This The Ivy Hotel Review is going to be a feast for the eyes. I’ll cover the experience, then just let you ogle over the stunning photos.
The Ivy Hotel invited me in to experience the property last month, but before I ever set foot in the historic mansion, I had a feeling it was something special. I included them in a getaway roundup I did for District Fray, and was counting down the days until my stay.
Located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, The Ivy Hotel is set amongst stately townhomes in an area known for its dining. But here’s what I learned about The Ivy Hotel: you don’t need to leave. It’s the perfect staycation property for those in the mid-Atlantic, where you can go and spend a luxurious night away without really needing to leave the hotel (we didn’t!).
It’s also a Relais & Châteaux property, so you know it’s going to be top notch.
History of The Ivy Hotel
The mansion that is now The Ivy Hotel was built in 1889 by John Gilman, a name you’ll recognize if you’ve ever been to Baltimore. At the corner of Biddle and North Calvert Streets, it was meant to be a grand social statement, but Gilman died before the project was completed. His wife resided there before selling it to the Painters, a couple who made the most of their new home, hosting balls, parties, and well-attended events in its opulent rooms.
After the Painters, the home was sold to another wealthy, albeit quieter, family, before eventually being gifted to the Baltimore Parks and Recreation Department, who, thankfully covered up its intricate wood floors with carpet and didn’t touch the detailed molding or fireplaces. In the 1980s, the Mayor led the home into a new chapter that would foreshadow its current iteration, hosting visiting dignitaries.
The current owners, philanthropists Eddie and Sylvia Brown, bought the property in 2010 and launched into extensive renovations and a project that resulted in an eclectic design that feels collected, bold, and vintage-inspired — yet it can’t be tied to any one era. They added on during the renovation to create a spa and restaurant, yet they maintained all of the original details in the home, which remained in pristine condition.
The Ivy Hotel Review
Driving up to The Ivy Hotel, it’s apparent that it’s a gorgeous mansion, but you have no idea what’s waiting inside. Seriously, just scroll through these images. The interior is stunning. There’s so much going on, it’s all so unexpected, and you could spend days looking at the details. It doesn’t feel like a hotel, but rather a friend’s house who’s happened to spend the past several decades gallivanting around the world, shipping back their treasures.
After check-in and a glass of champagne, you’re escorted to tea. Everything is included in your stay (besides dinner), and you’ll enjoy relaxing with the tea of your choice and an assortment of savory tea sandwiches and sweet pastries. With all of the charming sitting areas throughout the main rooms, there are so many places to sit and take it all in, and we lingered here so long we barely made it to our room before dinner.
When we got to our room, I wished we’d made an effort to get up there earlier rather than getting lost in the decor downstairs. We stayed in Room Twelve, which has a grand canopy bed and a fireplace that had one of the most interesting glass surrounds I’ve ever seen. The room was stunning, and I was almost reluctant to leave for dinner rather than simply relax in there, especially since they stock your bar, which is included.
But, we had a reservation at their restaurant, Magdalena. And I’m certainly glad we went. Each dish was indulgent in the best way, the cocktails were scrumptious, and we got the steak to share, which I cannot recommend enough. If we were going to splurge, we were going all in. Check out these images on my Instagram highlight — they weren’t with my camera so I won’t share here, but they’ll give you an idea!
After dinner, we retired to one of the main rooms after grabbing cocktails from the self-service cocktail bar, which has everything you need to make any cocktail you can dream of. It’s such a nice touch to be able to grab a drink whenever you want, and Magdalena also has a menu you can order from the hotel if you’d rather just hang out and enjoy the mansion.
The next morning, we woke up for an early breakfast back at Magdalena, where I got the whitefish, and I would 100% recommend it. Breakfast was lovely, with sunlight streaming in through the windows, giving it a completely different vibe than the night before.
I had to scurry out of breakfast to get to my spa appointment (rough life, right?), which is hidden away upstairs at the hotel. You’d never know when you’re in this maximalist space that just down one hallway is a serene, light-soaked oasis. I had a facial and a massage, and it’s the most relaxed I’ve been in ages.
Final Verdict: The Ivy Hotel Review
Seriously, this is back to me saying, you book a stay here and never need to leave. It is the perfect 24-hour spot (or a full weekend!), when you feel like splurging on a truly luxurious stay where everything is taken care of, and all you need to do is show up. Everyone I’ve talked to who’s been has said the same, and at least one friend already booked after I raved about it. Do yourself a favor and do the same.