By Katie Kelly Bell

University of Tennessee football fans have yet one more incentive to don the orange and head to Knoxville—to celebrate the Graduate Knoxville’s hotel debut and it’s nostalgia-soaked bar and restaurant Saloon 16, operated in a partnership with NFL legend and UT alum, Peyton Manning.

The hotel building is a fully renovated modern space, but its soul is a nostalgic treasure, which makes a visit to Graduate Knoxville more of an experience than a hotel stay. It all has meaning explains Manning, “I wanted to pay tribute UT history and to the people that were a part of my student experience, making this a special place for people to come and remember when.”

Mission accomplished. A stay here is as much an immersion into the lore and history of UT as it is a celebration of Tennessee’s humble and warm hospitality. For Ben Weprin, Graduate Hotels CEO and founder, this property was as much of a passion project as it was for Manning. Weprin graduated from UT a few years after Manning, and the two have invested in other ventures together. Says Weprin, “Doing this project with Peyton is almost surreal, and he was so generous—with everything from his personal memorabilia to his time.”

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