Forget everything you think you know about Baltimore from what you’ve seen on this year’s news. That’s not the Baltimore I know or the one you’ll see when you visit. Just an hour from downtown Washington, D.C., Baltimore (aka Charm City) is a destination that has so much to offer to baseball fanatics, history lovers, families looking for a trip that has something to offer kids of all ages, or those looking for a place to stop during travels along the I-95 corridor. It’s a city that I first got to know as my husband and I were dating and is one of our favorite family day trips in any season.
Last week Emily and I had the opportunity to enjoy a two night girls’ getaway to Baltimore courtesy of Brookshire Suites. And one of the best parts? The pet friendly hotel welcomed us and Oliver, our 7 year old Yellow Labrador, for his very first hotel stay and it’s a place where you can give back thanks to choosing the property during your time in Charm City. Brookshire Suites has partnered with incredible local organizations, artists, wineries, and popular sights to showcase the best the city has to offer. Staying at a fabulous hotel who makes it their mission to give back locally is icing on the cake when it comes to choosing where to stay.
Driving into Baltimore and past the Inner Harbor, the vertical letters on Brookshire Suites brick façade at the corner of East Lombard and Calvert Streets made the property easy to find.
As I pulled into the carport located off of Calvert Street, the vibrant colors of the intentional graffiti (by Michael Owen, creator of the Baltimore Love Project) decorating the walls were eye catching even though I only had a quick second to admire them as Oliver bounded out of the car, ready to explore the lobby with Emily.
In just three steps I was out of my car and into the lobby, assisted by the hotel’s engineer who greeted me with a smile as he held open the door for me, took my bags even though I insisted I could handle them, and guided me through the hip lobby to the front desk.
Lobby and Staff Welcome Guests with a Warm Urban Vibe
The corner lobby is an urban playground that has huge glass windows on both sides that let in lots of natural light and give the space a bright, open urban playground feel. Oversized black and white portraits of Adam Duritz from The Counting Crows and Frank Zappa (both were born in Baltimore) hang on chain link fence under sculptural geometrical wood grain and bright yellow light fixtures and more fabulous graffiti by Owen.
The vibrant space is also a calming oasis in the bustling city especially when you meet Yolanda, a woman who you know will take good care of you the second you lay eyes on her. Her warm and welcoming smile from behind the front desk put me at ease (despite the fact that I knew our overly excited dog was shedding all over the slate gray floor) and she sent me on my way, armed with room keys and just enough information about the hotel to start our stay. (One of my pet peeves about hotels is when the well-intentioned front desk staff keeps me just a tad too long talking about the property when I’m dying to get to my room after a day of travel but this wasn’t the case when I checked in at Brookshire Suites!)
Spacious Suites at Brookshire Suites
Keys in one hand, bag in the other with Emily holding on to Oliver’s leash for his very first elevator ride, we made our way up to the 11th floor. We opened the door to find an incredibly spacious Corner Suite as our home for the next two nights. Decorated in black, white, and shades of gray with pops of color as accents, our 500 square foot room featured a Queen bed and sleeper sofa with separate living and sleeping areas. The open closet had more than enough room for the single carry-on worth of clothes that Emily and I had brought and I loved the kitchen space with an extra sink, fridge, microwave, and coffee maker.
We opened the chevron print shades and took in the view. From our room, we had a perfect view of the brick walkway that stretched from the corner of the Inner Harbor to the Maryland Science Center in the distance.
Our sleeping area featured a Queen size bed, night stands with reading lamps on both sides (don’t you hate when there’s just one night stand on one side!), a television, and a floor to ceiling mirror that scared Oliver when he first saw his reflection in it! From the windows in the bedroom, I could see the fenced in grassy dog park just across Calvert Street that Yolanda mentioned was for Oliver. Our suite was enormous for just the two of us but still would have provided plenty of room for our family of 4 plus our large dog!
