The Hotel at the University of Maryland, this season’s most anticipated new hospitality business in the Baltimore-Washington metro area, officially welcomed its first guests on Friday, September 8.
The Hotel offers 297 guest rooms and 43,000 sf of meeting space in a 10-story structure that’s located just opposite the campus visitors center for the University of Maryland. The Hotel is working in partnership with the university, but is independently owned and operated by Southern Management Corporation, the largest privately owned residential property management company in the Mid-Atlantic. The Hotel is the inspiration of developer David H. Hillman, who saw a need for this type of facility in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and who determined that Southern Management should be the driving force behind it.
“This community has been eagerly awaiting our hotel, which provides a luxury lodging and event venue in a town that has craved this caliber of facility for decades,” Hillman said. “We wanted to spark economic growth along Baltimore Avenue and throughout the town of College Park, and I think you can already see the positive impact the property is having.”
State, local and university officials consider the opening of The Hotel the first of several significant changes aimed at transforming College Park into one of the top 20 college towns in the nation by 2020.
“Even before its doors open, this magnificent hotel and conference center has already begun to transform College Park and advance this institution,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “It anchors our innovation enterprise, has attracted major investment and new businesses, and will serve this campus and its visitors in great style. We thank Mr. Hillman for his vision and success.”
The Hotel houses a lobby bar and four restaurants, giving locals and visitors alike options to suit all budgets and tastes. Old Maryland Grill, The Hotel’s largest dining venue and the source of its room service menu, is focused on classic and contemporary Maryland cuisine. Guests can expect to find crab, oysters, Eastern Shore fried chicken and even Maryland’s official state dessert, Smith Island cake, on its menu. It is owned by Mike Franklin, an entrepreneur who opened the popular Franklins Restaurant, Brewpub and General Store in nearby Hyattsville and who has played an instrumental role in that neighboring community’s economic development.
Kapnos Taverna, a coastal Greek restaurant created by Mike Isabella, one of the Washington area’s most celebrated chefs, will open later in the month. Bagels ‘n Grinds and Potomac Pizza, a pair of franchises created by Adam Greenberg, whose wife graduated from the university, also opened on September 8 — to the delight of UMD students, who recently returned to campus from their summer breaks.
The Hotel will be the property of choice for prospective students, parents, alumni and guests of the university, but its position along the Baltimore-Washington corridor and easy access to three major airports also makes it an ideal option for meetings and events of all sizes and types. Located merely 10 miles from Washington and 30 from Baltimore, this property also provides free shuttle service to the College Park Metro station and can connect its guests to the nation’s capital and surrounding highlights within a matter of minutes.
Ten separate event spaces are named for notable figures in state, county and university history — from the Wright brothers, who taught the first army pilots how to fly at the world’s oldest continuously operating airport (located just around the corner), to Harriet Tubman, who was born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, to Muppets creator and UMD graduate Jim Henson. The Hotel also boasts a 10th-story penthouse event space that offers unparalleled views of the campus and beyond. It’s sure to be a popular spot for wedding receptions and other top-tier gatherings.
Standard guest rooms, which average 450 square feet, are the largest in town. The Hotel also offers a fitness center, pool and open-air zen garden terrace on its fourth floor. In a few short months, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa will open a 5,200-square foot facility on that same recreation floor; like all the restaurants, the spa will be open to the public as well as Hotel guests. The property also opened an 850-car parking garage so visitors can come and go with ease, whether they’re attending a conference, staying overnight, or simply meeting friends for dinner.
The Hotel isn’t just bringing more dining and entertainment options to College Park, it’s also generating new jobs. Already the entire project — The Hotel and its restaurant partners — has created more than 400 positions, many of which are being filled by UMD students.
Southern Management is building another property, a Cambria Hotel & Suites, further up Baltimore Avenue, increasing the town’s hotel inventory by another 150 rooms. The company already operates The Hotel at Arundel Preserve near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and Bear Creek Mountain Resort & Conference Center in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.
For more information about or to make reservations at The Hotel at the University of Maryland, please click here or call 301-298-5574. Room rates start at $189 per night, plus tax.