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A tour inside the new Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel

The new Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel is now open. Formerly the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel, the hotel closed for nearly two years for an extensive $30 million renovation, and reopened in November 2021 with a new name, new spaces, and many new amenities. These include a bar and lounge overlooking Lake Kittamaqundi, a café, a new restaurant (opening this Spring), 78 new rooms, a rooftop pool, new event space and perhaps the best outdoor dining location in Columbia. I toured the hotel to check it out, and I must say, I was quite impressed with the modern yet cozy spaces and fantastic views of the lake.

The 212-room Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel is part of the Marriott Autograph collection of hotels: independent-owned and operated, uniquely-branded, luxury upscale hotels. Owned by Columbia-local David Costello, president of Costello Construction, the Columbia hotel celebrates Columbia's natural beauty with nature-themed artwork and wildlife murals painted by local artists. Expansive windows provide lake views at every turn. The names of the hotel's four food and beverage venues are inspired by the habitats of local birdlife - The Rookery Bar and Lounge, Osprey Cafe, Lāk Restaurant, and Eagle Watch.


The Rookery Bar and Lounge is open now with food and beverage service starting at 5 PM every night of the week. The bar serves craft cocktails, beer, and wine and has an upscale bar menu. Floor to ceiling windows overlook the lake and there is a cozy brick fireplace and a door leading to the outdoor patio.

The Bar at The Rookery
Fireplace in The Rookery
The Rookery menu

Award-winning chef Adam Harper, formerly of Iron Bridge Wine Company and Mad Chef Kitchen & Bar, heads the kitchen for the Rookery and the not yet open restaurant. The 122-seat Lāk Restaurant will open in April and will feature seasonal menus of New American cuisine with global influences using local farm-fresh ingredients. A preview of Lāk is being served at the Rookery Bar, January 17 to 30, as part Howard County's restaurant week.

Entrance to Lāk from inside the hotel; there is also a separate outdoor entrance into the restaurant.
Lāk Restaurant interior features an open kitchen

Osprey Café includes a coffee bar and pastries made in-house by the hotel's own pastry chef. The café is open now every day from 7 AM to 2 PM. There are 4 dedicated parking spots right outside the café for public-use to park and quickly grab a coffee and pastry. The hotel encourages local residents to bring a laptop, invite a friend or colleague, or otherwise hang out, work, or socialize in the lobby, café, and bar space on the main level of the hotel.

The Osprey Cafe - Coffee and Pastries

The outdoor patio is huge with a great view of the lake, and food service is available. The hotel plans to add firepits for these colder months. A stairway leads down to the Lake, with plans to construct a path connecting to the Lakefront trail.

Patio overlooking the Lake.

Other amenities of the hotel include a fitness center, a rooftop pool with a killer view of the lake, and a new 80-person meeting room - The Merriweather Room. The two existing 400-person ballrooms have both been refreshed. A rooftop bar, Eagle Watch, will be complete by summer.


The hotel hopes to attract hotel guests coming to Columbia for a staycation or weekend gateway, particularly concert-goers to Merriweather Post Pavilion shows. The hotel has partnered with the acclaimed music venue and will soon be rolling out packages that include room nights, concert tickets, and dining credits. Concert posters and historic photos from Merriweather Post Pavilion performances are interspersed in hallways throughout the hotel. This will most certainly be the hotel of choice for performers playing Merriweather Post Pavilion and I'd imagine plenty of rock and pop stars will stay in the top-floor presidential suite (that includes a grand piano, kitchen, and two bathrooms).


The opening of the hotel has been marked with controversy with workers protesting the reopening. Former employees of the hotel, including housekeepers and banquet workers, were laid off prior to the renovation and have not been rehired. The labor union, Unite Here Local 7, has held protests and rallies outside the hotel where employees have demanded their job back. The union, joined by many local elected officials, have called for a boycott of the hotel.


Since it's reopened, the occupancy rate at the hotel has been low and few events have been held. Costello explained to me that as operations ramp up, significant hiring is planned, and the hotel will be looking to fill positions with the best people for the jobs, and encourages former employees to apply.

Rooftop Pool
Future location of Rooftop Bar - Eagle Watch
View from the pool
Looking down into the lobby from the top floor
Gym with Pelotons, cardio, free weights, and machines. Even some cool Merriweather concert art.
The Presidential Suite - Where Merriweather Performers are likely to stay
Hotel Lobby

6 Comments


Michael Oberman
Michael Oberman
Mar 05, 2022

Why is the heron pictured on the menu for the Rookery...a Tri-colored Heron? The Rookery in Columbia is the home for Great Blue Herons. Tri-colored Herons do not have rookeries in Maryland.

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Brian England
Brian England
Jan 16, 2022

When I shared this with a friend Jeremy he said “ I hope the era of rock bands trashing rooms is over”:). Did you ask about the PPP funds and who received them?

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Brian England
Brian England
Jan 16, 2022
Replying to

Oh my! “tidy bunch”! Certainly a great line up!

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Can you get a membership to the pool?

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