The bathroom as a bit small as hotel bathrooms go but the portrait of Mama Cass from the Mamas and the Papas who was also born in Baltimore that gave the room a very local feel.
Nourish Mind, Body, and Soul with Brookshire Suites Facilities
After settling in and getting our dog situated, we left Oliver in our room to nap and explored the hotel including the fitness facilities, C floor where the included daily breakfast buffet is offered (hooray for hot items like eggs, oatmeal, sausage and make your own waffles in addition to fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, juice, and coffee), and lobby RedBAR. Between 5-7 pm, local beer and glasses of Maryland wines such as Knob Hill start at $6 and bottles can be purchased for $20 and up.
The lobby space is perfect for enjoying a drink either at the bar stools facing the wine refrigerators, relaxing on the T shaped couches, or at the long wooden table while playing any of the provided board games that are always out.
How a Stay at Brookshire Suites Benefits Baltimore
I love how Brookshire Suites incorporates so much of Maryland in the property from Michael Owen’s graffiti, Baltimore-born musicians, the beer and wine selection at RedBAR but also through hotel packages that benefit local charities. During our stay at Brookshire Suites, Emily and I had the opportunity to visit Art with a Heart, Brookshire Suites’ charitable partner who is the beneficiary of the Give Back Baltimore package.
For each Give Back Baltimore package purchased, Brookshire Suites gives a portion of the proceeds to Art with a Heart, a local nonprofit that provides visual art classes to abused, neglected, and abandoned children, homeless individuals, battered women and their kids, mentally and physically disabled adults, low income senior citizens, students of all ages through school programs, and children receiving long term health care. Emily and I were so inspired by our visit with Founder and Executive Director, Randi Pupkin, whose mission is to provide purpose to individuals in need through her well organized art programs.
On the day we visited, Art with a Heart’s headquarters in the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden was filled with teens hard at work. A productive buzz filled the air as they painted wooden chairs in the covered outdoor work space, cooperated to assemble wooden tables to become part of table sets that will be painted and sold through the company store, Heartwares, and perfected their sketches of Dr. Seuss characters as they sat around a huge table.
Friendly, engaged, and proud of their work, each teen had a story: one had been homeless since the age of 6, another was raised by drug dealers. Each kid had a troubled past that they escaped thanks to Randi’s work through Art with a Heart. I have so much to share about our visit to this inspiring organization in a future post but the best way to showcase up what Founder and Executive Director, Randi Pupkin, does through this video.
The Give Back Baltimore package benefitting Art with a Heart includes overnight accommodations, daily breakfast buffet, and two VIP Baltimore water taxi tickets to explore the city via the water taxi that leaves from the Inner Harbor to points of interest like Fells Point, Fort McHenry, National Aquarium, and more. A full list of water taxi stops can be found here.
Brookshire Suites also offers the Baltimore Love Package, a package inspired by graffiti artist, Michael Owen’s Baltimore Love Project that expresses passion by connecting people and communities across Baltimore City through love themed murals. A few years ago, local artist Michael Owen developed a design of four hands spelling out the word LOVE. Owen’s work can be seen throughout Brookshire Suites who commissioned the artist to create a sense of his signature street art throughout different elements of the hotel.
The Baltimore Love Package celebrates Owen’s work and serves as the perfect weekend getaway for couples and includes:
- A Baltimore Love Project Map to tour Owen’s famous pieces
- Bottle of Local Maryland Wine Upon Check In
- Welcome Card signed by the Brookshire Team
- Complimentary Suite Upgrade, subject to availability at time of check-in
- 2:00 Late Check-out
- $9.95 Destination Fee Waived
Regardless of how long you stay at Brookshire Suites, you’ll feel right at home thanks to the friendly staff that goes out of their way to ensure your stay in Baltimore is fabulous while enjoying convenient access to everything Baltimore has to offer.
While we were guests of Brookshire Suites and Modus Hotels during our two night stay, all opinions are my own and influenced only by Emily and Oliver who made himself quite at home during our time in Baltimore.