Relax at Lincoln’s Hotels

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by Judy Shutts

Lincoln Offers an array of hotels to fit every budget and taste.

New Graduate Lincoln is “Throwback Modern”

Graduate Lincoln is a hotel like no other. A Johnny Carson curtain is a colorful backdrop for the front desk, which is highlighted with wooden rectangles reminiscent of the Nebraska’s square miles of farmland.

Enter the lobby turned 1970s family room and have fun playing vintage pinball or arcade games. Or relax on an emerald green sofa in the retro-looking sitting area.

“We want people to feel at home,” Lauren Folkerts said. Folkerts, who is director of sales, saw the Holiday Inn in downtown Lincoln transform into the “retro modern” look of the Graduate Lincoln. 

Even though guests are intrigued by the eclectic décor, the hotel focuses on service, Folkerts said. “We’d like to be the living room of the community.” 

After closing its doors for six months and a $7.5 renovation, Graduate Lincoln emerged with a unique look. The hotel’s interior captures 1970s style as well as Nebraska’s quirky history. The décor—a little throwback and a little modern, draws you in and invites you to see what’s around the next corner.

The corridors are dotted with art taken from Nebraska license plates. The rooms are appointed with colorful plaid carpets, Nebraska artwork and a wall of corn-themed wallpaper in the bathrooms.

“Guests are looking for something different,” Folkerts said. The guests could be business travelers, tourists, or locals. “Travelers like to go where the locals go.”

Many chain hotels are the same in each city, but each Graduate hotel reflects the area in which it is located. Nebraska culture is reflected in the antique Nebraska maps above the beds and the Nebraska-themed artwork. There is a nod to the roller-skating museum and Kool-Aid. An “N” art piece made of bowling pins pays homage to the Nebraska championship bowling team.

Four Graduate suites resemble rec rooms with sofas, coffee table coolers, red Smeg refrigerators, vintage arcade games and furnished balconies. “They are popular on game days, of course,” Folkerts said.

Even with its friendly, kitschy look, the hotel doesn’t skimp on technology and other amenities. Shiny bathrooms, sunny outdoor spaces, a colorful indoor-outdoor pool area and high-end mattresses are among the features. Guests on TripAdvisor mention the beds as a favorite amenity. 

Located where the action is, the pet-friendly hotel is convenient to the university as well as the downtown and the Haymarket. Complimentary bike rentals make a fun way to traverse the city.

John J.’s Chow Hall, named for John J. Pershing, reflects the personality of the hotel by serving up freshly-made comfort food. 1940s-era murals highlight the booths and the wall art reflect a military theme. The north wall of the restaurant is made of garage doors that open for indoor-outdoor atmosphere.

Guests in the Tiki Bar can enjoy a “curated” cocktail—a specially crafted cocktail with names like Major General MacDonald and Colonel Franzen that are served in funky tropical glasses.

The Graduate Lincoln is on the corner of 9th and P streets. John J’s Chow House, is open for breakfast, weekend brunch and dinners. Visit the website at

Embassy Suites

Embassy Suites is known for its complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast every morning in the open atrium. Also popular is the nightly reception of drinks and snacks. 

But, did you know?

  • Embassy Suites invests $1 million each year to refresh its rooms.
  • Guests enjoy the digital key system by pre-selecting their room, preferences and check-in with their smart phone. Guests can breeze past the front desk if they choose. Once at their room, they use their phone to open the door.
  • The Regents ballroom is the city’s largest, accommodating 1500 guests.
  • The hotel offers a full range of business services for business travelers. 

One of the guests’ favorite traditions is the “Do the Dock” tailgate prior to each Husker football game. Several local bands, such as Soul Dog, play on rotation. But the Husker weekends really begin on Friday evening when fans celebrate with the Weiner Slinger and the Spirit Squad as well as KLKN, which broadcasts live from the hotel. “Do the Dock’ tailgate was chosen by Lincoln’s Choice Awards as the best place to have a tailgate party. 

The Embassy is the only all-suite hotel in Lincoln and is part of the Hilton group. 

The Embassy prides itself on its service. “Most compliments are for the staff,” Bryan Sullivan, general manager, said. “They strive to anticipate and accommodate the guests’ needs. That seems to matter the most.”

