Hoping to entice business travelers who stay weeks and months in one city, Marriott International announced this week that it will build an "extended-stay" hotel on the northern edge of Columbia.
There is no such hotel in Howard County.
The new Residence Inn is expected to open next summer off Route 100 in the Columbia 100 Office Residential Park. It will have 108 rooms and suites -- each with a kitchen, refrigerator, oven, microwave oven and coffee maker.
Columbia now has three hotels: the Columbia Hilton, off Thunder Hill Road in Oakland Mills; the Columbia Inn, in Columbia's Town Center; and the Courtyard by Marriott, on Stanford Boulevard, near Columbia's Snowden Square Shopping Center. Another hotel, a 120-room Wingate Inn, is expected to open within 18 months, also off Stanford Boulevard.
But the Columbia Residence Inn will go after a different market, said Richard Story, executive director of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. That market is made up of business travelers who stay in one place for longer periods of time -- often for training and education, said Story.
"It's a national trend," he said. "We are increasingly a technology-based society, and there is just so much more training."
The Columbia Residence Inn will offer specific services geared for long-stay travelers. Hotel staff will make grocery runs for guests during the day. And the hotel also will set up "social hours" for its guests, said Christine Richards of MDG Companies of Maryland, which is developing the hotel.
The hotel will be owned by Thayer Lodging Group of Annapolis, Richards said. Marriott International will run the hotel.
The rates at Columbia's three hotels range from approximately $85 to $110 a night, with the Wingate expected to offer rooms in the $70 range.
Richards declined to say how much the Columbia Residence Inn would charge. But a clerk at the Residence Inn in Tysons Corner, Va., provided rates yesterday: $129 a night during the week and $79 a night on the weekend.
Karen Justice, executive director of the Howard County Tourism Council, welcomed news of the hotel. "Near Route 100 is where a lot of development is happening or planned," she said. "For business travelers, the hotel is right near an office park."
One local business that may use the hotel is GSE Systems Inc., near Snowden Square in Columbia. The company offers simulator training for nuclear power plant operators from around the world. The company often uses apartments in Columbia for lodging, said Bob Stroup, executive vice president.
He said he will consider using the new hotel to put up the power plant operators and other people who come to Columbia for training.
Pub Date: 7/18/96