Smart digs in the heart of
Neighborhood: Two leafy blocks from Oxford’s historic square and cultural heart, the Graduate is also within walking distance (or a quick uber) of the town’s other big draws: the University of Mississippi campus and William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak.
Vibe: Relive your college days with cheeky touches like room keys that are phony school ID cards of famous Ole Miss alum, pennants as do-not-disturb signs, and actual students studying in the lobby—only with the creature comforts and stylish notes of a boutique hotel.
Digs: Founded with a mission to connect guests to the community, the Graduate brand fills a niche in university towns, where lodging options can be limited. One of six (soon to be twelve) properties in the mini-chain, the 136-room hotel is millennial chic—you won’t find any bellhops, but the Wi-Fi is fast and free and guests are welcome to pluck a book from the shelves of vintage classics in the lobby. Rooms are designed with a nod to the dorm of yore—think cheery plaid blankets and trunks that double as nightstands. But not all is tongue-in–cheek, like the cool art—William Faulkner sketches hang in the bathrooms—and Malin & Goetz toiletries. Rebels fans, plan ahead: the hotel books up for the big game weekends within 24 hours once the football schedule is released.
Rather than compete with Oxford’s restaurant scene, the Graduate offers two options that wisely bookend it. In the morning, grab a coffee and a hangover breakfast sandwich (pulled pork, pepper jack mornay, a sunny-side egg, and chow chow on texas toast) at Cabin 82, a casual café off the lobby. And in the evenings, wind down with a nightcap at the Coop—they make a mean moscow mule—a rooftop bar with a killer view of the Square. Go off campus for lunch and dinner.
A perfectly charred burrata and soppressata pizza at the cozy Saint Leo, one of the Square’s newest restaurants, will hold you over till happy hour. Snackbar is a good walk from the hotel, but worth it for its Indian-meets-Southern nibbles: the Gujarati-spiced stewed black eye peas with fenugreek dumplings pair well with a French 75 or two. Dinner brings you back to the Square, where City Grocery is an Oxford institution for a reason, like the Mississippi rabbit ragù with housemade pappardelle and pecan-parsley pesto.
Where to eat
With its reclaimed barn wood walls and patch quilt upholstery, the campy Cabin 82 accommodates late risers with breakfast till 2 pm.
The new kid on the Square, Saint Leo was recently named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant award.
Start with a few spicy bites at Snackbar, then head to local favorite City Grocery on the Square. Cap the night off at the Coop, the hotel’s rooftop bar.
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