The former Holiday Inn in the Haymarket district in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska has been transformed into the 16-storey, 231-room Graduate Lincoln, and the contrast could not be more striking or entertaining.

The MO of the Graduate hotel group is to locate each of its properties in a university-anchored city, which explains both the Lincoln’s proximity, two blocks, in fact, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campus; and its youthful and quirky visual cues to a spruced-up frat house. 

Clearly, the in-house design team led by Andrew Alford had a field day, working up each space with a great deal of grown-up humour, recalled through the lens of a stylish eye for detail. The lobby features a mix of timber floors, forest green tiles, slashes of red, white and blue, and arcade games, whilst the rooms mix and match corn-print fabric, retro TV nightstands, tartan carpets, and palm-print drapes.

The nostalgia is ramped up at John J’s Chow Hall, a 1940s-themed space inspired by “a scene for a play set in the South Pacific army barracks” which sets the stage for homespun American fare country steak and fried chicken, and Tiki-inspired cocktails. 

The second-floor pool, meanwhile, leads onto the rooftop game area where the past comes full circle with Foosball and ping-pong tables, and you half expect the Fonz to come strolling in.