We just returned from a 4 night stay July 27-July 31 in room 132 of the Lodge. My expectations were set VERY low, as this was a Priceline Express Deal for $50 a night & I didn't know that this was the hotel until after I paid. The Lodge has definitely seen better days, as there was wood rot everywhere outside and along the entrance doors and bugs in the stairwell leading out to the pool. Staff was also observed spraying air freshener up and down the hallway, yet bypassing room service trays and glasses that were left in the hallway overnight. It was almost an indignant attitude towards the dirty dishes, "not my job". Hotel cleanliness is EVERY employees job.
There was also no way to get the luggage cart to our room. There were several ways to get to our room, but all involved stairs. Not many steps, as little as 3, but if you have a hard time with steps, you should ask to stay in the Tower.
The Lodge rooms are located very close to the Outdoor pool, which was a plus. The pool was great, plenty big enough to swim laps and it's 8.5' deep at the deep end, having both ladders and steps to enter/exit. It was not heated, so the water could get a little cold. We took advantage of poolside food service one evening and it arrived hot/fresh and was pretty good. Prices are similar to ball game and bill includes 18% tip and delivery charge, so be careful when signing for your checks. Personally I thinking charging a delivery charge for room service is bush, by definition room service includes delivery. Was there an option for me to pick it up? The towels are provided and they are a nice size.
The room was adequately sized for me and my 2 small kids, but the beds were only full size so me and one son were a little squished as they would not deliver a rollaway, citing fire hazards, but seemed like plenty of room for a rollaway. In defense of the hotel, the Priceline deal does state that rooms will be guaranteed to sleep 2.
Location for our needs was top notch. A little closer to Balt then DC, but perfect for our needs since we went to ballgames in DC and Balt. Also, located on the lake was very scenic, although there isn't much a view from the Lodge. There is also a walking/exercise path that goes along the lake and through the woods. There are also paddle boats for rent near the hotel, but not affiliated with the hotel.
There were 2 restaurants in the hotel, but we didn't eat there (except for poolside delivery) as it was a little expensive for us. The bar had Happy Hour and pints of Sam Adams were only $4 during HH. The Columbia Mall is a short drive away and there are typical food court options inside the mall, as well as a movie theater, Pizzeria Uno and Cheesecake Factory outside the Mall.
Staff was very friendly and polite, but we had very limited interaction with them due to the Lodge having separate access points than the Tower. There was free parking in a 3 level covered garage, but there is closer outdoor parking to the Lodge.
There were plenty of banquet rooms and getting to The Lodge from the main hotel takes you right through any reception that is going on at the time. This was a little odd to me, as I'm pushing a full luggage cart right through the middle of someone's reception.
The gym seemed well equipped, with treadmills, elliptical machines and bikes. Both the pool and gym are located in the lodge and a bit of a walk from The Tower.
Overall, I was very pleased with the room, location, staff and our experience, but then again I was paying $50 a night through Priceline. I would definitely stay at this hotel again at those prices, but at $139-$150 a night, I'd probably look elsewhere. (this is only for the Lodge, as I have no idea what The Tower rooms cost). To the staffs credit, at no time did they make us feel inferior, or treat us differently because we were Priceline customers.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck.