Baltimore’s Hotel Ulysses Gains an Opulent Parlor, and Other News

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Swann House. Photography by Christian Harder

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Baltimore’s Hotel Ulysses Gains an Opulent Parlor

When it opened in 2022, Hotel Ulysses shook up Baltimore’s hotel scene with top-to-bottom references to Art Deco movie palaces and the oeuvre of hometown hero John Waters. The boutique hotel perfectly embodies Ash’s 360-degree approach to hospitality—the design firm and hotelier manages, operates, and owns all of its properties, which have soared in popularity thanks to rich storytelling and an embrace of the idiosyncrasies of second cities like Detroit, New Orleans, and Providence. When the firm’s creative director Xavier Donnelly had the opportunity to expand Ulysses with a hotel clubhouse and event space in the historic townhouse next door, he didn’t need to look far to find inspiration for his next story.

Swann House takes its name from Louisa Sherlock Swann, the wife of seven-term Baltimore mayor Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe, and their son, who all lived there. Donnelly reimagined their former residence as an opulent ground-floor parlor with exuberant touches that retain the architecture’s timeless appeal. Masterfully restored original details—dark wood paneling, plaster walls, multiple marble fireplaces, and high ceilings—pay homage to the building while carving an exquisite setting for Ulysses guests to keep their night going. “It feels like it’s always been here, but still attuned to the world around it,” Donnelly says. “In other words, it’s the perfect setting for unforgettable parties.” Our favorite detail? Dramatic muslin drapes enveloping a jewel box bar and framing the dining room, evoking the grand reveal of a Venetian theater stage. —Ryan Waddoups

Image courtesy of Fendi

Fendi launches a seven-piece fragrance collection as a tribute to the house’s members.

Fendi is launching a high-end fragrance collection to celebrate its centenary, honoring key figures in the brand’s history. The collection, developed with LVMH’s fragrance division, features seven scents crafted by renowned perfumers using concentrated ingredients from around the world. Each fragrance represents a different member of the Fendi family, from founder Adele Casagrande Fendi to the latest generations like Silvia Venturini Fendi and Kim Jones, with a design inspired by Roman architecture and Fendi’s heritage.

To prepare for future growth, Design Holding has rebranded as Flos B&B Italia Group.

Design Holding has rebranded as Flos B&B Italia Group, signaling its alignment with the most globally renowned entities in its portfolio of nine brands. In a statement, the group’s CEO Daniel Lalonde said the move lays the foundation for future growth and acquisitions in the high-end design sector. The rebranding aims to strengthen direct-to-consumer connections, expand its network of stores, and solidify its presence in the high-end contract business across multiple sectors.

The Ropax Ferry Terminal in Riga, Latvia, by Zaha Hadid Architects. Rendering courtesy of Negativ

Zaha Hadid Architects will convert a dated Latvian warehouse into a ferry terminal.

Zaha Hadid Architects plans to transform a 1960s shipping warehouse in Riga, Latvia, into the Ropax Ferry Terminal, significantly increasing the port’s capacity. The 215,000-square-foot terminal will feature a new fourth floor with a curved roof, accommodating ferry and cruise passengers while optimizing operational efficiency. The design includes a triple-height hall, cafes, restaurants, terraces, and a plaza, utilizing recycled bricks, ceramic tiles, photovoltaic panels, and locally sourced timber for structural elements, with an expected completion in 2028.

A no-frills taqueria is among the first restaurants in Mexico to earn a Michelin star.

El Califa de Leon, a family-run taqueria in Mexico City’s San Rafael district, has received a Michelin star for its exceptional Gaonera taco. Specializing in four types of tacos, the small restaurant emphasizes quality, customer service, and reasonable prices, reflecting the values instilled by the parents of current owner Mario Hernandez. Meanwhile, Quintonil and Pujol, two upscale Mexico City restaurants, each earned two stars for their creative and refined Mexican cuisine, highlighting local ingredients and innovative techniques.

A new report suggests Shein hasn’t tackled its problems with overwork and low wages.

A new report from Public Eye reveals that Shein’s supply chain still faces issues with excessive working hours, with some factory workers in Guangzhou working 75-hour weeks despite the company’s promises to address this. The investigation found that workers’ wages remain low, averaging between 6,000 and 10,000 yuan (roughly $831 and $1,385) per month before deductions, falling well below the living wage after overtime cuts. Shein disputes the allegations, highlighting its efforts to improve supply chain conditions and compliance, including investments in factory upgrades and supplier audits showing improved performance.

“Room Service” (2023) by Michael McGregor

Today’s attractive distractions:

Michael McGregor’s light-hearted doodles on hotel stationery star in a new book.

Google releases AI that can predict how the human body’s molecules behave.

Here’s an expert guide on the best “cozy” video games to blow off some steam.

Videos that show the fashion manufacturing process are going viral on TikTok.

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