The historic Hotel Durant will reopen its doors April 15 as Graduate Berkeley, after a shift in ownership and numerous renovations.
The hotel will be part of a larger chain called the Graduate Hotels. AJ Capital Partners, the owner of the chain, purchased Hotel Durant in 2015 because it saw potential in the hotel’s connection to campus and to the greater Berkeley community, according to Eric Hassberger, chief operating officer of AJ Capital Partners.
“We saw a market with tremendous indicators in terms of where the economy was going, anchored by Cal Berkeley as the tenant and all the great commerce in such a unique community as Berkeley,” Hassberger said.
The building’s overall structure will remain the same in order to maintain the history of the hotel, according to Hassberger. The lobby, guestrooms and corridors have undergone renovations, attention that Hassberger said he believes was missing in recent years. Hassberger added that AJ Capital Partners will be reintroducing the hotel in a way that is “mindful and respectful.”
Hotel staff will retain employment upon the hotel’s reopening. Henry’s, the iconic restaurant located in the hotel’s lobby, is closed for business, and Hassberger declined to comment on the status of the restaurant. He confirmed, however, that it will reopen in the future.
Dell Dellinger, general manager of Hotel Durant, was unavailable to comment on the hotel’s reopening.
The Graduate Hotels chain spans college towns across the United States, with locations in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as Oxford, Mississippi and Tempe, Arizona, among others. The chain focuses on embracing local communities and universities, according to Hassberger. Hassberger emphasized that the chain “really wants to include everyone,” adding that the lobbies of the hotels serve as the “living room of the community.”
“We like the idea of rich texture and layers with tidbits throughout the hotel that create an environment where people can explore,” Hassberger said.