November 2011 was the beginning of a new era in Baltimore, Maryland â€” the era of theÂ Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore being a functioning part of the leisure and commercial landscape of the harbor-famed city. With Four Seasons' arrival, there was definitely a lot of expectations of grandeur, glamour, and posh resorting. It's nothing the Four Seasons isn't used to because it has created and branded itself to be "the standard" in the hospitality industry. Four Seasons has 86 locations in 35 cities around the world, and undoubtedly growing. So naturally, with the opening of its Baltimore location, the Multi Cultural Cooking Network wanted to know what makes the Baltimore location so different. We talked with the General Manager, Julien Carralero of the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore to find out more.
Carralero, looking every bit the part of a handsome, charming General Manager, came to greet MCCN in the exquisite fine-art adorned, marble floored-lobby. He quickly took us upstairs to one of the meeting rooms. On the way addressing employees with a warm-hearted smile and salutations, and occasionally doling out instruction. The meeting room where we set up has a view that makes you feel like the harbor is just steps away. That's part of the Four Seasons' strategy. Location! Location! Location! Â Even on a dreary day the view is beautiful, as nothing separates the hotel from its harbor location. Â As we set up video equipment, Caralero is moving chairs around, asking about our lighting, and making sure MCCN has everything we need. Hmmmh! Could this be part of Four Seasons' culture of hospitality? Carralero explains that Four Seasons calls it "The Golden Rule," which every employee is expected to utilize, treating each customers with respect. We like it! We really like it.
The first question we posed to the GM was why Baltimore was chosen as a location for Four Seasons; after all, to the south there is the Four Seasons Hotel Washington D.C., and to the north there is a Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. Caralerro explains, "Baltimore was a destination that was chosen by Four Seasons because it was the right time for us to come to a city that keeps growing and developing. It's a city that is strategically very well located between Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York. The Northern Corridor has quite a bit of traffic....we believe that Baltimore is a city that has growth ahead that is positive." Adding,"Granted the actual state of the economy is still very difficult."
The Four Seasons began building in 2007 but because of the state of the economy the process was delayed, but you won't find any evidence of cutting corners in the Harbor East location, according to Carralero. "When it comes down to Four Seasons, we didn't compromise anything. When it comes down to the actual features that go into rooms, that go into the restaurants, the designs, nothing was really compromised from the standpoint that you have technology in the rooms; you have decorum; the quality of the furnishingsâ€”nothing was replaced or reduced."Â The owners, Harbor East and H&S Bakery, wouldn't have it any other way. Carralero explains, "I think they believe that to create a product and to launch it, you should have the same continuity when it comes down to the actual specifications."
....relax in the deep-soaking bath in the hotel's marble bathrooms.
So back to that technology. Some of it is absolutely mind-blowing. On MCCN's guided tour of the property we went into several suites which include the latest in Bose home-theatre system technology. You don't have to miss a thing when you relax in the deep-soaking bath in the hotel's marble bathrooms; just turn on the LCD television in the bathroom mirror. Yes, in the bathroom mirror.
On top of technology, is pure luxury, especially for the suite-life. Features and amenities include: carpeting that is 70-percent wool, a stone-clad built- in fireplace, balconies overlooking the harbor or with a spectacular city view, custom chandeliers, full-size refrigerators, dishwashers, dining areas, which seat eight, 55 inch and 40 inch-LCD televisions for the bedroom and living areas. The list goes on and on when you choose any one of their suites from the Executive to the top of the line Presidential and Royal suites. However you don't have to have a suite to enjoy a taste of the good life. Standard rooms are not so standard, with LCD screen or plasma televisions, wall-to-wall windows allowing natural light throughout the guest room. There are also impeccable water-side and city-views of Â Fells Point, Little Italy and Harbor East (Pictured to the right is standard guest room with King bed. This room has a view of the marina).
Read about the hotel's four new restaurants, including Michael Mina's Wit & Wisdom and LAMILL COFFEE Â as well as the new amazing spa at the hotel. Â Click here to read the rest of the article on Multi Cultural Cooking Network.