Historical Sailor's Boarding House with Modern Flair
A block from the quay, a red-brick hotel stands four-stories tall between the cobblestone surface of Shakespeare and Thames streets. Traditional pubs and a nearby brass-works further contribute to the feeling that one has just stepped into 19th-century London, but this is present-day Baltimore, steps away from an inlet jutting off the Chesapeake Bay. The Admiral Fell Inn itself has a storied history dating back as far as the 1770s, when some pieces of its multibuilding complex also served as a ship's chandlery, a theater, and a seamen's YMCA. European elements continue to pervade the entirety of the property; inside the lobby, broad wood slats stretch out before a crackling fire surrounded by regal high-backed chairs and low sprawling couches.
Each of the uniquely decorated standard rooms exhibit a more American style, evoking coastal New England towns with white walls, understated bedding, and cherry-wood accents. The view from each room varies to reveal unique aspects of the surrounding area, including the historic Fell's Point square, an inner courtyard, and tugboats chugging along in the harbor. Beyond the historical aesthetic, modern amenities such as complimentary wireless Internet and endless Slinky runways abound.
Within the hotel, the American Meli Patisserie & Bistro hosts a dining room and bar for late-night drinks and desserts until 2 a.m. Lauded in Baltimore magazine's Best Restaurants 2011, Meli—which means "honey" in Italian—infuses each of its menu items with the sweet nectar, whether it be in one of the lip-smacking cocktails or starters such as the potato gnocchi with roasted butternut squash, broccolini, and mushrooms in a honey-sage butter. If its not obvious from the menu itself, the significance of the sweet syrup can be seen on the ceiling, which is modeled after the classic tessellation of a beehive.
Baltimore: Historic Waterfront with Urbane Pub Scene
Shipbuilding and fishing largely shaped the village of Fells Point, dating back to its roots when William Fell established the wharf in 1726. Although fabled spots can be encountered on the many neighborhood walking tours or even by embarking on a private stroll around the harbor, the village also has plenty to offer laid-back revelers in the neighborhood's eclectic shops and cozy taverns.
The harbor began to transform in the 1970s from a burgeoning seaport into Baltimore's cultural center with a bevy of galleries, shops, street performers, and harbor cruises, from which skyline views afford a glimpse of the city's plentiful churches and monuments. Blocks away from Baltimore's Inner Harbor, bright lights emanate from the Power Plant Live compound, which sports popular lounges and piano bars. Of course, fresh seafood from the Chesapeake Bay is always on hand at a variety of upscale and quick-eats restaurants, or by simply snatching a striped bass right out of a passing baby's hands.