Baltimore's hotel shortage hits home


LAST Saturday night in Baltimore I slept with a couple I'd never met before. Well, it's a long story that came about because of the shortage of hotel rooms in the area.

I had arrived in the city early in the evening to enjoy dinner with friends. Before we knew it time had flown. It was 3 a.m. -- too late for me to drive back to Rockville alone. So I began calling local hotels, searching for a room for the night.

It quickly became clear to me that I would not find a room -- even the Hunt Valley Inn, 18 miles from downtown, didn't have a room.

At Henderson's Wharf Inn, the kind lady at the front desk aided me in my search by calling other hotels.

A married couple standing nearby overheard my plight and offered to share their spacious two-bedroom suite at another hotel with me. I gratefully accepted. Before this couple offered me their extra room, I had contemplated sleeping in my car.

I followed their taxi first to the wrong hotel (Quality Inn), then the correct one (Quality Inn and Suites at the Carlyle). The taxi driver, apparently sensing they were from out of town, charged them double the fare on the meter, took their money without returning change and sped off. Welcome to Charm City.

Front-desk clerks in many hotels told me their hotels were full because of the thriving business climate in Baltimore and to the popularity of Orioles games. Oh well, it was a night to remember.

Jean Block Bessmer writes from Rockville.

Pub Date: 6/11/98

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