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Oxford making room for increased tourism

Families who travel to Oxford for games, Fall Family Weekend or Double Decker know to book a hotel room far in advance.

With a new hotel in Oxford and another coming, there will soon be more accommodations for Oxford tourists.

Jennifer Ryan, a sophomore journalism major from New Jersey, was forced to stay in Batesville for her Aug. 18 orientation and looks forward to having more hotel options.  
“I had to wake up 30 minutes earlier just to drive to Oxford and make it on time for orientation check in,” Ryan said. “I wasn’t surprised when all the hotels were booked, but I was relieved to finally find one for a few nights.

“With football season just starting, I think it’s a really good idea that the city is building a new hotel.”

The Hampton Inn Conference Center recently opened on Aug. 29 and features 88 guest rooms, an outdoor pool, complimentary breakfast, free high-speed wireless internet, a fitness center and 1,300 square feet of meeting space. The hotel partnered with the Oxford Conference Center to encourage conferences and events in Oxford.

A Springhill Suites by Marriott is planned to be built near the Hampton Inn in late 2012 and will include 90 guest suites, an indoor pool and more meeting space. Both hotels are located in the Oxford Commons area, near Kroger and in close proximity to the Square.

Football season at Ole Miss brings alumni, family, friends and enemies to Oxford. Hotels are already booked for the LSU game weekend on Nov. 19, and they were most likely were booked far in advance.

“My dad has to stay at my family’s house in Jackson for football games because everything has been booked since last year,” Ryan said. “He has been thinking about renting a condo for game weekends, but that’s a lot more expensive than getting a hotel room.”

Hillary Macias, a junior dietetics major from St. Louis, said her parents have to stay with her at her apartment for Fall Family Weekend.

“My friend’s dad tried to get a hotel room for this upcoming game back in June and couldn’t,” she said.

“I definitely think a new hotel would be beneficial,” Macias said. “I don’t mind my parents staying with me, but they shouldn’t have to because it’s inconvenient. They should be able to get a hotel room.”

Charter Road Hospitality Inc., is responsible for building the Hampton Inn and the new Springhill Suites. The Commons began development in 2005, but slowed down in 2008 due to the recession. Currently the only businesses in the area are Della Davidson Elementary and a Wendy’s, but the new Oxford High School will be built near the Commons.
The project is meant to feature general business, residential and miscellaneous use.

The Hampton Inn Conference Center is located at 103 Ed Perry Blvd., and the new Marriott hotel will be located nearby.