Graduate Hotels Offers Plenty of “Back to School” Nostalgia for Travelers

Graduate hotel
Chalkboards, stodgy university logos, and faded faculty headshots — all hardly the stuff of a chic boutique hotel.

But Graduate Hotels is wringing a healthy dose of nostalgia from the phrase “back to school.” Located in some of the country’s most university-centric small cities, the brand’s boutique hotels are unlike any in the United States. With a focus on local cuisine and beverage and what makes each university unique, the brand elevates collegiate nostalgia to an art form.

The world’s largest and most recognized hotel brands — Starwood, Hilton, Marriott — understand that guests want their lodging with plenty of local flavor. But, there’s often a limpness and a disconnect in their execution. Mass-produced, black and white photos of Don Ho on the bedroom walls in Honolulu; a painted triptych of Elvis in the hotel lobby in Memphis; or a Texas Longhorn-inspired cocktail lounge in a hotel outside Houston. These are all enough to show that someone took the time to execute the finer details, but not the passion. The decor often feels researched and shopped from a catalog entitled “Essential Vaguely Local Hotel Artifacts.” Graduate Hotels, on the other hand, is altogether different. The brand pulls clever inspiration for their hotels from the heart of some of the country’s most notable college towns. From Ann Arbor to Athens to Tempe, the rooms, the lobbies, the restaurants all feel distinctly, undeniably local.

Graduate hotel

The devil is in the — albeit quirky — details. Graduate Ann Arbor, for example, is home to the Allen Rumsey Super Club — a nod to the city’s founders that’s bedecked in tartan carpeting, green pleather club chairs, and a one-of-a-kind retro/industrial neon chandelier perched above it all. Many dishes are prepared table-side and Fish Fry Fridays and an old school Lazy Susan (relishes, pickles, breads and spreads, and Great Lakes catches) are traditional house specialties.

Over every bed at Graduate Charlottesville hangs a wahoo — a fish that can allegedly drink more than its body weight in water. It’s a not-so-subtle tip of the cap to the students’ legendary drinking capacity.

Graduate hotel

Chalkboards at Georgia’s Graduate Athens are covered in scientific formulas for sweet tea — the state’s most popular beverage. You won’t find that level of detail anywhere near a Holiday Inn.

The micro-hotel chain is currently in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Oxford, Mississippi; Charlottesville, Virginia; Tempe, Arizona; Lincoln, Nebraska; Madison, Wisconsin; and Athens, Georgia. By 2019, new locations are set to open in Berkeley, California; Richmond, Virginia; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Seattle, Washington; Bloomington, Illinois; and Roosevelt Island, New York.

Travel

Ski Butlers are a Thing. We Went to the Rockies to Find Out What they Do and Why

Why the saviest skiers and smartest shredders enlist the help of a ski butler to service and set up their gear.
Auto

Porsche’s Rebirthed 935 is Ready to Devour Racetracks Whole

The 935 Clubsport has racing air jacks that can pop the car up, and slam it back down, for when you need to pit quickly.
Food & Drink

The New Little Book Whiskey Release is a True Winner that Won’t Last Long

Little Book Chapter 2 is a blend of Kentucky rye and extra-aged Canadian whiskies and it does not disappoint.
Culture

Fall Reading List: 10 Books to Read in October for Chills and Thrills

Poe, Dante, and King... the boys are back in town.
Travel

The Woodman’s Treehouse Has Everything You Want, Including a Pizza Oven

The ultimate escape for a weekend of reliving your childhood, there’s also hammocks, a slide, and a rooftop hot tub.
Travel

4 of the World’s Smallest Countries and Why You Should Visit Them

From breathtaking to downright weird, these tiny countries are well worth a visit.
Travel

Belize Announces World’s First Nationwide Hide-and-Seek Competition

Cave exploring, trekking Mayan ruins, snorkeling with whale sharks — everyone comes out a winner in this competition.
Travel

Avoid Jet Lag By Learning How to Sleep Anytime, Anywhere

With a little help from some of the world’s most adept sleepers, here are of our favorite tips.
Travel

Why Fall is the Best Time to Visit Chattanooga Tennessee

Like rock climbing? How about beer? Fried chicken? Well, then it is time to visit Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Outdoors

HoverGlide Is a Clever ‘Floating’ Backpack Designed to Save Your Spine

It might sound like infomercial-flavored nonsense but it's rooted in sound science.
Travel

Romotow Is a Futuristic Travel Trailer With a Hidden ‘Party Deck’

One button turns this sleek travel trailer into an eight-person, off-grid party pad.
Travel

New Brightline Train Will Connect Vegas to Southern California in Just 2 Hours

Soon you'll be able to spend a lot more time feeding your face at the casino's questionable seafood buffet.
Travel

A New Class of Retro Designer Motels Recalls California’s Bygone Surf Era

Embrace an endless summer of sick surfer hair, salty beach air, and some of the world's best breaks.
Outdoors

Elite Sniper School: Shoot at a Mile-long Target in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Fewer than 10,000 people in history have joined the "One Mile Club."