When some folks think of staying overnight at a college campus, they might picture a grim, austere bunk bed surrounded by cinderblock walls. Fortunately, these seven excellent on-site stays banish such thoughts. Warning: You might sign up for a few courses and stay a bit longer after a night or two.
You could go to the Statler Hotel and head out to explore nearby Cayuga Lake, the proper grounds of Cornell University, and the celebrated Moosewood Restaurant, but you would do just as well to stay put.With the expansive views of campus and monogrammed bedding, it’s not a bad idea to spend time in the large and inviting rooms. They also have the Cornell University Student Experience package, which includes a tour of campus, a souvenir tote bag, and an upgraded accommodation.
Even if you didn’t get to spend time as a Gopher, you’ll feel right at home in the bookish environs of The Commons Hotel, which happens to be right across the street from the University of Minnesota. It has a book concierge to help you choose the right tome and they will deliver selections directly to your room. Along with this edifying extra, you can also check out one of the bikes for a ride around campus—a great way to get the lay of the land.
To get in the Big 10 mood, folks planning on a visit to Madison would do well to book a room at The Edgewater. Located just a cheese curd’s throw from campus, the art moderne building went through a complete renovation in 2014. Visitors can prep for a game with a laid-back meal at Augie’s Tavern, which offers a variety of homemade sausages and the aforementioned cheese curds with chili-ranch sauce. Or to appreciate the autumn weather, guests can dine outside at The Boathouse. It’s the perfect place to watch sunset on Lake Mendota—so come early in the semester to watch the fall colors change.
Situated on the campus of one of America’s most prestigious colleges, The Williams Inn is surrounded by both the Berkshires and bright young minds. Along with their sumptuous continental breakfast, guests are also just a short walk away from the Clark Art Institute and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Evening time might find you around the communal hearth playing a board game or three while meeting new friends—or new students’ families.
A troika of Victorian-era mansions in Gainesville, Florida make up The Sweetwater Branch Inn. On the grounds, you’ll find a cadre of roaming cats (they’re friendly), along with The Sweet Tea restaurant, which features New Southern cuisine, complete with boiled peanuts. In the evening, guests can get acquainted with new friends via their complimentary wine hour. Visitors with an interest in nature will want to wander over to the Butterfly Rainforest at the University of Florida for edification and general tranquility.
While James Oglethorpe planned out the squares of Savannah, he would have been hard-pressed to imagine a dwelling as lovely as The Kehoe House. The furnishings are evocative of the Regency era, and you’d do well to check out the Johnny Mercer Room (named after that Tin Pan Alley Savannah native), which features a private balcony. The extensive extras include complimentary made-to-order breakfast and wine from 5-7 p.m.
While it’s not directly next to campus, it’s possible to have a fine Cavalier welcome at The Boar’s Head Inn, which features the rolling landscape that led Thomas Jefferson to start the University of Virginia almost 200 years ago. Visitors can take advantage of spa treatments like the “Back to School” massage special and also sign up for a tour of campus as part of a football weekend package.