The Hotel at the University of Maryland, located in the Baltimore-Washington metro area, officially welcomed its first guests on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The hotel offers 297 guest rooms and 43,000 square feet of meeting space in a 10-story structure that’s located just opposite the campus visitors center.

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.

“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.”

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’s owned by Mike Franklin, an entrepreneur who opened the popular Franklins Restaurant, Brewpub and General Store in nearby Hyattsville, providing an instrumental role in its 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 Sept. 8.

The Hotel’s 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.

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 to impress groups.

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, whether meeting friends or attending a conference.