Walk to bars and boutiques in the emerging Mount Vernon neighborhood from your home base at Hotel Brexton (from $169), but ask for a room in the rear of the building to avoid street noise. Housed in a red-brick nineteenth-century townhouse, the hotel has 29 spare but bright rooms with neutral color schemes and big picture windows. Start your morning with Greek yogurt from the complimentary continental breakfast, and keep caffeinated all day long with lattes from the self-serve, 24-hour lobby espresso machine. Internet access costs around $10 per day, so use the free Wi-Fi at the Bun Shop (coffee and pastries from $3).
Get the lay of the land from Kimpton’s centrally located Hotel Monaco (from $191/night), which has 202 spacious guestrooms in a landmark Beaux Arts building just north of Inner Harbor. The bold décor (why, yes, those are animal-print bathrobes), L’Occitane bath amenities, and stellar service make up for the central but square neighborhood. Grab a glass of Northern Californian Pinot Noir at the complimentary wine hour, held in the lobby at 5 p.m. nightly, or take a spin on one of the free bicycles on loan to explore edgier nearby areas like Mount Vernon and Belvedere.
See contemporary art at the Four Seasons Baltimore (from $349/night), which partnered with neighboring gallerist Mark Myers to display a 1,000-piece collection throughout the property. (Many works are from the Washington Color School, a mid-century movement that originated in the mid-Atlantic United States.) Located in Harbor East, within walking distance to the historic waterfront neighborhood of Fell’s Point, the hotel has 250 rooms with modern walnut furniture and marble-and-chrome bathrooms, plus a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the harbor and two Michael Mina restaurants frequented by D.C.-based politicos.