For the Embassy on Facebook, go to or visit the website at

Cornhusker Marriott Hotel

The Cornhusker was born during the 1920s. And it has been serving up hospitality ever since. A popular spot for Husker fans, weddings and conventions, the hotel has hosted high-profile guests such as John Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr.

The Artist-in-Residence program, in its second year, draws the interest of guests and visitors. Nicole Battelle Van Hook is a full-scale paper sculpture artist, using specialty papers and Swarovski crystals.  Guests and visitors can see her in action in her studio in the lobby.

New long-term guests are 40,000 bees that arrived in April, in the back of a truck from California. The bees aren’t likely to produce much honey this year, but the hotel hopes to have honey soon for use in cooking and for sale in its gift shop.

The Husker football squad takes over two floors on pre-game nights. On football Saturdays Husker fans enjoy a tailgate where they can cheer on the team, and enjoy food and giveaways.

Check out the happenings at the Cornhusker on the Facebook page at To reserve a room, visit the website at

The Sleep Inn & Suites and MainStay Suites is at 2803 Folkways Blvd. and both are housed under one roof. This new-concept motel opened in 2016.

The Sleep Inn & Suites is on one side with 56 rooms and the MainStay, for extended stays, has 40 rooms on the other side. MainStay rooms have full kitchens with dishwashers, and some have separate bedrooms. The rooms are all in one building, making it easy to share amenities, such as the pool, fitness center and breakfast area.

The Courtyard Marriott, convenient to the Haymarket and Pinnacle Bank Arena, offers amenities such as an indoor pool, fitness center and a fire pit in the outdoor courtyard. The courtyard is a favorite place to work or relax and has a misting system to help guests keep their cool. The lobby features media pods and free Wi-Fi.

The hotel is at 808 R Street and caters to business travelers as well as guests on a weekend get-away. 

The Hilton Garden prides itself on its warm and inviting rooms that are equipped with the latest technology.

An urban-style hotel, it offers its guests an indoor pool, fitness center, and ergonomic chairs and desks. Complimentary Wi-Fi, a 24-hour business center and 3000 feet of meeting space are among its features.

TownPlace Suites by Marriott is an extended-stay hotel located at 7353 Husker Circle, near 1-80 and North 27th Street. 

Guests can choose from studios to one- or two-bedroom suites, equipped with kitchens that have stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. 

Cloverleaf Suites, formerly Chase Suites, is nestled in a secluded setting minutes away from shopping, dining, major businesses and sporting venues. Guests can begin mornings with a hearty homemade breakfast, relax at the manager’s reception on weekday evenings or take a dip in the outdoor pool.

Free Wi-Fi, a business center and free shuttle service are a plus for business travelers. Located at 200 South 68th Place, Chase Suites, with its condo-like design and kitchenettes, is a good choice for extended-stays.

Quality Inn and Suites is reminiscent of a medieval castle located at I-80 and 27th Street. Quality Inn can accommodate travelers with standard rooms, extended stay suites or elaborately decorated theme rooms, which include a king bed, and a Jacuzzi tub or fireplace. 

The Best Western Plus at 2200 Wildcat Circle is near I-80 and 27th Street. Convenient to local businesses and attractions, the hotel has 950 square feet of flexible meeting space for meetings, receptions or reunions.

Fairfield Inn and Suites, welcomes guests to south Lincoln at 8455 Andermatt Drive. The hotel combines modern comfort with conveniences such as free wi-fi, breakfast buffet and an indoor pool. A meeting room is available for training or retreats, along with a scenic outdoor space. 

For visitors looking for the intimate atmosphere of a bed and breakfast, here are a few of the choices.

Rogers House has 11 guests rooms with antique furnishings in two houses at 2145 B street and 2125 B Street. The rooms come with full baths and a gourmet breakfast. Their website is

The Westview Bed and Breakfast is set in the countryside at 7000 NW 27th St., only eight minutes from downtown Lincoln. The Westview is also a popular site for both indoor and outdoor weddings. Visit the website at

Whether you prefer a hotel in the bustling Haymarket, or a quiet spot on the edge of the city, Lincoln is here to serve. Get set to relax in one of Lincoln’s hotels, motels or bed and breakfast inns and enjoy the hospitality.

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