Outside Morris Inn
Photo: Courtesy of Morris Inn

Bigger and better: where insiders stay when visiting the university

Following a $30-plus-million renovation and expansion, the Morris Inn at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, reopened last week on August 30, just before Notre Dame’s first game of the season. Owned and operated by the university, the hotel was built in 1952 and has long been the only on-campus lodging option. Dubbed the school’s “living room,” Morris Inn has been a coveted place to stay because of its convenient location.

Still, the hotel was showing its age and the much-needed makeover reflects a major turnaround: The entire hotel has been redesigned and expanded, including a new marble entryway and lobby, added dining options, and all-new guest rooms, including 18 suites with great campus views. While the exterior still conforms to Notre Dame’s gothic style, the interior has been refreshed with classic collegiate design (navy furnishings and gold paint) and custom millwork. The biggest improvement is the expansion, which nearly doubled the total square footage of the building—from 72,000 to 137,500—increased the size of existing guest rooms, and bumped the total number of rooms up from 92 to 150.

Sorin’s, the hotel’s traditional fine dining restaurant, has remained for the most part unchanged, and that’s a good thing. But Morris has added two additional dining options—the casual Rohr’s bar and an outdoor dining terrace. There’s also a new 300-seat ballroom.

The improved inn is almost reason enough to make the one-and-a-half-hour trip to catch the next Fighting Irish home game, but here’s the rub: All rooms are reserved during home games for the university’s advisory council (read: big shots). Other weekends you can still have a great time in South Bend. Catch away games on the big screens at nearby Legend’s pub in the Notre Dame Stadium parking lot for full football mayhem. See a Duke basketball game now that Notre Dame has been added to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Or, forget sports entirely with a walk to the gilded Golden Dome and Basilica of the Sacred Heart. You’d be surprised by some remarkable off-campus culture, too, including Copshaholm at the Center for History and the Beiger Mansion; read more about both at Chicago magazine.

Rooms at the Morris Inn start at $169 a night; suites range from $249 to $1,499 a night.

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