The moment I laid eyes on the arcade-size Ms. Pac-Man machine and black board wall (complete with basket of chalk) in my suite at Graduate Athens, I knew that this sleep spot was easily the coolest hotel concept to ever come to Athens, Ga.
Recently, I returned to my hometown (about an hour and a half drive from the ATL) to check out the property, which, oddly enough, was once the seedy hotel where my friends and I would drink a few wine coolers before hitting up our high school formals. But from the moment I drove up to hotel registration, I got a taste of the many University of Georgia-inspired touches that will keep me and other alumni coming back.
That’s where the hotel’s cool factor comes from. Graduate Hotels is a collection of properties that reside in college towns across the country (think places like Athens, Tempe, Ariz., and Oxford, Miss.) and aim to offer “an intellectual return to the glory days of college.” (Design elements at the Athens version range from tasteful UGA lamps to art work based on scientific formulas.)
And there’s the added bonus that the property is just a short walk away from downtown, which is perfect if you’re headed to the Classic City for a home game or a night on the town. Read on to find out a few of the other reasons why I think Graduate Athens is just the place for you to park your head on a pillow the next time you’re in Athens.
The Rooms. Like I said, the 122 rooms on this property are some of the coolest I’ve seen. Just as the website promises, the decor blends traditional southern decor and a hint of history, with an infusion of the artistic culture and music heritage that Athens is known for. (For example, I had a record player and a crate of records to rock out to in my suite.) And the best thing is that the rooms are just as cozy as they are cool. You’ll find flat screen HD TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, refrigerators and coffee makers, and Malin & Goetz toiletries. And based on my experience, I’d say splurge on booking the King Suite. It’s tucked away by the hotel’s pool and features a living area and bedroom that were so appealing I didn’t want to leave the entire weekend.
The Spa. Need a little R&R? Head to the Graduate Athens spa. I enjoyed a 50-minute Swedish massage with Ron that provided my tight muscles with some much-needed TLC. And in addition to a variety of massage options, the spa menu also includes wrap, exfoliation, facial, and nail treatment options. So, go ahead — treat yourself.
The Food. Of course, there are tons of eating options within walking distance of the hotel. But, you’ve also got a few on-property choices that will make your taste buds happy. Wander into the Iron Works Coffee in the lobby to enjoy a breakfast sammy and a shot of espresso. Or, in the late afternoon, it’s the perfect spot to partake in a happy hour cocktail. For a delicious dinner, just head to The Foundry Bar & Mill to partake in tastes like Munson’s Cheesy Chicken Dippers, the Swiss and smoked bacon grilled chicken sammy, or the blue crab mac & cheese. Added bonus? The Foundry is also a great spot to take in a little live music with your bites and craft cocktails. Talk about the perfect way to end your Classic City day.
To book your stay at Graduate Athens, visit graduateathens.com.