A Nice Place to Stay
There are plenty of hotel options for visiting Gainesville. Remembering this is a college town, you should not be expecting to see high rise five-star hotels. Most of the hotels will be found on Archer Road right of I-75, but there are a few further away from the crowded Archer Road corridor.
It is always a good idea to stay with one hotel chain allowing you to accumulate points to earn free night stays or other rewards offered by that particular program. The other important point to consider is that there are peak weekends in Gainesville where it is very difficult to get a room. Examples include all football weekends and graduation. During these high demand weekends, rates will double for a stay seemingly very high for a town like Gainesville. Expect to pay between $200 and $400 per night depending on the hotel you choose.
For graduation, it is strongly recommended that you try to book a year in advance. For football games, book as far in advance as possible. Some reservations allow for 24-hour cancellation but for high demand weekends, you will need to cancel 30 days in advance.
For those unfamiliar with Gainesville, when searching for hotels, you will often see listings for Ocala, Florida. Ocala is at least a 40-minute drive from Gainesville in regular traffic conditions. This should be a last minute choice should you be unable to find a hotel in Gainesville. For football games, expect the drive to double at a minimum as many alumni and Florida fans converge on Gainesville from cities south, often leading to gridlock on I-75.
If you are coming in for a football game and want to stay at a hotel that is in walking distance to the stadium, the three options are The Retiz Hotel, the Hilton University Conference Center and the Holiday Inn University Center. Most of the other hotels are off of Archer Road and will require some mode of transportation.
UF has one hotel on campus, which is found in the Student Union. It is called the Reitz Hotel. But the official name is the J. Wayne Reitz Union Hotel. It has only 36 rooms consisting of a standard room, business suite, executive suite and deluxe room. If you are looking to stay here during football weekends, you must enter the lottery by April 1st.. Read our blog here. Typically, a standard room which consists of one queen bed or two double beds range from $99 per night for an off weekend to $185 per night for graduation weekend and $200-$225 for football
The higher demand weekends (graduation and football, require a two-night stay, payment in advance and is non-refundable of the room is canceled two months or less prior to arrival. All guest rooms have balconies and great views of the University of Florida campus. Continental breakfast, wireless internet, cable TV with HBO provided at no additional charge. All rooms have refrigerators, irons and hair dryers. There are other hotel chains and independent hotels to choose from. Below you will find a list.
For those who are traveling with pets, the hotels that are pet-friendly include Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, Super 8, La Quinta, Holiday Inn Express, Best Western, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, Home2Suites, Drury Inn & Suites and Comfort Inn.
Hilton operates the Hilton, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown and Homewood Suites in Gainesville as well as Hilton Garden Suites, Home2Suites and the newly opened Double Tree. The only Hilton namesake hotel is the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center Gainesville. It is located directly on the University of Florida campus within walking distance to the football stadium. Most of the football game weekends book up far in advance primarily with UF Alumni. Rates are at a premium for this location running approximately $299 and higher, depending on the room selection. The rooms include free wifi if you are a Hilton honors gold and diamond member. The hotel recently underwent renovations and, having stayed here since 2010 on several occasions, the renovations are great and were much needed. They have a restaurant offering breakfast and lunch for an additional fee but do offer complimentary coffee in the lobby. Shula’s Steakhouse is new to the hotel.
Expect to see a lot of orange and blue decor. It typically receives fairly good reviews on most travel aggregate sites but during high demand weekends, some guests have been known to experience difficulty with cleaning service and other requests. Do your research on the travel sites to read the most current reviews. Hilton has two Hampton Suite and Inn properties in Gainesville, one off of Archer and one in what is known as downtown Gainesville. While the downtown Gainesville location is furthest away from campus, less than five minutes away by car, it is one of the newer hotels built by the Hilton family of hotels. One of the benefits of staying at this location is its proximity to nearby downtown restaurants and nightlife. The other Hilton family of hotels found in Gainesville is the Hilton Garden Suite hotel. DoubleTree recently opened directly off of Archer from I-75 .
The Marriott family has five hotel brands in Gainesville. They are AC Hotel, Courtyard Marriott, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites , Fairfield Inn and TownePlace Suites which is the furthest from the UF campus. The other three are fairly close to one another off the Archer Road area.
The Courtyard Marriott has your standard rooms as well as a two room suite. Options for rooms also include breakfast for a little higher of a rate. Residence Inns are considered to be extended stay hotels. Guests can select from a studio, 1-bedroom, or a 2-bedroom guest suite. Suites include full kitchens complete with fridge, microwave, stove-top, and dishwasher.
Springhill Suites is their Green Lodging Certified all suites hotel also located off of Archer Road. It receives fairly decent reviews and rates are similar to the other Marriott hotels. It also has a kitchenette and includes free wifi.
