Graduate Hotels are targeting college towns across the United States to offer guests a chance to relive their college experiences. The hotel will include a bar and restaurant inspired by local art collections and 100 to 150 rooms filled with handcrafted items and rates slightly above the area’s limited-service hotels.
AJ Capital Partners of Chicago is teaming up with Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners to invest about $500 million to offer 20 hotels over the next five years. The goal is to appeal to people coming back to college to attend sporting events, reunions or school visits for their kids, said chief executive of AJ Capital Partners Ben Weprin. Graduate Hotels will also cater to people doing business with the universities or firms in the area. The aim is to focus on school spirit but also the local color that reflects the cultural roots of the area.
Graduate is converting the Foundry Park Inn & Spa in Athens, Georgia to include vintage ceramic lamps in the shape of the University of Georgia’s bulldog mascot and REM and B-52s’ album covers. The Tempe hotel will include an ant farm behind the front desk to represent Arizona State University’s well-known social insects department.
Graduate is aiming to target a slightly older crowd than the industry favorite, which is millenials. Graduate hopes to reach a more affluent crowd, the 35- to 45-year-olds, which could be a few more years removed from college and therefore more nostalgic for their college glory days.