Graduate Hotel Fayetteville, Arkansas
Will Ross, February 6, 2024
A hotel brand that embraces collegiate culture as the basis of its hospitality concept is validated in North-West Arkansas at Graduate, Fayetteville on the doorstep of the University of Arkansas. Located in the neighboring hometown of Walmart, the Graduate in Fayetteville welcomes entire teams and their supporters, bound for the Ozarks to compete in varsity sports.
A college baseball team from North Carolina occupied two dozen rooms during my stay, also beating their University of Arkansas opponents at a diamond not half a mile from Graduate. Orderly post-match festivities followed at the hotel bar, fully expressing the hotel’s hospitality offering. What you would expect to be a empty, cavernous hotel lounge was filled with parents and their athlete-children tenderly browsing the drinks menu.
This kind of convention at Graduate may put off some, yet it’s proven the stable foundations for a hospitality company that’s now in over 30 college towns. Whereas most hotels rely on weekend traffic and consistent business trade, Graduate receives a steady flow of healthy bookings through traveling sports teams. The presence of Walmart and Tyson Foods in nearby Bentonville also helps – Graduate’s pricing if favourable compared with the paucity of options further north.
The hotel is located in one of Fayetteville’s larger structures, an eight-storey 1980s build that was renovated and opened by Graduate Hotels in 2019 with 234 bedrooms. Room types cover a narrow span ranging from good to spacious (luxury and diminutive ends of the spectrum haven’t been included). Interiors are quirky and eclectic, embracing a nostalgic version of collegiate history to entertain alumni without putting off outsider guests.
An indoor-outdoor hotel pool is included on the rooftop, and a 24-hour fitness center includes treadmill, Peloton bikes and dumbbells and barbells to platform peak gyms days.
Make a note of Onyx Coffee Lab who run several specialty coffee venues in North-West Arkansas including Fayetteville, Bentonville and Rogers. The Meteor Cafe is a cycling institution with venues in both Bentonville and Fayetteville (same outfit as Austin and Dallas).
Runners are gifted with trails throughout Fayetteville, with the pristine facilities of University of Arkanas’ Razorbacks nearby. UoA has both outdoor and indoor tracks, John McDonnell Field and Randal Tyson Track Center (Google Maps), respectively. For uninterrupted runs, dock with 40-mile Razorback Regional Greenway at Fayetteville Public Library The Greenway connects Fayetteville with Bentonville and Kessler Mountain on a north-south axis (PDF map). Half Marathon and 10K races take place during the first weekend of December – Fayetteville Half Marathon.
North-West Arkansas is unusually represented by mountain biking, gravel and road cycling. The Walton Family investment arm RZC bought Rapha in 2017 after years of investing in the cycling infrastructure. Razorback Regional Greenway is a key gateway for cyclists heading out of town to the north. Fayetteville Ale Trail is also well mapped if you’re looking for a venue to finish a Summer or Fall ride.
Cyclists visiting Fayetteville can rent road and gravel bikes from Phat Tire Bike Shop. Phat Tire organize group rides for mountain bikers and road cyclists. Alternatively, join local cycling club The Fayetteville Wheelmen or Meteor for their group rides.
University of Arkansas’ UREC run a “Natatorium” aquatics facility has a 50m pool, open to visitors for $15 per session. Find swimming pool hours on their website here. During summers (from May to September), the public 50m Wilson Park Pool is also worth noting.
For more information, visit graduatehotels.com. Review based on a stay in room #415 in April 2022.