Calling All Tennessee Volunteers: Take a Peek Inside the Brand-New University of Tennessee Themed Hotel
The Graduate Hotels is a rapidly expanding brand featuring a collection of hotels in university-anchored towns across the United States. Each location boasts one of a kind décor that pays tribute to the home team—literally. Their newest hotel opened its doors this August, bringing this unique brand of school spirit to Knoxville. This will be the must-stay location for any true blue, or shall we say orange, Tennessee Volunteer. Ben Weprin, CEO & Founder of the Graduate Hotels, and a UT alum himself, spoke to Southern Living about bringing Graduate Knoxville back to his alma mater. “We take it as a real honor to celebrate each one of these markets and communities and when you get to do your own alma mater, it’s like an elevated experience really.” He further explained what this experience will mean for others who loved their college experience as he did and return to east Tennessee to revisit old memories. He also touched on elevated importance of nostalgia as we navigate through the coronavirus pandemic.
“At UT it’s V.F.L., ‘Vol for Life’ and it is so true. Once you go there and you experience it, you’re forever. So, the idea of coming back to college. Making a new memory in an old place, we call it ‘newstalgia’ and it is super valuable in these times.”
Check in and Come Aboard
One of the unique touches you’ll find at Graduate Knoxville is what you will see right when you walk in the door. The front desk is designed to replicate one of the Vol Navy boats that take to the Tennessee River on game days.
An Ideal Location
The Graduate Knoxville is located right on The Strip on Cumberland Avenue, just blocks from the campus of The University of Tennessee and Neyland Stadium.
Team Spirit Even in Slumber
The color palette celebrating Tennessee Orange with touches of blue and white carries through the entire hotel, including the guest rooms.
A Cozy Spot to Gather
This room has plenty of space to gather the gang and map out your itinerary or maybe just to sing a few rounds of “Rocky Top” to get pumped for the game.
Grab Some Grub at Saloon 16
The hotel is also home to Peyton Manning’s first restaurant, Saloon 16. Put on some cowboy boots and step on into this western inspired spot for some elevated bar fare, country music on the juke box, and a three-dimensional history lesson of Peyton Manning’s football origins. You can read all about it here.
A Collection Like No Other
This isn’t your normal sports bar with some generic, replicated items on the walls. Everything you will see in Saloon 16 came directly from Peyton Manning’s personal collection. “I really think this space is, if Peyton were to build a saloon in his basement this is exactly what it would look like,” Weprin said.
Where Art and Sports Collide
Manning isn’t the only famous alum who is spotlighted here. There is also a gallery wall in the lobby featuring custom cartoon drawings by two-time Pulitzer finalist and UT grad, Marshall Ramsey.