Graduate Hotel – Chapel Hill

The Graduate Hotel

Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

On our Spring visit to North Carolina to visit our son and daughter-in-law, one day Lynn and I went on our own to Chapel Hill when both of our hosts were busy living their daily lives. We arrived on time for lunch and then strolled along West Franklin Street. Walking on the south side of the street, we came upon a set of large revolving doors. From our vantage point in front of the building, we couldn’t see what the building housed, but looking in, it appeared to be a hotel lobby. With nothing better to do, we stepped inside.

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Reception desk

Immediately upon entering, we saw the reception desk and a smiling host. We’d never heard of Graduate Hotels before, and the friendly lady behind the counter told us that they are a chain of hotels that basically serve “university-driven towns” around the globe. She said to us that each hotel is designed around the local culture of the city in which they are located.

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Lobby mural

I was enamored with the artwork in the lobby directly across from the reception desk. A mural on the wall features an image of a North Carolina beach. It is framed in an interesting fashion that I’m not sure how to describe, so I’ll leave you with your own thoughts as to how to describe the design.

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Mike Jordan

Around the corner from the lobby, a $5 check is displayed and a nearby plaque tells the story. You can read the entire story on the plaque by visiting my Flickr site. As the story goes, in 1984, then-collegiate Michael Jordan got into a pickup game. He was up $25 when a second friend joined the game and started winning. Jordan called it quits after he was down to being owed $5, and the $5 check was the pay-off on the game. There was no mention of the name of the player who was beating Jordan just six days before his final NCAA game, and soon to become the number 3 draft pick for the Chicago Bulls.

The receptionist had one more surprise for us. She commented, “You should stop up on the third floor and look around.” Wasting no time, we headed to the elevators. Getting off at level 3, it looked very much like any third-floor hotel hallway with rooms on either side.

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Basketball court

Walking a short way down the hall, the hallway opened up to show a large carpeted area complete with a carpeted basketball court. The basketballs on the rack in the background are not what they seem. When you pick one up, you will realize they are more like nerf balls, soft on the inside with a basketball pattern material on the exterior. No, I’m not ready for a pickup game with Michael Jordan. >grin<

Click on any of the images above to view them in 2K HD. Click here to visit my Flickr album to see the entire gallery including the plaque that tells all about that Michael Jordan pickup game.

John Steiner


  1. What a pleasant surprise, all because you had a little bit of time, and opened the door. I am not sure how to describe the art work either, but I like how it sets on the wall. Very interesting. A museum masked as a hotel, or maybe the other way around.

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