When real estate developer (and former Starwood Hotels & Resorts executive) Paul McGowan was touring colleges with his daughter, he couldn’t find decent accommodations near the schools they visited. So he launched Study Hotels in 2008, with the Study at Yale. A modernist tower in Philadelphia followed, and the Study at University of Chicago is due in 2021. He’d found a void in the market: Plenty of college towns offer little more than a weathered chain hotel, with a floral comforter and a microwave, if you’re lucky. With Study Hotels, McGowan took aim at college-town visitors who long for something chicer. Others took notice. Graduate Hotels debuted in 2014 in a renovated foundry near the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens; now there are 19 Graduates, including Minneapolis, each waving a collegiate pennant in its design. Each offers a kind of cool kitsch. While big brands such as Hilton, Marriott and Nobu are starting to notice the vibrant culture of college towns, the independents — such as the Inn at Hastings Park, a five-year-old Relais & Châteaux property 15 miles from Boston that offers a cookbook course at Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library — are paving the way. Here are five prospects…. Read full this story
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