The historic Admiral Fell Inn in Baltimore, Maryland is open to guests. In the midst of COVID-19, however, a stay here is a scaled back version of my wonderful experience this past November. First opened in 1900 as “The Anchorage,” an overnight respite in what was the rough and tumble Fells Point seaport, Admiral Fell Inn is now an elegant charmer. I first wrote about this inn as part of a ghost tour round-up post and have been fascinated by this hotel ever since. The ghost tours may have caught my attention first, but my stay here is calling me back.
Over the years, through expansion and several renovations, the original building has grown to an 80 room hotel. The movement from a single boarding house to a YMCA, to a vinegar bottling factory, to a B&B to the current Admiral Fell Inn of its 7 attached buildings makes for a fascinating history.
The current inn pays homage to its substantial past. An anchor motif, nautical and seaport themed paintings and 18th century style furnishings hearken back to earlier times. It’s a perfect accompaniment to the upscale Fell’s Point district. The National Historic District of original cobblestone streets and brick row houses topped with gable roofs and dormers bustles with eateries, bars and boutique shops. Within the mix are former warehouses repurposed into mix-use buildings, the seaport waterfront and a market square.
During my stay, I browsed the Fells Point Farmer’s Market at Broadway Square across from the hotel before heading out into the rest of my day. The market is held from 7:30 to 12:30 each Saturday from May to the middle of December. This year’s start date is May 2nd.
At night, I headed to the Tavern at the Admiral, the tiny, packed bar on the ground floor. Known for its signature cocktails with names like Fort McHenry, the bar has attracted famous guests. Blake Shelton, Robin Wright, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Metallica are among those who enjoyed a libation. I didn’t notice anyone famous, but I had a fine time enjoying a glass of wine and watching the bartender chat with guests while doing his mixology magic. Visually, the tavern is worth a visit for its polished wood bar, exposed brick, period lighting and cozy atmosphere. I miraculously found a seat.
The tavern is included on the Admiral Fell Inn ghost tours that take place Wednesdays-Saturdays. The historian lead tours and reception with a drink are an included amenity for hotel guests. Unfortunately, due to my schedule, I missed the tour. I also missed out on the tour of the Admiral’s Observation Deck at the top of the hotel. Both tours are a reason to head back.
Another reason for a repeat visit are the guest rooms. My room, named for General John Stricker who joined the Revolutionary War at age 18, later founding Maryland’s National Guard and then became a state senator, was a comfortable mix of period furniture and modern touches. Persian area rugs, wing back chairs, table lamps and a large framed mirror added a homey touch to this airy room. I also loved the period pedestal sink in the bathroom. Each guest room from the king bed room that I had to the single double bed room to the suites are uniquely appointed. Upscale versions include whirlpool tubs, a balcony and a fireplace.
My view was of the waterfront and Thames Street, the street Edgar Allan Poe frequented when he headed to the Horse You Came In On Saloon, the last place he was seen before he passed away.
Although I didn’t partake of the ghost tour amenities or use of the athletic facilities, I did use the area shuttle that generally goes within a 3 mile radius and had the morning coffee. For breakfast, you can go elsewhere or take in the European style continental breakfast 7 days a week at the inn’s Stone Room or the Saturday and Sunday brunch at Duck Duck Goose. Duck Duck Goose serves up contemporary French cuisine for dinner as well as drinks and appetizers.
The Admiral Fell Inn is a Choice Hotels property. Room rates range from $104 to $204 on at the hotel’s website. Check out Hotels.com or any other hotel discount website for deals. This is a pet-friendly establishment for a $50 refundable deposit. Valet service is available.
I parked nearby in a garage. Be aware of the $9.95 amenities fee. My shuttle to the Baltimore convention center (out of the 3 mile range) was well worth that cost. Plus, I had such a great time talking with the staff and other guests, so that is money well spent.
If you do go here right now during this COVID-19 crisis, according to the receptionist that I talked to over the phone, the neighborhood 7-11 is open as well as Brick Oven Pizza for take-out.
Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein