An undersung American city, a heavily-veneered café, an escape from réalité. At Baltimore’s new Hotel Ulysses, with its seductively low lighting and mirrored drinking parlor, there’s a sense that you’re arriving at Mount Vernon’s hottest club as the concierge hands over a blue key card. But don’t let the handmade quilts and duster-covered TVs fool you into thinking it will be a snoozy stay—beneath the leopard carpet lies the potential to really party.

Photo: Brett Wood

Catch your reflection again in the Poppy Room down the hall from Ulysses’s lobby, where Bloom’s Art-Deco-movie-palace fantasy conjures a tinier, cleaner, shinier Baltimore Studio 54. Except here, if you inquire the day of, staff will add you to the waitlist for an evening of French martinis, Ferrari shots laced with Fernet Branca and Cappelletti Aperitivo, and flirt cards beckoning a fresh crush or eternal flame back to your room for the hotel’s original promise: Strong drinks and soft beds.

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