Set within the historic Cain-Matthews-Tompkins-Black House, Graduate Columbia (the former Inn at USC) is located in the heart of Columbia on Pendleton Street, just steps from the “Horseshoe” of the University of South Carolina’s original campus.
The boutique-style hotel’s lobby serves as a central gathering place for the hotel – welcoming guests with a residential feel upon arrival. Built in 1911 by its original owner, local businessman John J. Cain, the home had a variety of owners before it was obtained by the University of South Carolina in 1974. The property was converted and reopened as the Inn at USC in 2005. Key architectural elements such as original mahogany, traditional parlor rooms and second floor guest suites have been restored, establishing a distinct sense of place.
Design throughout the hotel speaks to the property’s unique architectural past. Cheery floral prints and South Carolina-inspired yellow hues are contrasted with original mahogany paneling and custom furniture. The lobby features a lavender, lacquer front desk adorned with colorful tassels that provoke a collegiate feel. Black-and-white checkered floors, topped with an oriental rug, connect past to present, joining the lobby and adjacent common areas to the hotel’s more recent addition, which features guest rooms and meeting and event spaces.
Guest room decor celebrates the hotel’s residential ties and Southern charm with a mix of linen fabrics, vinyl grass cloth wallpaper and tailored design elements. Vibrant USC Gamecock inspired rooster headboards serve as a focal point for guest rooms, while local art depicting beloved alums and South Carolina natives adorns the walls. Custom bedside lamps are a nod to Bill Golding, the USC superfan who became famous for yelling out “Oot Oot” during South Carolina sporting events. In addition to standard guest rooms, three suites are perched on the second floor of the Black House, complete with original woodwork and grand four poster beds.
“Design throughout the hotel celebrates Southern charm and flare with bold colors, dynamic florals and light breezy fabrics,” said Andrew Alford, Chief Creative Officer at Graduate Hotels. “Guests will feel the cheerful energy of South Carolina throughout their stay, a prideful sentiment that is heightened through the restoration of key architectural elements from the original Black House.”
Graduate Columbia is also home to Poindexter, Graduate Hotels’ signature coffee shop and café concept. Positioned on the hotel’s main floor, Poindexter features a hand-carved bar crafted from wood original to the Black House. The café will serve coffee roasted from acclaimed Coffee Manufactory, and all-day culinary offerings as well as local beer, wine and cocktails in the evening. At the foot of the bar sits an inviting reading nook. Guests will also be encouraged to enjoy Poindexter’s offerings on the two communal tables positioned on the Black House front porch.
Guests are encouraged to take in the hotel’s many outdoor seating spaces. The hotel’s back porch and outdoor courtyard features an array of seating options. Graduate Columbia programs both culinary and cultural events in these spaces seasonally.
✅ free Wi-Fi • 119 rooms & suites (28-63m2) (301-678 sq ft) • hotel opened: September 2019 (originally Inn at USC, 2005) • bathroom amenities: Malin + Goetz • on-site parking (charged) • pets allowed • 24-hour front desk