AMERICA'S COOLEST COLLEGE TOWN HOTELS

From historic Southern charmers to mountainside escapes, these are the most beautiful places for alums to bed down.

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Longhorn fans can keep their cool by dipping into this luxury resort’s saltwater pool or visiting next-door’s Lady Bird Lake. Southwestern vibes, cozy leather chairs, and an impressive wine list at seafood and steak restaurant Trio make this Austin darling—just blocks from downtown—worthy of any visit to the University of Texas at Austin.

The Study at Yale, New Haven, CT


Brainy Bulldogs will feel right at home at this boutique hotel on campus, where periodicals, packed bookshelves, and plush reading chairs make it easy to hole up indoors. Big, bright windows look out onto the campus’s stunning gothic architecture. Book early (maybe by a few years) for graduation weekends.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA


Rugged coastlines? Fresh farm-to-table fare? A nearby U.S. Open golf course? Triple check. For UC San Diego alum, the only way to top the surf and sun from their student years is a stay in this La Jolla gem, planted among the sandstone formations and aromatic pine trees of the Torrey Pines State Reserve.

The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, NC


Visitors come for the porch alone at this historic colonial hotel, originally modeled after George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon. Located within University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus, the building exudes southern hospitality and is a home base for Tar Heel friends and family looking to connect under antique touches and school memorabilia.

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, MO


You won’t find beer pong at this Ritz, just a stone's throw from Washington University’s campus and the mammoth Forest Park (home to the St. Louis Art Museum and St. Louis Zoo), but you still may never want to leave. Stick around for gorgeous views of the St. Louis skyline, afternoon tea, or watch the end of a ballgame with a whisky in hand from the comfort of the Cigar Room.

Union Station Hotel, Nashville, TN


There are plenty of trendy hotels to pick from in Music City, but for a serious slice of Nashville history, stay in this restored 19th-century railway station turned hotel near Vanderbilt University, where a 65-foot stained-glass ceiling greets you in the entryway and each of the 125 rooms has its own character.

The St. Julien Hotel and Spa, Boulder, CO


After a quick University of Colorado Boulder campus tour (leave time for skiing, hiking, or biking in the Rockies), unwind at the St. Julien Hotel and Spa downtown, where the 10,000-square-foot spa sanctuary includes indigenous ingredients and plenty of steam for sore muscles.

Morris Inn, South Bend, IN


This home base for Irish fans during University of Notre Dame football weekends mimics the Gothic-style architecture found on the rest of campus, and sits just steps away from the iconic Golden Dome, Basilica, picturesque quads, and St. Mary’s lake. (A treat even if you don’t bleed gold and blue.)