Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ever wanted to stay at the Plaza Hotel?

Well, it's not the same Plaza Hotel in New York so often referred to in pop culture, but then again it won't cost you $800 a night.

This morning I visited Baltimore's Tremont Plaza Hotel and it seems to be the best combination of location and price I can secure. I hope to have a contract signed by early next week so those who are ready can begin reserving rooms at our group rate for Friday and Saturday. I'm not sure if many people plan to come in earlier than Friday, but if you do let me know. If I have enough I can try to get a group rate earlier in the week.

A little about the place:

It is located a little more than a mile from the wedding/reception site. For those from out of town, that translates to about a $5 cab ride, seven-minute drive or 25-minute walk. (I will find actuals for sure within in the next two weeks.)

The hotel is also a short walk from the Inner Harbor, which is kind of Baltimore's main tourist area. If you are looking for some things to do on Friday evening or Saturday morning, you should be able to find it as long as you don't mind panhandlers too much.

The rooms in the hotel are suites. You can choose from one of two studio models either with a king bed or two queen beds. There also rooms with one bedroom set aside from the rest of the suite and two-bedroom suites. You can see photos here and specs here. If you get a room high enough on one side, you will get a view of Baltimore's harbor, the other side has a view of Baltimore's more historic but perhaps less visually interesting west side.

The Plaza also has an outdoor pool, although it is kind of small, and a health club. There's a bar and restaurant that serves brunch for $15. There's also a pretty decent deli with carry-out sandwiches, specialty dishes as well as beer and wine. For more on the amenities, click here.

So, what's the price tag? The studio suites are $159 a night, the one-bedrooms are $189 a night and the two-bedrooms are $339. After looking at the rooms, four people can easily fit in the studio, and I would add that you don't really get much more for a one-bedroom for an extra $30.

Even though it is possible to split a room, I recognize that the rate is kind of expensive for those who are already buying a plane ticket. The consolation is that it should not be necessary for you to rent a car. However, you may be able to find a room and rent a car for a little bit cheaper if you would like to.

I searched hotels.com and for lowest rates in the metro area and found rooms for as low as $70 per evening if you would rather stay in the suburbs. For instance, I found the Ramada Inn in Catonsville (about 8 miles away) starting at that rate. If you are OK staying away from downtown and staying in a lower-tier hotel, an option like this may be your choice.

If you have any questions about a neighborhood I would be happy to tell you more about it. I would suggest that you also read hotel reviews for any place you pick either at hotels.com, Travelocity or another travel site.

After checking a few rental car companies, it looks like you could rent a car for about $70 from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Again, I know travel can be a pain so if you need any help feel free to call or e-mail me.