There is a new spot in a familiar location on the UConn Storrs campus for lodging, events, and socializing.
Graduate Storrs hotel opened for business on September 12, and is located in the former Nathan Hale Inn, but the property has a brand-new look to it – both inside and out, thanks to approximately $10 million of renovations.
Graduate Hotels are located in university-anchored towns across the United States. Each hotel spotlights the heritage of its unique location through nods to the local community. Since the hotels launched in 2014, UConn is the 26th Graduate Hotel location, with an additional nine set to open by the end of 2021.
“It’s an honor to open Graduate Storrs in the heart of the historic University of Connecticut campus, amidst the students, professors and visitors that bring such character and spirit to this University,” says Ty Coleman, the Graduate Storrs general manager. “We’re thrilled to now have our doors open and look forward to continuing to ingrain ourselves within this inspiring and dynamic community.”
Coleman is a Niantic native who has over 25 years of experience in the hotel business in Connecticut.
The property was originally built on UConn-owned land in 2000 and operated by a private development company as the Nathan Hale Inn, meeting a decades-old need for a hotel on the Storrs campus. UConn bought the hotel from the development company in 2015, and three years later began the search for a new company to invest in the hotel and operate it.
Graduate Hotels was selected as the company to purchase the hotel from the University with the promise of renovations.
“There is a lot to be said about Graduate Hotels as a brand, and one is that it is very specific to college locations,” says UConn Director of Real Estate and Regional Projects Robert Corbett. “Their sole focus as a company is being around colleges and interacting with students and visitors. The renovation that they have done to the hotel is transformational.”
Visitors to Graduate Storrs will walk into a completely renovated and wide-open lobby area with an eight-foot statue of Jonathan the Husky right up front. The floor is made of reclaimed basketball court flooring and the front desk of basketball-textured leather. There are paintings of former Husky men’s and women’s basketball legends, including Caron Butler, an investor in the company.
The Trophy Room, a full-service bar and restaurant, is located off the lobby and is a signature Graduate Hotels concept. It also features many basketball-themed items, and its back wall contains thousands of white pencils as a backsplash. The restaurant and bar will offer coffee and grab-and-go items throughout the day and light bites, wine, beer and refreshments in the evening. The food and beverage services at Graduate Storrs are scheduled to open later in the fall.
Graduate Storrs also built a permanent addition to the building to accommodate banquets and events. It is located where a three-season tented area used to exist. Meeting rooms were also completely renovated.
The 100 guest rooms have an elevated residential feel, layering shades of blue with collegiate plaids, along with art depicting various university legends. Pillows on the beds feature hand-embroidered basketball courts, while lampshades have an image of the late Ron Palillo ’72 (CLAS), who starred in the television sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter” as Arnold Horshack.
A silo-shaped lamp base is designed in honor of UConn’s agricultural history. Custom bathroom wallpaper depicts scenes from around campus, including notable buildings, student snowball fights, and husky puppies.
For more information about Graduate Storrs, visit www.graduatehotels.com/storrs