205 West Madison Street, Mt. Vernon.

Hot House: Former inn in the heart of Mt. Vernon. 25 Beds/25 Baths. 18,040 square feet. Asking price: $1.5 million.

What: Have you always wanted to run a B&B or an inn? Here’s your chance, right here in Mt. Vernon, Baltimore’s cultural district! This gorgeous Queen Anne-style house, formerly known as the Shirley House, opened in January 1880 as a hotel. For many years, until 1984, it was used as a boarding house for female MICA students, will ill effect. It was purchased in the early 1990s and completely renovated to its original Victorian style. It is now known as the Biltmore Suites Hotel.

This property is comprised of two buildings at right angles to each other. The main building fronts onto Madison Street, just across from the elegant First & Franklin Street Presbyterian Church. The other building fronts onto Park Avenue and they share an adjoining courtyard.

As you enter the Madison Street building, you see that much of the building’s original details remain, especially on the main floor and its highly detailed, sweeping staircase made from the unusual ash wood. There is a large room, formerly the ballroom, which can be used as a meeting or event room.

As you move up through the hotel, there are 25 guest rooms, each complete with its own bathroom, kitchenette and heating/cooling system. Many of the rooms also retain original details including fireplaces with ornate mantelpieces. All could use some updating.

Where: This hotel is located on West Madison Street, a block west of Mount Vernon Place. It is close to many of Baltimore’s best cultural attractions, including the Walters Art Museum, the BSO and the Pratt Library. The Baltimore School for the Arts is in close proximity, as is the Peabody Institute. There are numerous restaurants and bars in the immediate area.

Final Appraisal: The success of nearby hotels, including The Ivy, Hotel Indigo and Hotel Revival should give an investor or hotelier encouragement. A boutique hotel such as this could be a goldmine, with visitors here to do research at the Maryland Center for History & Culture or the main Pratt Library; musicians attending classes at the Peabody Institute or playing with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; or an art aficionado wanting to spend time at the Walters Art Museum.  The listing for the house is here.

All photographs from the listing.

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Meg Fielding

Meg Fielding writes the local interior design and lifestyle blog Pigtown Design and is the past president of the Baltimore Architectural Foundation. She enjoys dual citizenship with the US and the UK.

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