Originally designed in the early 1970s as a hospitality center by McCormick & Co., the Baltimore-based spice producer, Hunt Valley Inn recently completed a $15 million property-wide renovation. Led by architecture and design firm Leo A. Daly, the project elevated the 392-room property into the Wyndham Grand Collection. Located just north of Baltimore, the hotel is adjacent to the region’s horse country, not far from the Pimlico Race Course (home of the Preakness Stakes) and the site of the Maryland Hunt Cup, an annual timber race tradition dating back to the late 1800s. The new design transports guests back to a classic manor house, says the project’s lead designer, Andrea Bays. The Polo Bar features a cozy “smoking” lounge and library, complete with two-top and tea-height tables, high-back lounge chairs, leather sofas, and two custom cast stone fireplaces. To infuse an authentic countryside vibe, the firm assembled a collection of horse head bookends, trophies, and other artifacts from local accessory shops. “We wanted to incorporate the area and the history and have those subtle uses of equestrian material dispersed throughout the hotel, especially in the library,” Bays says.
The property had a lot of dark brick, which the designers found a bit overwhelming. The existing wood ceilings, however, felt reminiscent of a horse barn and worked in their favor. “To lighten up the space, we brought in creams, tans, and cognac colors,” she says. “We really wanted a classic, masculine theme.”
The library shelves brim with leather-bound books. “We wanted to create a library as if those books have been collected throughout the years,” Bays says. “We want to encourage guests to sit in one of the lounge chairs by the fire and take a peek at a book while they’re waiting for their friends to join them at the bar.”
Bits and Bridles
From the carpets to the fixtures, the firm chose classic motifs and patterns with subtle references to the equestrian theme. “So we have the knotted carpet tying into the bridles for the horses, and keeping everything clean and modern at the same time.”