We attended the Fells Point Festival over the weekend of October 4-6, 2013, and we stayed at the historic Admiral Fell Inn, primarily because of its great location in the heart of Fells Point.
When I tried making the reservation online, I had some trouble getting the AAA rate to show up. A quick call to the hotel's number, and a helpful person was able to manually give the 10% discount. That was nice.
When we arrived, the festival organizers were already starting to close streets for the festival, so we parked in the public garage a couple blocks away. Self-parking there was $14 per night.
Check-in was handled by Hakeem, who as very friendly and professional. The Admiral Fell Inn is a very "pet-friendly" hotel, so, given my bad allergies to cats and some dogs, I asked Hakeem if I could have one of the remodeled rooms without the carpeted flooring. The first room he assigned to us did have carpeting, and it had musty/(doggy?) smell to it. I came back down to the lobby. Hakeem had assigned that one to us by mistake, and apologized. He thought it was one of he remodeled rooms. (65 of 80 rooms have been remodeled so far.). Hakeem quickly gave us another room without any problems.
That next room was very nice, with hard surface flooring, and a fresh smell. It overlooked the main square on Broadway, and you could see some of the harbor. The room and bathroom was clean, and the bed was comfortable. A 32-inch flat-screen TV was a nice touch.
There was quite a bit of noise coming from the street, but that was expected as it was the Fells Point Festival weekend. It mostly settled down at 2 a.m. when the bars close. Even on regular weekends, the Fells Pont area stays lively quite late. This is not the fault of the hotel. In fact, the celebratory atmosphere is what brought us to the hotel and the area in the first place! .
For those who complain about the street noise, you should always do a little research on an area before booking a room. There are 70 bars in the Fells Point / Inner Harbor East area, and it is well-known as a party destination. I mean, come on .... Just a very small amount of internet research would discover that. You wouldn't expect a quiet night at Mardi-Gras, and you would not expect to be able to order a stiff drink at the Southern Baptist Convention. A little research goes a long way. Fells Point is NOT for a quiet getaway on the weekends! :-).
This hotel could have received a 5 out of 5 overall rating from me except for one main drawback. It is too "pet-friendly". It has 80 total rooms, and it advertises that is has 80 pet-friendly rooms. That's ALL of them! Really? Do you really get 80 pet owners at one time checking in wanting a pet-friendly room? Couldn't the hotel maybe have 40 pet-friendly rooms and 40 pet-free rooms? Or 60/20 or 20/60? But, ALL of them? As an analogy, can you imagine a hotel with 100% of its rooms as stinky "smoking" rooms these days? You would lose a lot of non-smoker business. With 100% pet-friendly rooms, you risk losing those customers with pet allergies (About 15% of the population). That's a huge potential market share. With some designated pet-friendly rooms, and some designated "pet-free" rooms, both pet owners and people with pet allergies can BOTH be served well. Luckily, I did not have an allergic reaction on this visit. Having the hard surface floor in the remodeled room certainly helps, but I also could have been lucky. Perhaps that room did not have a pet in it for the past several occupants. The elevators were carpeted, and at least one of the elevators showed signs of ... let's just say .. "pet spots." Putting hard surface floors on the elevators, as well, would be a smart move.
One more suggestion, and then I'll get back to the positive stuff. Stop adding on the goofy $9.95 "Hotel Service Fee". If you must, just add it to the advertised rate, rather than adding it on separately. Yes, it is clearly spelled out in the reservation that it will be added, and I expected it. However, as you can see, this "service fee" does nothing but irritate customers. Just look at some of the previous reviews. Very few people would balk at a nightly "rate" that is $10 more per night. But, when it is added in separately as a "service fee", people get peeved, just on principal. Don't peeve people. It's not smart policy. Just raise the rates $10 if you have to. You're not Motel 6. People paying $220/night likely won't balk if it is raised to $230/night. But, they might not come back at all, on principal, if they feel they are being nickeled and dimed. Or, they might give negative comments about that issue on sites like Trip Advisor, as has been seen several times.
I seriously like this hotel, and hope the comments about pet policy and Service Fee policy are taken as serious policy change suggestions to make the Admiral Fell Inn even better! :-)
Continuing on ......
In addition to the great room location, a great check-in person (Hakeem), another fine employee was Steve, who is the bartender in the downstairs bar. Friendly, professional, and knowledgeable about the hotel.
One more salute goes to one of the managers. When we checked out on Sunday, we had come down the steps at the front door, and a casually dressed man offered to help with our bags. That person was the manager (Can't recall if his name was Mark or Mario?). He was casually dressed as he was assisting with activities at the festival. (It seems the whole town and its businesses come out to help with this festival, which benefits the community of Fells Point. Bravo!) Anyway, because the street was closed to cars, the manager called over one of the hotel's golf carts, and he personally took us over to our car in the garage a few blocks away. That was super nice. He also asked about out stay, and how we liked it. When I asked about the number of rooms with old carpet versus with hard surface, he let us know about the undergoing renovation of the rooms, and that 65 or 80 are complete. He truly seemed interested in knowing what we thought about the Inn. That's a great manager!
PROS: Great location. You can walk to MANY restaurants and bars. Interesting, historic hotel. Nice, friendly staff and manager. Nice clean rooms (the remodeled ones). Comfortable beds.
CONS: Pet-policy. There are NO "pet-free" rooms. Have your rescue inhaler handy, just in case! 15 rooms still need to be remodeled. Even when those remaining rooms are remodeled, there still needs to be some pet-free rooms. Some people let their pets climb all over the bedspread and the room chairs. Pets rub up against curtains, etc. Having no carpet / hard surface floors helps, but there is no substitute for having some "pet-free" rooms for many people with severe asthma and allergies.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A comfortable inn in Maryland that is similar to the home of a well-to-do nineteenth-century sea captain. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Admiral Fell Hotel Baltimore
- Admiral Fell Baltimore