The Graduate Tempe was our home away from home for a few days during the Mr and I’s last trip to Phoenix. The Downtown Tempe hotel is situated across the street of one of the largest universities in the country- Arizona State University. Like her nine (with more on the way) other sisters in the Graduate family, she was created for students and travelers alike; while also residing in the country’s most progressive college towns. Each hotel’s design is a thoughtful nod to nostalgic school days, while also giving acknowledgment to the town in which it resides.
The Tempe location is a 140-room building that used to be a Howard Johnsons in the 1970s. Then it became Twin Palms in 1994, before the final renovation to Graduate Tempe in 2014. The property was modeled after a 1970s tourist stop, with a Southwest twist. The designers collected artwork locally (while also trying to stay true to that particular era), through various aspects, such as: yard sales, Goodwill, and other thrift shops, estate sales, etc. The walls of the elevators resemble a cork board that could be found in a teachers lounge. The front desk is decorated with all the pages of Darwin’s The Origin of Species. A vacant desert-themed ant farm hangs proudly behind the reception. A local sketch artist designed the ‘People Paper’ wallpaper in the guest bathrooms. Since the hotel has some ties to the adjacent university, there are also subtle designs located within the property that pays tribute to the university, such as that the room keys that feature ASU alumni. The Normal Diner (which used to be an IHOP) was named after the school’s original name, Normal School of Teaching. The honeycomb pattern in the ballroom flooring and lighting pays tribute to ASUs Arts and Science school. Another nice touch in the reception area is that each agent on duty has a framed mini-bio at their station. The first floor also boasts a 24-hour fitness room and a small business area. Ride a separate elevator up to the top floor, where you’ll find the ballroom, rooftop bar, and event space.
Graduate Tempe believes in being the “living room” of the community, in that they source the artwork and food locally; they also try to involve the community in any way they can. For example, they have lobby activations for the students during graduation or finals; game nights and live music nights. The public is also invited to spend the day at the pool, they just have to make a purchase at Tapacubo Poolside Cantina.
The hotel is also dog-friendly, so be sure to let them know when you book your stay. You’ll receive a complimentary BarkBox upon check-in. Inside the box, you’ll find school themed goodies for your pooch. You’ll also receive a bowl and blanket for your dog to use during the stay.
I really enjoyed my stay at the hotel. I’d definitely have to say that the lobby was my favorite part of the property. Just seeing all the different pieces of artwork (still) has me obsessing over having the ultimate #wallgoals and scouring all the thrift shops and such for fun and amazing pieces of art. I also loved the colorful and multi-patterned couches, as well as the other Mid-Century inspired furnishings. Every aspect of that lobby was tied together perfectly. The room was cozy, and offered a great view of the city from the balcony. There was an in-room small refrigerator and iron with an ironing board that we found ourselves actually using quite often during our stay. Malin + Goetz toiletries provided a refreshing zen vibe after a long day of running around the city.
Scroll down for a photo tour!
The photo collage above was taken at the Normal Diner back in 2016, when I had the opportunity to eat there (as I didn’t have the chance this time around). I LOVED the service and the food! It’s definitely a cute little place to eat!