
There’s a building like that in Baltimore. It was the headquarters of the old B&O Railroad, and it’s centrally located on a prime downtown corner. The outside has some interesting carvings surrounding a giant globe, and knowing the B&O, the inside was equally interesting. When my brother asked me for a fun hotel where he and my sister-in-law could stay this weekend, I suggested the newly-opened Hotel Monaco, part of the Kimpton Group of hotels. The building was opened in 1906, two years after a fire burned almost all of downtown Baltimore. Many of the original Tiffany stained glass windows and skylights remain today, as does the magnificent marble work. There’s an incredible double staircase leading up to the second floor where the reception area is located. It’s easier to see the detail in the ceilings from that level. The colours they’ve chosen are interesting, especially with the pale green acanthus leaf detail. Many of the original office building details remain, including the mail chute and the elevator dial. I will look forward to hearing from my brother about the rooms and their decor. I hear that you can get a goldfish to take to your room to keep you company… or for a midnight snack.