Auburn, Alabama, is best known for being the home of its namesake university (go Tigers!). However, this historic college town also happens to be the state’s fastest-growing metropolitan area. As such, several exciting new attractions, restaurants, and hotels have popped up over the past few years — including The Laurel Hotel & Spa. The property opened in 2022 and offers the perfect combination of Southern charm with contemporary flair, and is the state’s first-ever AAA Five Diamond Property. Check out our full review below. 

What You Need to Know

The Look of The Laurel Hotel & Spa

The Laurel Hotel & Spa is housed in a modern brick building that looks like it has been plucked straight from a college campus. And, well, that’s because it is: The hotel is located inside Auburn University’s Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center. It’s also worth noting that the property is a teaching hotel, which means hospitality students work here to deliver exceptional service and amenities. 

Contemporary common areas serve as the beating heart of the hotel, luring in students, locals, and travelers alike. For instance, there's a trendy coffee shop adorned with a striking marble countertop and dark wooden accents as well as a buzzy rooftop featuring cabanas, colorful gardens, a sparkling swimming pool, and a yoga pavilion. There’s also a sixth-floor library area, a bustling on-site food hall, and the fantastic 1856 Culinary Residence, self-described as a “tasting-menu-only teaching restaurant.” 

Guests craving R&R and a more tranquil vibe can visit the top-floor spa for facials, massages, and more. Otherwise, they can simply make their way up to one of the 26 guest rooms and suites, each of which features elegant wood-covered walls, sleek marble accents, plush white linens, tufted headboards, and funky blue seating. For a splurge, book one of the suites with soaking tubs and separate sitting areas. 

The Vibe at The Laurel Hotel & Spa

Thanks to its central location, the hotel is almost always buzzing — especially when school is in session. Expect to see a mix of students and their families, faculty, and locals in addition to fellow travelers. And due to its small size and many student employees, there’s also a distinctly familial vibe.

Who Will Love The Laurel Hotel & Spa

This boutique hotel truly offers something for everyone, including foodies, beer enthusiasts (there’s an on-site microbrewery), wellness-seekers, and more. 

Who Might Not Love The Laurel Hotel & Spa

Families with young children may feel a bit out of place since there are no kid-centric amenities; however, the staff at The Laurel does a great job of making everyone feel at home. 

Best Amenity at The Laurel Hotel & Spa

While all of the food and drink offerings are outstanding, The Library stands out the most. Here, guests are treated to complimentary breakfasts, light lunches, daily aperitivo hours, and after-dinner chocolates and treats. The sprawling rooftop area comes in at a close second with its heated infinity pool, cabanas, stylish lounge area, and on-site garden, which provides organic produce for the 1856 Culinary Residence restaurant. 

Money Matters 

What’s Included at The Laurel Hotel & Spa

The Laurel Hotel & Spa is almost all-inclusive. Here’s what you can expect with each stay: 

Extra Fees & Costs You Should Know About at The Laurel Hotel & Spa

Poolside cabana rentals cost extra, as do spa treatments, which need to be booked to use the spa facilities (a relaxation lounge, steam room, and salt room).

How to Get a Deal at The Laurel Hotel & Spa

Check the offers tab to view the latest deals and packages. Additionally, it’s worth noting that The Laurel Hotel & Spa is part of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts portfolio; as such, I Prefer Members are privy to discounted rates. AAA members can also snag lower rates. 

The Sweet Season

Stay in the summertime to enjoy fewer crowds and lower rates on lodging. Although it will be scorching hot, you can stay cool by the rooftop pool.

Getting There

In the Neighborhood of The Laurel Hotel & Spa

The hotel is located on the Auburn University campus and offers a slew of on-site drinking and dining offerings. It’s also where you’ll find the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Neville Arena, and Jordan Hare Stadium. Local area attractions include the 696-acre Chewacla State Park and Toomer's Corner, a beloved landmark.

Nearest Airport to The Laurel Hotel & Spa

Columbus Metropolitan (CSG) Airport is about 40 miles away (around 50 minutes by car).

Closest Public Transportation to The Laurel Hotel & Spa

The Lee-Russell Public Transit (LRPT) is Lee County’s public transportation system, and anyone can use this service to schedule a ride. However, the city and campus are quite walkable. In fact, downtown Auburn is just a 10-minute walk from the hotel.

The Bottom Line

For fantastic food and drink offerings right on Auburn’s campus, coupled with luxury lodging and posh spa and rooftop facilities, this boutique hotel is your best bet.