A Reason To Stay
New Hotel and Conference Center has the Potential to Raise the UMD Visibility
By Robert Bernstein
The College Park area has its first hotel and conference center in over 50 years.
The Hotel at the University of Maryland opened September 2017 and is expected to make a big statement about the university and its visibility across the DMV and beyond. Developed by Vienna, Virginia-based Southern Management Corporation, The Hotel is in many ways the crown jewel in the company’s expanding portfolio. The late David Hillman, SMC's Founder and former president, had a strong belief in the viability of investing in Prince Georges.
“The basis of Southern Management’s rationale in developing The Hotel was an unwavering belief in Prince George’s County,” states SMC Chief Operating Officer Ron Frank.
The Hotel at UMD is located across the street from the main entrance to the university and its 297 rooms average a rate of about $200 per night and about 450 square feet. [See a photo tour of The Hotel, click here].
The $180 million Hotel at UMD is managed directly by SMC. It’s located on land leased by the university.
The leadership at The Hotel envisions fulfilling a niche in the area surrounding one of Maryland’s premiere global university campuses. The management feels strongly that The Hotel can obtain a good slice of major group bookings as well as signature regional and national events that are scheduled here. They assert that as the facility is independent of a major chain, it has been equipped with superior amenities --- including a conference center that offers 43,000 square feet.
"Our status as an independent hotel is another unique attribute of The Hotel,” says James LoBosco, Executive Vice President of SMC’s Hotel Division. “Managing its own properties allows Southern Management to maintain full control over staffing, branding and operational decisions that it believes help ensure the optimal guest experience. More and more, hotel guests are looking for unique, local experiences and SMC believes its independent hotel status creates an opportunity to truly deliver just this experience," LoBosco says.
This four-star property covers all the bases. Amenities include: four eateries of local fame - Kapnos Taverna (Mike Isabella Concepts), Bagels & Grinds, Potomac Pizza and Old Maryland Grill, part of the growing empire of Mike Franklin from Hyattsville. Additionally, there is a 5,000 square foot rooftop space for spectacular events and a ballroom for 750 guests. A spa - The Red Door by Elizabeth Arden will be located on site for guests comfort.
Bookings for the ballroom for the upcoming year are strong according to hotel management.
In addition the hotel has a close working relationship with the university which is symbolically demonstrated by the university's imprimatur integrated in the hotel’s logo. The plan is to deepen and strengthen that relationship.
"We are a frequent sponsor of many university-sponsored events and have been working closely with various university officials and departments to create attractive packages and promotions,” says Kelly Curry, manager of The Hotel at the University of Maryland. “We have quickly integrated with the University community and will continue to develop programs that appeal to those with an affiliation to the University."