Sanders further ensured that the lobby area has a comfortable, modern living room feeling by turning toward hospitality fabrics that were inspired by residential designs. For example, the ottomans in the space are covered in a faux-croc vinyl that is similar to a leather textile used in residential designs. To a similar effect, the sofas feature tweeds.
“There are a lot of twists where you have to look twice because at first glance it looks like someone’s living room or den, but then when you take a second glance and feel it, it feels very soft and sophisticated and is true hospitality,” Sanders says. “I wanted it to feel special, but at the same time it had to be functional."
The relaxed, inviting furniture is an important addition to the special Lord Baltimore experience. Unlike many current hotels, the lobby area is designed to be a “social living room”—a usable space where people can meet and interact, or to conduct business during a meeting.
To create the “social living room” atmosphere, the business center, bar, and cocktail area are all part of the greater lobby space. Guests can charge their computers while having a glass of wine, have a business meeting, sift through emails, or relax with lunch within the same space.
"The double-height lobby is actually divided into five separate seating areas, and even within the seating areas you can have two different groups of people sitting there," explains Sanders. "I did that deliberately so that you can have an intimate moment and be part of a bigger space."
The business center, found in a corner of the lobby area, is anchored by a large, communal work table that evokes the feeling of being in a classic, old library. The table features an amenity not often found in classical libraries, as lamps with outlets run down the center of the table, allowing guests easy access to charge their electronics without detracting from the overall classic look and feel.
Instead of being located down a long hallway or in a completely separate room, the bar area extends to near the center of the double height lobby. This allows guests to feel like they’re part of the hotel as they sit and relax with a drink or wait for friends to enter the hotel, and offers the opportunity for interaction.
highlighting original elegance
The French Kitchen, the historic Versailles dining room for the hotel’s restaurant, offered the opportunity for Sanders to fully embrace and highlight the building’s original architectural details. The room features the original sconces and chandeliers. The turquoise walls and light blue ceiling brighten the room, creating a whimsical
yet sophisticated and elegant atmosphere. The new gold gilding on the original columns highlights their detailing and allows them to stand out against the turquoise wall backdrop.
The design team opted to leave the original scenic murals and existing Baccarat crystal chandeliers untouched within the Calvert Ballroom. The room features the same gold, gray, and white color palette implemented throughout the rest of the hotel. The new textured wallpaper highlights the architectural details of the room, and the carpet picks up on the gold and brass details within.
The entire project provided both a challenge and an opportunity for Sanders and the Rubell team to embrace the historical significance of such an important landmark building while modernizing the space and bringing it back to life. The balance and harmony between historic beauty and comfortable, contemporary elegance found throughout the project makes the space truly unique.
Thanks to the strong, shared vision between Sanders and Rubell, the hotel opened—and was given back to the city of Baltimore—just a year after Rubell Hotels acquired the property.
“We are part of the rebirth of an urban American downtown,” says Rubell. “I think that’s really powerful.”