I always felt like my college experience in Ireland was mediocre in comparison to watching American Hollywood movies.

Cut to slow-mo scenes of the make or break final kick in the football game of the season, in the gigantic college stadium supported by in-sync cheerleaders and passionate fans singing the local anthem, not to forget the furry mascot doing cartwheels in the background. Topped off by the concept of being a part of a sorority and fraternity which are non-existent where I am from. 

If the movies were anything to go by, the college experience in America had it all and was often the start of many people’s life stories from first loves to discovering their personal style or hidden passion. Although I never got to experience the American College years as a student (mine was the extreme opposite, I lived with my parents and commuted to College every day), I feel I get to dip my toes in it on a daily basis and live this experience through my client, Graduate Hotels.

Graduate Hotels is a collection of hotels located across America in college towns. Each property’s interior embodies the college experience with nods to local sports teams, music and historical people of interest, all elevated by the idea that ‘We are all Students’. The recently opened Nashville property, for example, has a rooftop pink paradise inspired by the legendary Dolly Parton and is a feast for the eyes.

Dolly Parton-themed hotel room

Everything about their locations is fun!

Julie Monaghan, Director of Client Engagement

I had the chance to visit my first Graduate property last August, when I went to Ann Arbor. This location is one of the most popular as it is literally across the street from the University of Michigan campus, so as close to an on campus experience as I could get. 

I had worked on the account for two years, so I knew the property from all I had seen on the website, but seeing it in real life was a whole different experience. The building proudly displays the blue and yellow Michigan flags and has bikes available outside for guests, which also boast the local teams colours. From the minute you walk into the reception, it feels like you have walked into your first day as a Freshman. There is a grand stretched out Harry Potter style table in the reception which was filled with business people working (as the students were still on vacation this time of year). 

Julie standing outside Graduate Ann Arbor
Hotel key cards and front desk information

The location of the hotel allowed me to explore Ann Arbor on foot, which was great for a flying visit. Ann Arbor is such a beautiful place with a real laid back feel to it, no two buildings are the same, the streets are decorated with a mix of crafty stores, charming coffee shops and an array of restaurants and bars for whatever you are craving.

Graduate Hotels are the definition of embodying a brand. When you arrive at the hotel you are instantly immersed in the history of that location and feel a part of the college community. Although I didn’t have the luxury of sleeping in for my lecture the next day, I enjoyed my chance to feel like a student again, especially without the hangover or late night study side of things.

Excited to visit Graduate hotels? Our Travel Initiative gives you the opportunity to explore historic American college towns at a discounted rate. Book your stay and receive 30% off. Learn more here.