TownePlace Suites is considered to be an extended stay hotel with a full kitchen set up. As it is the furthest from the UF campus, it is more suitable for business travelers although certainly on par with the other Marriott hotels. And they are also a pet-friendly hotel.
The new, modern Fairfield Inn & Suites opened in February 2018 off S.W. 37th and Archer Road.
In early 2018, Marriott opened the AC Hotel, a 144 room hotel located at the main crossroad of University Avenue and NW 13th Street, directly across from the University and adjacent to The Standard apartments. It has a lounge, library, and European-inspired breakfast with rooftop amenities including a fitness center and an outdoor pool and deck. Rumor is that on a clear day, guests will be able to view the inside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium from the rooftop.
Opening on August 1, 2018, will be Aloft located on Hull Road. This urban-influenced design has a 24/7 gym, free internet, a splash outdoor pool.
IHG Hotels: Holiday Inn & Hotel Indigo
The Holiday Inn University Center is located directly across the street from the UF campus making it quite appealing. It is walking distance to the football stadium, midtown, a popular nighttime area and local shops and attractions, restaurants. They also operate the Holiday Inn Express which is pet-friendly.
Now taking reservations beginning October 2018, Hotel Indigo at Celebration Pointe, is a mixed-use community that will have dining, entertainment, shopping, office space, luxury apartments, and townhomes. It features 140 room suites with a pool connected to the lobby and hotel bar. It also features spa-inspired bathrooms with glass-enclosed walk-in showers, rainfall-like or handheld shower-heads and Aveda® brand bathroom amenities. This hotel brand is designed to reflect the local culture and character.
Carlson Hotel brands, most known for the Radisson chain of hotels, only has one hotel offering in Gainesville and that is Country Inn & Suites. Located in the same hotel corridor as most of the other hotels, (off Archer is where most of the hotels are found), it is just a short drive to the UF campus and near most of the shops and restaurants.
Most of the hotels under the Choice brand are, by their own recognition, value hotels. Here is where you should find clean, comfortable rooms at affordable prices. In Gainesville, you will find several options including Quality Inn, Econo Lodge, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn & Suites and Rodeway Inn.
Under the Wyndham Hotel Group, you will find several options for hotel stays in Gainesville, including Baymont Inn & Suites, Super 8 and Days Inn. These are considering to be economy style hotels with most averaging a $40- $50 per night room stay. But, search for a room during a football weekend, and rates jump anywhere from $100 on the low end to over $200 per night.
Located within walking distance of a variety of shopping and dining and just half a mile away from North Florida Regional Medical Center. La Quinta Inn is a short drive from the University of Florida. Enjoy services like a free Bright Side Breakfast®, free Wi-Fi, and free parking, as well as an outdoor pool area and spacious, comfortable and well-equipped rooms and suites. Each one features a coffeemaker, hairdryer, data port phone, and Samsung flat-panel TV.
Known for its clean, comfortable rooms, Motel 6 is known for its value economy lodging options. It is located on West Newberry Road.
Best Western Gateway Grand offers free deluxe continental breakfast and complimentary wifi. Located on NW 97th Blvd. approximately 15 minutes from the University of Florida. Pets allowed based on the availability of pet-friendly rooms. Up to 2 dogs per room with an 80-pound weight limit. Additional pet types (cats, birds, etc) may be accepted at the hotel’s discretion. Pet rate is $20.00 per day with a $100 per week maximum.
Drury Inn & Suites
New to Gainesville and located at I-75 and SW Archer Road, Drury Inn & Suites guests get free hot breakfast and free from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Kickback®, a hot and cold rotating menu. Rooms feature king, queen and suite rooms. Pets accepted with a $25 per room daily cleaning fee.
Bed & Breakfasts
If a quaint, Bed and Breakfast stay is more the type of place you are looking for, Gainesville has several options for you to consider. The Sweetwater Branch Inn, the Camellia Rose Inn, and Magnolia Plantation. These charming inns are a great alternative to the area hotels allowing you to experience the historic feel of Gainesville. While many have been purchased since its established opening dates, they have worked hard to maintain the feel and history. Nightly rates are a bit pricier but if you are searching for a unique stay, definitely look into one of these Bed & Breakfast Inns. Most are located near downtown Gainesville two miles from the UF campus.
A little farther away (about a ten-minute drive to Gainesville) you will find the Herlong Mansion Historic Inn and Gardens. Micanopy (Mick-can- oh’-pee) is a unique little village located in southeastern Alachua County between I-75 and US 441. The streets are overhung with ancient oaks bearded with Spanish moss and are bordered on either side by private homes and storefronts that time seems to have forgotten.