by Wendy Irvine
The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront is one tall glass of water sitting on the hem of Baltimore’s sparkling waterfront. Marriott’s 31 floors tower over the heart of everything in Baltimore’s waterfront, with a plethora of activities for families.
It’s no secret that some parts of Baltimore don’t feel as safe as other parts, but this Marriott sits in a friendly, walkable, delightful part of town. The streets surrounding the Marriott boast fine dining, luxury shopping and miles of culture like the National Aquarium, the Science Center and the Children’s Museum. The Marriott is also just steps away from Whole Foods, CVS Pharmacy, a Haagen Daz ice cream shop, a movie theater and the Little Italy neighborhood. Plus, you’re a 25-minute walk to the famous Oriole Park at Camden Yards and an easy 15-minute drive to Fort McHenry.
If you visited the hotel before March 2014, you won’t recognize the dining and bar areas on the lobby floor today. The Marriott just completed a $5-million renovation and the result is Apropoe’s, a spacious open-concept dining area with multiple seating configurations that look out onto the sparkling water. The restaurant’s name is a nod to one of Baltimore’s beloved famous sons — Edgar Allen Poe — who lived, wrote and died in Baltimore; it’s apropos that the Marriott honored one of America’s greatest writers in this clever way.
Marriott’s 732 rooms and suites come in a variety of configurations. In fact, the hotel is proud of what it calls “ultra-flexibility.” You have five in your family, plus a baby? How about the two adults and college-aged kids? Two toddlers who need to get to sleep early? Rooms range from 300 to 2,900 square feet of space, so there are plenty of options. When you book your reservation, detail exactly what you need and the Marriott staff will gladly assist. The Marriott brand is clearly intent on providing more to their guests than just a great breakfast buffet and a clean room.
This Marriott has a fabulous indoor swimming pool for the little guys and a sizable fitness center for the adults. And if you’re like most parents, a washer and dryer are a big plus, and this Marriott has two of each — both complimentary.
Parking is a little pricey and traffic around the waterfront can be bumper-to-bumper, but aside from that, families will love the location and overall sense of safety. The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront — and its surrounding neighborhood — is a fantastic choice for families who want to focus on the awesome cultural activities on the sparkling waterfront.
Our Editor Loves
- Luxury hotel in walkable neighborhood
- Located in the heart of upscale shopping and dining
- Easy water-taxi ride (or safe stroll) to waterfront activities
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
While the Marriott offers the two basic room styles we've come to expect from a sophisticated hotel -- two full beds or a king -- the Marriott Waterfront deserves a standing ovation for its dedication to flexibility. For example, ask for a king with a couch and a water view -- they've got it. Want more square footage? Request a suite with two beds, a couch and a water view. Have a large family and need connecting rooms? The Marriott has connecting rooms galore. The flexibility of the Marriott to fashion the precise room layout that will work for your family is stellar. Ask away and they'll gladly give it to you.
Tip: This particular Marriott's website talks about "harbor views" and "waterfront views." It turns out they're the same thing.
If you want the most inexpensive of the Marriott rooms, ask for a 300-square-foot double bed or king room with a city view. If you want more room, ask for a king room with a water view and you'll get 400 square feet that includes a pullout sofa.
The bathrooms are beautifully updated with granite counter tops and bathtub and shower combos, though some don't have tubs; the bathrooms do not have fans for ventilation.
All of the rooms come with a flat-screen TV, iPod docking station, mini-fridge, coffee maker and an in-room safe. Request a microwave and it will appear for no charge. Wi-Fi is extra at $12.95 per night for high speed Internet and $15.95 per night for enhanced high-speed Internet (great for chatting via video, downloading large files or streaming videos). Keep in mind though that the Marriott's dining spot just off the lobby, Apropoe's, is stocked with cushy seating, Starbucks coffee and free Wi-Fi.
Best of all for traveling parents? While you won't find a washer and dryer combo in your room, you will find two complimentary washers and dryers on the fifth floor next to the pool. The Marriott even provides laundry soap.
My room was on the 22nd floor and overlooked the harbor which was a spectacular view. My room was spacious even with two queen beds. There was a small refrigerator in the room which came in handy to put leftovers in or to keep drinks cold. My room was clean, and the bed was comfortable to sleep in. There was plenty of room to work at the desk area. If you like to watch TV, a 55” or 65” TV was attached to the wall with very nice viewing from the bed. Check-in took very little time, and my room was ready which I was happy about since I had driven for hours. All of the staff were very nice and helpful anytime I needed them. There are many very nice restaurants, and a nice variety, within walking distance of the hotel as well as a number of shops. The only complaint I have is that the parking fee for their garage is atrocious: $26.00/day for self parking or $45.00/day for valet. Depending when you go, you may have a hard time finding a parking space since the first 4 floors are designated strictly for valet parking.
My wife and I stayed here for 3 nights at the beginning of Oct. This hotel checks all the boxes in terms of location and cleanliness making for a great experience.
We arrived around 10am on Thursday and we were able to get a room right away. We were pleasantly surprised since there appeared to be a convention going on. Also, a nice surprise was that we got a remodeled room.
Our room was on the 8th floor, facing the Four Seasons and with a partial harbor view. It was definitely freshly remodeled since there was a slight smell of fresh paint. Everything was beyond spotless, fresh, and indeed nicely remodeled. It had a comfortable king bed, a large TV, and a nice chaise lounge in front of the large window. The bathroom was of average size but it had a nice dual head shower. It also had a mini-fridge which is always a big plus in our book. The wifi also seemed to be faster than most hotels I have experienced in the past and there were plenty of outlets to charge your electronics. We were at the end of a hall but we also never heard a single noise from the hallway except for Friday night when some people were returning from a wedding. If I could pick one improvement I would like a fan in the bathroom but really not a big deal.
