Graduate Hotels are popping up across the United States in university towns from coast to coast and through the heartland. The eleventh version of this brand just opened, and twenty are projected to be welcoming guests by 2020. Each is uniquely suited to its geographical location with plenty of ties to the nearby university. During a stay at the Graduate Oxford, Mississippi, guests will find it to be both comfortable and full of Oxford and University of Mississippi subtleties.
Modern comfort with nostalgic touches
The guest rooms at the Graduate Oxford, Mississippi, are designed with ultimate comfort in mind while carrying out themes of days gone by. Bedside tables resemble footlockers, and the clothes closets have locker-style doors. Lamps have trophies for their base, and an old-fashioned rotary phone sits on the work desk.
Under the bathroom sink, metal baskets are used to hold plush towels and a hair dryer. Those baskets harken back to school days of old, but the luxurious toiletries by Malin and Goetz and tiled showers add to a pampered experience.
Room access cards look like student identification cards, and the photos and names given are those of past University of Mississippi stars.
Busy lobby full of students, parents and guests
The Graduate Hotel owners and designers want their lobbies to represent “the living room of the community,” a place where students and their parents or guests can relax or study. Some even use this as their office space. Lots of lounge seating is provided and tables for computers. The hotel provides free Wi-Fi for students and for guests in the hotel and even offers free snacks during exam weeks at the end of each semester.
The reception desk suggests one that might be found in a library, and it utilizes a book theme because of Oxford’s literary history.
The pink floor color is surprising but somehow works beautifully to carry out the vibe of the hotel. The eclectic mix of prints and patterns in the carpet and upholstery suggest Southern fashion, especially on game days in The Grove, University of Mississippi’s favorite place to tailgate before home football games in the fall.
Coffee shop, sidewalk cafe and rooftop bar
Located near the lobby is a coffee shop called Cabin 82. Inspiration for the decor comes from the yearly Neshoba County Fair, and a small but hearty breakfast and lunch menu is offered. Both indoor and outdoor seating takes advantage of the warm weather for which Mississippi is known, and the outdoor tables provide a perfect vantage point for all the happenings on North Lamar Boulevard.
On the top floor is a bar and restaurant called The Coop. As expected, the decor is chicken-themed, but the name actually comes from one of Oxford’s favorite people, Cooper Manning, who is also an investor in the hotel. The outdoor seating in this area is very popular when the temperatures are pleasant.
Both are relaxed, casual and inviting for students and Oxford visitors.
Art, history and pets
Art pieces by Charlie Buckley displayed in the lobby reflect his own Mississippi roots. One is a large multimedia work depicting The Grove, a large park on the university campus, on a football Saturday, and the other is a long, horizontal landscape of a rural road. Also on the walls are photos of famous Mississippians, such as Mary Ann Mobley, former Miss America, and Jake Gibbs, a baseball and football star.
Every guest room has a painting of Hoka, the Chickasaw princess who once owned the land where Oxford now sits and sold it to the town fathers for 1.25 USD an acre. Among the plush guest suites is one named for Willie Morris, a prolific Southern author from nearby Jackson, Mississippi.
Pet-friendly rooms are included among the 136 guest rooms at the Graduate Oxford. Visiting dogs receive a complimentary BarkBox when they are checked in with their owners. A BarkBox contains toys, treats, a bowl and a blanket.
Shops and restaurants within walking distance
Four restaurants owned by famed New Orleans chef John Currence are within a few blocks of the hotel: Big Bad Breakfast, Snack Bar, City Grocery and Boure. Oxford Canteen, Proud Larry’s, and Saint Leo are also notable choices for dining nearby.
Nielson’s is a large department store in the center of town, and three well-known bookstores are within steps of Nielson’s: Square Books, Off Square Books, and Square Books, Jr. For vinyl record enthusiasts, The End of All Music is only a short walk from the hotel.
Thorough representation of Oxford, Mississippi
The developers, designers and decorators for the Graduate Oxford, Mississippi did a splendid job of researching and understanding the town of Oxford, the culture of Mississippi and the atmosphere of the University of Mississippi. Students, parents and alumni appreciate the accuracy and attention to important details, and guests will enjoy the results. Towns and cities where major college campuses reside will likely clamor for their own version of this hotel brand.