It revolved, once an hour.
When it opened in 1964, the revolving restaurant at the Holiday Inn (at Lombard and Howard streets) was called La Ronde.
But for a moment at least, the rooftop restaurant at the Holiday Inn was the talk of the town. So was the Holiday Inn, which was the first major hotel constructed for 15 years.
The Holiday Inn was cool enough to host The Beatles when they played Baltimore on Sept. 13, 1964. Or at least it was close enough to the Civic Center.
The Sept. 15 edition of the Baltimore Sun ran a story, “Beatles Quit Baltimore,” that gave a few details about the band’s post-concert party at the Holiday Inn:
"Held at La Ronde, the hotel’s top-of-the-building revolving restaurant, it apparently started at 33 r.p.m.’s and swung at 78.
There was a full-course prime ribs of beef dinner, cognac and brandy, with desserts and the Beatles’ own hands-across-the-sea drink, which as every 14-year-old knows, is scotch and Coke-mixed.”
When La Ronde opened, the developers of the Holiday Inn said it was the first revolving restaurant in the Northeast. A Baltimore Sun story published on the eve of its opening, explained how it was supposed to work:
"The revolving restaurant at Holiday Inn-Downtown will turn at the rate of one revolution an hour offering patrons a panoramic view of the harbor and other points of interest.
The exterior walls do not move and the kitchen which forms the core also is stationary.”
Sometime in the early 1970s, the restaurant’s name was changed to Circle One. It opened, and closed, at least twice.
Today, the rooftop facility at the Holiday Inn is used as a banquet facility, but it no longer revolves — and hasn’t for about 30 years.
But there is no record in the Baltimore Sun of when the rooftop restaurant took its fateful last spin, sometime around 1980. By then, Baltimore was in the thrall of its sparklingly renovated Inner Harbor, and people wanted to be on the ground, by the water, not looking at it from 12 stories above.