My friend, David, has arrived rather unexpectedly due to a mix up in communications, but he’s now here for a week or so…
I was invited to an opening of a hotel in Baltimore that was once home to the Duchess of Windsor. Not too interesting you say? Well, this building had sat empty for more than 20 years, right in the midst of a very cultural neighbourhood. It was just waiting for the right person to come along and transform it. The building, which is full of turrets and towers, opened in 1891 as a residential hotel with 60 rooms. Wallis Warfield Simpson lived there for a while when she was a child, long before she became the Duchess of Windsor. But the years took their toll and the hotel closed. It was stripped of all of its claw-foot tubs, radiators and mantles. Water came in and peeled the paint, and trees grew from its roof.
One of the featured that remained was the hotel’s six-story spiral staircase, with its original wood handrail. It is located on the rounded turret on the right side of the building.
Now, The Hotel Brexton has been renovated and is scheduled to open in early February. It’s walking distance to art galleries, the symphony and the art college. Although the original architectural features are long gone, there are still enough remaining to make the place interesting. It’s great to see an old and beautiful building restored and reused.