Well, yes, I learned--thankfully on business, so I didn't have to pay. If you find you need to go to Baltimore the week before the Preakness, and arrive the day after (when celebrants still need a few more days to dry out from the parties or something), here's what that $200 room looks like. I'm assuming some of my readers may not have had this grand experience.
It is in an 83 year old hotel in an iffy part of lower downtown--if you like aggressive panhandlers, you're in luck--and it's about half the size of a regular room in the Best Western of Macomb, IL, at which I have stayed many times for about half the price. Like the Best Western, it has a complimentary breakfast, but unlike the Best Western, you need to swipe your card at the elevator to get to your 17th floor room. On the bright side, the "snob floors" have a "happy hour" time each day. On the down side, it's Bug Light and SPAM sashimi (joking about the second part, mostly), so it's not that happy if you happen to actually think beer ought to have malt and hops as ingredients, or if you think that appetizers ought to be, you know, appetizing. You'll want to leave the hotel for dinner--don't forget to watch out for vagrants!
Going into your room, you'll find a great view of....the next 80 year old building, which is all of ten feet from the one you're in. Also, it features (remember this is on the 17th floor, folks) double hung windows that open--count this one out if you're bringing the kiddies, or anyone who is depressed! You need to remember which of the five elevators actually go to your floor as well, and if you want to take the stairs down to get some exercise.....nope, it will trigger the fire alarm. Don't go there.
On the bright side, Baltimore is a fun, walkable city.....just make sure you've got your city thinking going, or it might not be so much fun. And don't think the best part of your trip is going to be the $200 hotel room.
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