The location is also where this hotel shines. It is within approx. 10 min walk to the inner harbor attractions such as the Aquarium, Power Plan Live, etc. Also, within a block or two you can find many higher end chain restaurants such as Roy's, Fleming's, and Oceanaire as well as a handful of others. About 5-10 min walk beyond that you get to Little Italy and another 5-10 min and you are in Fells Point area. So you are never very far from a plethora of restaurants and bars. We even walked as Federal Hill for breakfast which is only about a mile-ish away. So being right in the middle of everything met our needs perfectly. There is even a water taxi right next to the hotel as well but is very limited in the fall so we never took advantage
So based on our experience, price we paid, and noticing some of the other hotel locations we considered we will definitely look to stay here again next time we decide to head to Charm City.
Shouldering a plethora of awesome family activities, it would be silly for this Marriott to bother attempting to compete with Baltimore as a whole. However, it knows what kids like and need in a hotel: a fabulous pool. The Marriott's medium-sized pool sits in a glassed-in terrarium of sorts under a soaring ceiling with colored lights under the water that melt from blue to green to red. The pool is wreathed in upscale chaise lounges with large rolled towels waiting for use. The pool is kept at a warm 87 degrees and sits next to the fitness center. Double doors lead to an outdoor deck that has a partial water view. Although chilly in the winter, this deck is great for lounging and taking in the views of the water on warm spring and summer days.
The Marriott's $5 million renovation extended to a total revamp of their main dining spot. The result? Apropoe's -- a gorgeous open-concept dining area that is spacious, comfy and sits level with the water giving a fabulous view. Apropoe's has many seating configurations, including the standard table and chairs, coaches by the fire, club chairs and bar-like seating.
Apropoe's is raring to go for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts. You can order a breakfast buffet that is well stocked with eggs, pancakes, French toast and the like or order a la carte. For lunch and dinner, Apropoe's offers "small bites" that include mini meatballs and pork sliders and "shareables" like hummus, cheese and crab dip plates. They also offer several salads, such as chopped kale and roasted beet salads. Larger meals include a roasted spring vegetable pasta dish and Maryland crab cakes, but the prices get a little steep at $21 and $28 respectively.
Kids are dialed in with a separate kids menu that includes the usual suspects, like a breakfast buffet (at a kid-price) and burgers, quesadillas, chicken fingers and so forth for lunch and dinner.
Get your caffeine buzz in the comfy lounge that sports a cool elongated fireplace -- all part of Apropoe's. Room service is also served by Apropoe's and is available from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Whole Foods is an easy three-block walk from the Marriott and serves buffet meals throughout the day with casual tables in an upscale atmosphere. Papa Johns will also deliver a fresh pie to the hotel lobby for a night in.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The concierge level lounge on the 31st floor delivers a spectacular view with breakfast and evening service (honor bar, appetizers, desserts) Monday through Friday. The lounge is open throughout the day offering office amenities like faxing, computer and printing services. Complimentary tea and soda are also available all day long. Access to the concierge level is just $50 per family, per day, which is a stellar price when you add up the cost of meals per person.
The Art of Smart Timing
The Marriott boasts a robust conference business and serves families who like to enjoy the waterfront and local attractions, so it's hard to pinpoint its busy and quiet seasons. In general, March through July is a busy time while January and February are quiet, but cold.
Temperatures soar in the summer -- we're talking hot and sticky -- and winter temps range from chilly to snowy.
Keep in mind that traffic in Baltimore, Md. and around Washington, D.C. can be horrendous during peak times (for the sake of your schedule, assume that it's always peak time). Make life easier by avoiding commute hours and Friday afternoons when everyone is jamming to get home for the weekend. Plan to add a good 30 to 60 minutes to your driving plans.
Consider knocking your kids' socks off with a ride on Amtrak. Getting to the Marriott by Amtrak is a breeze given the station is a mere six-minute drive to the hotel. However, walking from the station to the hotel is too far. Seeing everything by foot around the waterfront is very do-able, but if you take Amtrak, plan to take a taxi to the Marriott. Keep in mind that you'll need a car to see Fort McHenry, which is a 15-minute drive away (or take the water-taxi and eschew the car all together.)
The Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is 16 minutes to the Marriott and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is 54 minutes. Dulles International Airport (DIA) is a bit further at just over an hour -- always keep the traffic in mind.
Parking at the Marriott is on the pricey side. Onsite self-parking is $26 per day with valet clocking in at $40 per day, though both are easy -- the lot sits just around the corner and there is a sky bridge from the parking lot to the Marriott.
The water-taxi does double-duty by giving the kids an amazing ride and transporting you to all the activities on the waterfront like the aquarium, the science center, Pier Five, even Fort McHenry. Kids are $6 and adults are $12, but both prices let you ride all day long.
For Mom and Dad
The Marriott's beautiful bar area that is part of Apropoe's has a lovely menu of cocktails like a Raspberry Lemonade Presse and a Baltimore Blossom.
The fitness center on the fifth floor shoulders the fantastic indoor pool and -- bonus! -- has cardio machines that overlook the pool. So your little fish can swim while you work out and still supervise (although a lifeguard is always on duty). The fitness room is an impressive medium-sized space that has a nice selection of cardio (treadmills, elliptical machines and bikes), free weights and mats. The space also has separate men's and women's dry saunas in the bathrooms.