Charmed in Charm City: A Weekend Respite in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
Less than three hours from New York City, two from Philadelphia, and one from Washington, DC, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor offers an inviting respite with urban appeal. With museums and attractions for family fun, restaurants that rival those in nearby cities, and a spa that truly melts your troubles away – it’s no wonder this fantastic destination is known as “Charm City.” You’ll just need a weekend to be charmed yourself in Baltimore!
Where to Stay
On the edge of Harbor East, overlooking the docked ships, is the elegant glass tower of the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. The luxurious hotel is perfectly located near great shopping, fantastic eats, and if you’re looking for a drink after dinner, Fell’s Point, Little Italy, and Power Plant Live are just a short stroll away. The moment you walk into the beautiful lobby toward the friendly faces of the concierge, you’ll immediately feel a sense of comfort and know that you’ll be well taken care of during your stay. With 256 rooms and suites with either full or partial waterfront and city views, there’s truly not a bad room in the house! The comfortable rooms are designed with earth tones and feature sink-into-me large beds with down duvets and pillows. The marble bathrooms are equipped with walk-in showers, L’Occitane amenities, deep soaking tubs, and even an integrated television in the mirror so you can unwind in the tub or get ready for dinner, while catching up on the news of the day (though personally, I watched Twilight). Weather permitting, you can even soak in the sights from the hotel’s 121-foot heated infinity edge outdoor pool!
Where to Spa
After you’ve checked in and gotten settled in your room, head to the 10,200 square-foot spa to relax using the impressive amenities. Sip on a relaxing herbal tea in the Tea Lounge, allow the aromatherapy-infused steam in the Aroma Steam Room to detox your skin, body, and mind, relieve aches and pains in the Finnish Rock Sauna, revitalize your body with the Ice Fountain, and try out the Lifestyle Shower with its body jets, mist, and tropical rain. After taking in the hot and cold therapies enjoy a treatment from the extensive spa menu in one of the 11 treatment rooms.
While there, I experienced energy work for the first time during a Reiki session (50-minutes; $105 +gratuity). This ancient Japanese healing therapy helps to balance your mind and body. You’ll lie face up on the comfortable massage table with your robe on and close your eyes as your therapist moves her hands, barely touching your body, from your temples to your toes. I sometimes saw colors, a bright white at one point, and occasionally felt hot and cold. I did my best to turn off my thoughts and to be open to the new experience. After the treatment my therapist told me what she saw during the session, which of my chakras seemed off balance, and what I could do to improve. I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and happiness after the treatment and headed to my next experience, the Signature HydraFacial (50-minutes; $225 +gratuity). The HydraFacial helps to reduce the signs of aging, blemishes, and hyperpigmentation using a special machine that will exfoliate, deep cleanse, hydrate, and balance your skin. The device feels like a small vacuum that sucks away impurities while infusing the antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid into your skin. Thanks to consistent lymphatic drainage the skin is completely detoxified and lifted after the treatment.
Where to Snack
After you are completely relaxed and radieant head down to the hotel’s restaurant Wit & Wisdom, a Tavern by Michael Mina for a meal you aren’t soon to forget. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant offers a Baltimore twist on modern American comfort food created in its open kitchen with locally-sourced ingredients. For a special night opt for the Taste of Maryland tasting menu created by Executive Chef Zack Mills with the sommelier select pairing ($139 a person + gratuity). The menu changes constantly based on seasonal availability.
The tasting began with a JM Clayton Crab Cocktail, a crab salad marinated with a vinaigrette using Flying Dog’s Bloodline Orange Ale, resting on fresh avocado. Up next was the Pumpkin Cavatelli, with bacon lardons, leeks, chili threads, and a poached egg cooked sous-vide style, which you crack and mix up into the pasta – this was absolutely the best thing I’ve ever eaten and it’s on the main menu ($13) if a tasting menu isn’t your cup of tea! The Atlantic Golden Tilefish was next with braised lentils, squid ink and potato croquettes with romesco sauce and a Veal Osso Bucco with a saffron risotto that just fell off the bone. A selection of Murray’s specialty cheese arrives prior to dessert with a seasonal pear marmalade, candied cashews, and raisin nut bread – this course was paired with a surprisingly tasty marsala wine that I now plan to pair with all of my wine and cheese nights! Dessert was the Black Forest with a confit griotte in a chocolate crumble and a reduce milk ice cream and a chocolate mousse made at the table, making for the perfect ending to a dream-worthy meal.
Where to Sweat
With a 24-hour Fitness Center on premises, get your workout on at the Four Seasons. Enjoy harbor views as you break a sweat on the cardio equipment or book time with a personal trainer. You can also choose to exercise the old fashioned way, by lacing up and jogging around the harbor!
What to See
Exhibits at The National Aquarium, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and of Industry, games at Camden Yards, or live shows at Rams Head Live – there are limited options for ways to spend your time while in Baltimore!
Packing tips: Bring your walking shoes because this city is best seen on foot and pack your dancing shoes as well because the nightlife here is vibrant – check out Power Plant Live and have your pick of fun bars and and entertainment – my pick? Howl at the Moon the dueling piano bar!