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Baltimore’s Sagamore Pendry Hotel: Revitalizing a Bridge Over Troubled Water

baltimore sagamore

Kurt Jacobson

Though the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore just opened in April 2017, it looks like it is set to claim the top spot in Baltimore lodging. Walking through this masterpiece, it’s hard to tell the building formerly known as the Recreation Pier was in trouble and crumbling into the harbor.

Kevin Plank has made huge waves in the city with his company, Under Armour. Not satisfied with that success, Mr. Plank has gone on to open the Sagamore Pendry Hotel. If there is a single person changing the fortune of Baltimore, Mr. Plank is the one. Turning the old dilapidated Recreation Pier into the Sagamore Pendry is the crown jewel of his efforts.

baltimore sagamore
Kurt Jacobson

As you pull up to the front of the Pendry, gaze upon the Beaus Arts façade from 1914. Through the wall of glass is the Pendry’s restaurant, the Rec Pier Chop House. Enter a long hallway towards the reception desk, taking note of the infinity blue light tunnel on your left. When you reach the reception area, staff will warmly greet you and place a fruity beverage in your hand. You are then given a verbal code to add a free shot of Sagamore Spirits whiskey to your drink. Note they use a colorful paper straw instead of the usual plastic. How retro and ecologically conscious is that?

baltimore sagamore
Kurt Jacobson

All of the 128 rooms and suites have either a courtyard or harbor view. Luxury bedding and marble counter tops in the bathrooms are just a couple of the high-end touches for your enjoyment. Step up to a Superior Harbor Suite if you want nearly twice the space of the average guest room. This one bedroom suite has its own deck looking out on the harbor. The colorful carpet design has been modeled after the look of a large ship’s hull, with rust and paint creating a unique colorful pattern. 

baltimore sagamore
Kurt Jacobson

The center of the renovated pier is open and features gardens and a large horse sculpture in the middle. As you walk through the pier, notice the massive overhead steel beams; these are from the original Rec Pier and have been given a new life. Several discreet sitting areas line the pier’s pathway to the exercise room, infinity pool, and poolside bar. At the pool area, take in the sweeping 180 degree views of the harbor and iconic Domino Sugar refinery. The pool is only open to hotel guests but the poolside bar is open to the public.

Other highlights of the Pendry would be the displayed cannon, which was discovered when the pier was being renovated. Three of the centuries-old battle weapons were found in the waters under the pier and brought up to use as decoration. Two are found at the entrance to the pool area, and the other is under glass in The Cannon Room. In the Cannon Room, hotel guests and visitors enjoy a trendy whiskey bar where sampling the Sagamore Spirit Rye is a must. 

baltimore sagamore
Kurt Jacobson

After a pre-dinner drink in the Cannon Room, your next stop should be the Rec Pier Chop House. This steak house with an Italian themed menu is a serious contender for the best restaurant in Baltimore if early sentiment continues. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (plus brunch on the weekend), the menus will please the pickiest palates. Ask for a table close to the front windows that look out on Thames Street, one of Baltimore’s most colorful historic streets.

Start your dinner with a classic table side Caesar salad, then perhaps salumi or formaggi menus. Nine antipasti items are available, with the creamy burrata being one of the standouts. The 28-day dry-aged steaks are the star of the menu, though rave reviews have been coming in about the bone-in filet and the boneless rib eye steaks as well. For the ultimate steak to share, choose either the 44 ounce Porterhouse or the Tomahawk Chop for two. Unlike some steak houses that throw the steaks to an insane amount of flame and heat, these steaks are cooked perfectly.

baltimore sagamore
Kurt Jacobson

The desserts are also spoken of highly. The night my wife and I dined at the Rec Pier Chop House, our waiter Ray wisely recommended the Neopolitan sundae. It was probably the best dessert this retired chef has had all year! This mix of chocolate, strawberry, and pistachio gelato was decadently dressed with Amarena cherry sauce, pistachio cream, white chocolate Marcona crumble, and drizzled with a chocolate sauce that formed an encasement of dessert perfection. It was face-down, licking-the-plate good. If you can’t get reservations to the Rec Pier Chop House, consider eating at the bar where customers are seated on a first-come basis and get the same great food and drink. Speaking of beverages, the wine list is graced with several excellent wines by the glass plus dozens of high-end bottles to choose from.

baltimore sagamore
Kurt Jacobson

There’s also a comfortable lounge next to the restaurant with a special “bar menu” offering lighter fare. Upstairs from the restaurant is the Sagamore Ballroom. This classic meeting space features 35 foot high ceilings letting in copious amounts of natural light for daytime functions. Fully renovated and decorated in its 1914 style befitting the beautiful building it is, this ballroom would be a great place for a wedding or business meeting.

Even if your Baltimore plans don’t call for a stay at this special hotel be sure and drop by for a meal or a drink. The old Rec Pier has been given a new life and is worth a visit.

Kurt Jacobson

Kurt Jacobson is a semi-retired trained chef living in Baltimore who travels the world searching for great food, wine and adventure. As a semi-retired chef with over twenty years experience he is qualified to contribute on the culinary side. One of the restaurants he cooked for was Le Canyon a five diamond French restaurant in Durango, Colorado. As a full-time travel writer Kurt has been published...(Read More)

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