Graduate Hotels goes international with UK property

The 16-story hotel was formerly the Hotel Deca, and underwent a full renovation of its guestrooms, common areas, meeting and event spaces, fitness center and lobby to become the Graduate Seattle.
The Graduate Seattle, formerly the Hotel Deca, opened last year. Photo credit: Graduate Hotels

Graduate Hotels, a U.S.-based brand that operates exclusively in college towns across the country, is going international. Next year, it will open a hotel next to one of the oldest schools of higher learning in England, Cambridge University, as the company's first overseas property.  

The hotel will be a conversion of the 138-room DoubleTree by Hilton on the edge of Coe Fen Park and the River Cam. The property, recently acquired by Graduate's parent company AJ Capital, will continue to fly the DoubleTree flag until the end of the year, when it will launch a renovation that will help it reflect the historic university town. When complete, the hotel will have a swimming pool, a fitness center, a restaurant and the brand's signature Poindexter café and bar.

According to the Telegraph, Graduate has expressed interest in expanding to the University cities of Oxford and Manchester in England, Edinburgh and St. Andrews in Scotland and Dublin, Ireland. 

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Since Graduated launched five years ago, the company has opened 15 hotels and has another 17 slated to open by the end of 2020. Two Ivy League destinations are poised to join the portfolio: New Haven, Conn. (home to Yale University) and Palo Alto, Calif. (home to Stanford University.) 

Last year, Chris Gow, head of debt advisory at global real estate company JLL, noted the popularity of city-center projects for developments in the U.K., as these sites are "typically more predictable" and can generate income from both business and leisure guests. At the time, he said, JLL was closing deals not only in London, but in Edinburgh and Cambridge, as well as other cities. 

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