COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A chair back with astronaut John Glenn’s face on it. A framed “Goosebumps” book cover written by Columbus native R.L. Stine. A replica of the Congressional gold medal depicting Olympian Jesse Owens.
Nods to Ohio’s history fill every corner of the Graduate Columbus, the Short North’s newest hotel.
With 171 rooms, the hotel at 750 N. High St. began welcoming guests Friday.
The hotel’s tributes to Ohio start in the lobby.
Instead of a traditional front desk, the Graduate offers a rendition of the presidential front desk, a salute to the eight U.S. presidents from Ohio. Behind it is a mural of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, instead featuring the faces of prominent Ohio athletes Jesse Owens, Jack Nicklaus, Archie Griffin and Katie Smith.
“We want it to be subtle enough but recognizable,” said Annamarie Moore, general manager of the new hotel. “The design team came in to see the space and then went shopping, picking up local, eclectic items.”
While Ohio State University isn’t the only thing the hotel celebrates, there is plenty of scarlet and gray, from the plaid couches to the chairs at the end of the table in the common area. Dropping from the ceiling, intermixed with the light fixtures, are dozens of silver instruments, a tribute to “The Best Damn Band in the Land.”
Moore said the hotel staff underwent a two-day “brand and culture” orientation, so staff can educate visitors about the pieces found throughout the hotel.
The Graduate Columbus is the 19th Graduate Hotel, and the group plans to have 23 locations open by the end of the year. Housing three layouts of rooms - the Graduate King, the Graduate Double-Double and the Studio Suite - the rooms start at $129 a night.
Serving coffee by day and cocktails by night, Poindexter Coffee, with its wall made out of No. 2 pencils, is attached to the hotel lobby. For heartier appetites, Shake Shack is on the other side of the lobby.
“We want to evoke conversations,” Moore said. “We want everyone to come here and enjoy. To us, it feels more like a living room.”
The hotel, which took over the low-income Bollinger Tower, is among several new hotels in the area.
A few blocks north, the Moxy Columbus is scheduled to open in October. To the south, workers broke ground in August on a new Hilton Tower. The AC hotel on Park Street is scheduled to open next year, and work is expected to begin next year on the North Market complex, which will also include a hotel. In addition, the Canopy by Hilton, across the street from the convention center, opened in July.
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