Host to the mighty, famous, and infamous, the Belvedere Hotel has welcomed a steady stream of celebrities since it opened in 1903. Rudolph Valentino, Sarah Berhardt, Al Jolson, and Mark Twain are only a few of the notables who have swept through the hotel doors, where Southern hospitality reigned and imaginative banquets and balls knew no bounds.
The Belvedere was designed by J. Harleston Parker and Douglas H. Thomas, Jr, in the Beaux Arts style favored at the turn of the century, when spacious, bold and handsome hotels sprang up in a number of American cities. Parker and Thomas lavished the same attention on the sides and rear of the building as on the facade. This treatment, with the mansard roof and the building's pleasing location on the crown of a low hill make the Belvedere a majestic landmark visible from many parts of the city. Inside, the John Eager Howard Room is graced with a Charles Wilson Peale portrait of Howard, and wall murals of early Baltimore and its harbor, painted in 1936 by Olive Verna Rogers Napier.
The Belvedere, meaning "beautiful view," takes its name from the John Eager Howard estate pictured above. Once located nearby, the 18th century mansion was demolished in 1876 for an extension of Calvert Street. The Belvedere Hotel was bought in 1976 by Victor Frenkil, who restored it to its former splendor.