BALTIMORE (WJZ) — From new buildings to historic renovations, thousands of hotel rooms have been built in Baltimore in the past decade.
Now, as Mike Schuh reports, a world famous art collector has reopened one of Baltimore's landmark hotels.
In 1928, it was the first hotel built after the Great Baltimore Fire. It's a fortress. The elevators there have made eight million trips. It's a beautiful hotel that was showing its age.
But now, its famous owner has put it back on top.
Lord Baltimore himself looks impressed with what Mera Rubell has done. The original baccarat chandeliers remain, as do architectural details no modern hotel could afford.
But this immigrant turned Head Start teacher turned world-renowned art collector turned hotelier has added a French restaurant and hired a local pastry chef and has had every visible foot of the place renovated, including the historic ballroom.
It's a place our mayor remembers well.
"This is one of Baltimore's iconic hotels. Everyone has their Lord Baltimore memory. I remember doing the waltz and a full curtsy down to the floor in the ballroom as my parents watched," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
Old doesn't mean stuffy. Rubell hired designer Scott Sanders.
"This is a typical king room," Sanders said.
Get this, his granddad was a home builder in Ohio who asked Sanders when he was 10 years old to pick interior finishes and colors for the new homes. His choices led to work as Ralph Lauren's designer.
"In a hotel room. You want to walk in and you want to feel like you're the first person that's ever slept there," Sanders said.
The owner, Mera Rubell, has fallen in love with Baltimore.
"And the big opportunity for the city is to recognize its history because that's what makes it special," she said. "In the next 20 years, this city will emerge as one of the great living work cities in America."
The rooms at Lord Baltimore start at around $150 a night. The Rubells spent $10 million to buy the hotel and an estimated $20 million on its rehab.
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