It's that time of year again: the time when fresh-faced, idealistic college freshman descend upon the campuses of America. For the rest of us, whose college years are far behind us, there's nothing like a trip to a college town to rekindle old memories. Whether you're headed to a university town on vacation, or visiting a studious young friend or relative, these hotels let you enjoy the college atmosphere in a way that doesn't involve dorms and frat parties.
Charles Hotel, Harvard University, MA
The level of accommodations and service at the Charles Hotel, located in the heart of Harvard Square, reach the standard you would surely expect from a hotel associated with a university of Harvard's reputation.
In addition to well-appointed guest rooms with incredibly comfortable beds and down quilts, the Charles Hotel features a leading jazz club (Regattabar), cocktail bar, a full-service spa, and Italian restaurant created by reknowned chef Jody Adams. In the winter, the hotel even has its own 2,900-square-foot ice-skating rink.
Rates start at $299 a night for a Deluxe room.
Hanover Inn, Dartmouth College, NH
Located across from Dartmouth Green, site of commencement ceremonies, the Hanover Inn embraces its college associations with black and white photographs of alumni, old yearbooks on display, and lots of green decor (Dartmouth's color).
The hotel, which has a history dating back to 1780, recently underwent a $41 million renovation, leading to the opening of the PINE restaurant, created by James Beard-award winning chef Michael Schlow. The Hanover Inn is connected to the contemporary Hood Arts Museum, where interning students help to curate the exhibits.
Classic King rooms begin at $249 a night.
The Blackwell, Ohio State University, OH
With a large conference center and a focus on business meetings, it is fitting that the Blackwell is located on-campus at the Ohio State University's Fisher School of Business.
Each room at the Blackwell has a large work area with plush leather chairs and the on-site restaurant looks out across Ohio Stadium, home of the Buckeyes and site of Spring commencement ceremonies.
Rates start at $182 for a Deluxe King room.
The Study at Yale, Yale University, CT
Located in the heart of Yale's Arts Campus, The Study plays up the art theme with rotating exhibitions by art and architecture students and floor-to-wall bookshelves filled with selections from New York's Strand Book Store.
Guest rooms are designed in a minimalist style with clean lines, neutral colors, and contemporary furnishings. Seersucker bathrobes offer a distinctly New England touch and the eight suites feature separate study spaces with stocked bookshelves – in case the surroundings inspire the academic in you. For the best views across Pierson Quad, ask for a room on the top floor.
Double rooms start at $172.
The Claremont Hotel & Spa, University of California, Berkeley, CA
The mountain resort-style building that the Claremont Hotel & Spa occupies has a romantic history that dates back to the early days of the Gold Rush. A Kansas farmer, who had struck it rich, built it to fulfill his wife's dream of living in an English castle. The so-called "castle on the hill" was later turned into the Claremont Hotel, which opened in 1915.
The Claremont, which is just a mile off campus and offers views across San Francisco Bay, has some of the best facilities you will find at a college hotel. There are two swimming pools, a tennis court, spa, and large fitness center.
Classic rooms start at $239 a night.