The Graduate Oxford is a collegiate-themed hotel in the heart of Oxford, MS.
You’ll dream sweet dreams about your college days at the Graduate hotel in Oxford, MS, home to the University of Mississippi–affectionately known as Ole Miss.
The Graduate is a growing chain of boutique hotels near notable college and university campuses around the country. Think Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. Or Eugene and the University of Oregon. So far, I’ve stayed at three, and I’ve loved them all. Each hotel is collegiate-themed while paying tribute to local traditions, history and lore. Some are new construction, like the Graduate Oxford, and others are renovations of existing properties.
(I spent four nights at the Graduate Oxford during a recent media visit sponsored by Visit Oxford while on assignment for Where to Retire magazine.)
Located a block off the vibrant downtown Square, the 136-room Graduate Oxford reflects both the city’s literary culture and the university’s sports acclaim. The red brick facade and wide concrete staircase at the entrance is reminiscent of a college educational building. An expansive lobby is floored in pink wire-brush oak planks and configured with comfy seating areas. An elongated community table invites hours of study and computer work. A large kiosk wrapped in bookcases and stacked with vintage reads resembles a library checkout desk. On one side is reception, and on the other is the chic lobby bar.
Many of the design details are subtle references. The lobby paintings were done by local artists. The black and white tiles at the entrance are entwined with stylized H’s and T’s. They stand for “Hotty Toddy,” the long-time cheer of Rebels fans. Keycards to the guest rooms are designed like student photo IDs, and the names and photos are of notable alums.
It helps to know at least a little bit about local football history, which I didn’t. The Manning football dynasty is huge in Oxford, starting with Archie, an Ole Miss quarterback who became an NFL great during the 1970s. Two of his sons, Eli and Peyton, followed in his footsteps. Tributes to the family and other star athletes are integrated within the decor. A suite is named after Charlie Conerly Jr., an alum and New York Giants quarterback in the 1950s.
Football isn’t the only inspiration for Graduate Oxford. Gracing the walls are copies of sketches by Nobel Prize-winning author and late Oxford resident William Faulkner and depictions of mockingbirds, the Mississippi state bird.
My room was was styled as though it came directly from Fraternity Row. The polka dot carpeting, plaid upholstered lounge chair and stereo cabinet turned into a dresser set a vintage preppy mood. The bed was dressed with matching pinstripe dust ruffle and upholstered headboard, and white linens.
The side tables were overturned steamer trunks topped with lamps fashioned from trophies. On the desk were a retro dial telephone and architect’s lamp, the latest technology back in the day. The bath was entirely modern and stocked with Malin + Goetz toiletries.
In addition to the lobby bar, Graduate Oxford has two restaurants: Cabin 82, on the lobby level, is a coffee cafe with an old-timey Americana vibe and seasonal patio dining for breakfast and lunch.
The Coop is a rooftop lounge and eatery serving light bites and craft cocktails along with impressive views of the Square. It’s named for the eldest Manning son, Cooper, who did not play professional football.
The pet-friendly Graduate Oxford also has a 24-hour fitness center, complimentary bicycle loans and plenty of free parking. Hotty Toddy!
Graduate Oxford, 400 N. Lamar Blvd., Oxford MS 38655
(Many thanks to the Graduate Oxford and Visit Oxford MS for the hospitality!)
Here’s a link to my post about the Graduate Ann Arbor.