Gatorade launched its “Be like Mike” advertising campaign in 1991 in an attempt to convince aspiring athletes and consumers they could be like basketball legend Michael Jordan if they drank the company’s sports drink. Nearly 30 years later, hotel guests will be able to take that concept a step further if they stay at Graduate Hotels’ new location in Chapel Hill.
Graduate Hotels will be opening a new location on Franklin Street this fall with a room designed to be a re-creation of Jordan’s dorm room in Granville Towers during his playing days with the North Carolina men's basketball team.
“The room is an exact replica, including every poster he pinned on his wall, the vintage record player along with the records he was listening to in those days, the umbrella he toted and, of course, the ’83 white and Tar Heel blue game worn Converse sneakers he rocked on the UNC court,” Amy Wexler, SVP of strategic marketing and communications for Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners, said in an email.
The room — fittingly selected to be room No. 23 of 70 in the hotel — will also feature Jordan’s actual Granville Towers student ID card.
"We thought it would be a fun way to pay homage to him," Graduate Hotels CEO Ben Weprin told ESPN last week. "It is like going back in time, trying to get in the head of Michael Jordan. He was a normal kid -- even though he is an icon now."
Wexler added that the company’s goal when designing the room was to “capture the youthful optimism, potential and mindset that MJ had in college.” It’ll cost guests at the hotel a minimum of $149 a night to feel that experience, and rates will vary based on demand.
“I think a Michael Jordan hotel room dorm room is a really fun idea," Matt Gladdek, executive director of Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said. "I’m looking forward to a lot of people coming to check it out, enjoy it and have a little bit more of that UNC legend permeate our downtown.”
In July, Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners purchased The Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill and planned to begin renovations on it in January to open Graduate Hotels’ new location in April. With the COVID-19 pandemic slowing down travel and limiting businesses across the world, the earliest the hotel's “Jordan Suite” can be booked on the website is Aug. 1.
“Every business right now is going through a really difficult time," Gladdek said. "Hotels are maybe the most profoundly affected at this point, but I think the Graduate brand is strong and they’ll make it through.”
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