Hearne: Unintended Mediocrity & Hedonism Collide on KU Campus at The Oread

I have been to the mountain and I’m back…

And I can now tell you that aside from its many sports, pizza and coffee bar offerings, the two-year-old Oread hotel high atop the University of Kansas campus is a bust.

At least as an upscale hotel.

It kicks ass as a sports bar hang for thirsty KU students and out-of-town parents. But its stately stone facade makes promises that the eleven-story ediface doesn’t come close to delivering on.

Despite its critics, the Oread fits in just fine with the other classic stone structures that dot the nearby KU campus.

But here’s the deal…

From the outside the Oread looks like an elegant, grand hotel – from the outside. However, after dropping $200 on one of the Oread’s "King Suite" rooms on New Year’s Eve (and staying in a lesser room a year ago), I can report that it’s basically little more than a glorified Comfort Inn, minus the standard issue, in-room coffee pot.

I don’t know if they ran out of money mid-project or simply hired a really bad decorator, but the Oread’s stark, souless, cookie-cutter rooms are adorned with mostly cheap furniture and empty walls, sparsely populated by faux art prints of old barns, cattle and meandering stone walls. Clearly not the stuff of an upscale hotel. Not even close.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s new and it’s nice but ceiling fans with plastic, fake wood blades?

The bottom line on the Oread experience: think upscale cheap.

Then there’s the restaurant, which early on locals buzzed was supposed to be a pretty big deal. I almost bought into that at first a year ago until I visited the Oread’s Web site and learned the chef had come from a Westport brewpub. That’s been remedied.

But when was the last time you ordered Caesar salad and got overdressed shredded cole slaw-like lettuce with sweet croutons?

Or when was the last time you stayed at an upscale hotel that provided ear plugs along with a note that reads – and I quote – "We hope you enjoy the vibrant nightlife that is ever present so near the KU campus. Unfortunately, this fun is often accompanied by late night noise. Please make use of the complimentary ear plugs if you feel necessary. Have a good night’s sleep!"

Then again, maybe it’s just me.

My King room came with a pair of massive 52-inch LED screens. Enabling one to easily host a Super Bowl or Final Four gang bang with a dozen of your closest, noisiest Jayhawks.

Then there’s the Cave nightclub.

"Imagine a multi-tiered parking garage that’s been converted into the sleekest speakeasy ever, and you’ve kind of got The Cave," the Lawrence Journal World writes. "The Cave isn’t really one club but a series of ‘pocket bars’ scattered throughout the four sub-levels."

Self-described as"Lawrence’s Hottest Nightclub," the Oread promises to charge all of the Cave’s regular $5 to $10 cover charges to your room.

"Come to the front desk to obtain a Cave pass," a brochure advises. "After obtaining your pass, you will be escorted down the elevator to join the fun."

The $64 million question: If a fire or fight breaks out, how quickly can the throngs in the four-level, multi-bar club be escorted out?

"They must have made a deal with the fire marshall to get that thing approved," quips one local nightclub owner.

And talk about excessive hedonism, the Cave’s New Year’s Eve package (at $40 to $45 per person) came with a whopping 15 drink tickets. Fifteen drinks per person?

Anybody remember that KU freshman who died of alcohol poisoning two years ago?

KCC music man and Lawrence resident Matt Donnelly‘s take on the Cave:

"Among locals it’s known mostly as a bro hangout," Donnelly says. "They usually have dance-type music being played by lower level DJs with laptops.  I know that it does get packed sometimes, but I never even think to go there.  Then again, I’m not a bro. 

"It is a bit odd, too, that it’s so far underground.  That could be a cool concept, but with all the stone and heavy metal fixtures and stuff, it kind of makes it feel like a medieval dungeon.  That juxtaposed against flatscreens and martini bars just turns it into a weird concept for me."  

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22 Responses to Hearne: Unintended Mediocrity & Hedonism Collide on KU Campus at The Oread

  1. paulwilsonkc says:

    Its an interesting case study
    Most of the case goods and furniture was built on site by local craftsmen. And, it

  2. Super Dave says:

    I’m Shocked
    Wow I have heard several good comments about this place and this is from people I know and have for a long time.

    What are you mad cause they wouldn’t comp a room for you?

  3. Hearne Christopher says:

    Mind reader.

  4. smartman says:

    I’m sure the mediocrity was intended and is lost on the majority of the cornpone that stay there. Does the facility have a concierge? Would be neat to see if they could score some X, blow, weed or basketball tickets.

    Rumor is they have a suite that has a double wide toilet, installed to accomodate the Mangino’s and now perhaps Mr and Mrs Weiss. Supposedly if you’ve got an average size ass you have to put your hands on the seat to keep from falling in.

  5. Grover says:

    Sorry you did not get laid on New Years eve hearne, better luck next year.

    looking forward to reading your reviews some KC hotels to prove to us you are not just KU bashing….. a g a i n

  6. paulwilsonkc says:

    grover, hes not ku bashing…
    Poor guy just doesn’t know the secret to finding a girl. If it was me, I would have passed on the Oread and do what always worked for me. Of course, prior to getting married. I would make a sign and hold it up while standing on a Topeka overpass.

  7. Hearne Christopher says:

    This may come as surprise to you, but since I live in Kansas City, I seldom stay at hotels here.

  8. Hearne Christopher says:

    For the record, my romantic life is working out just fine, G Man. But thanks for thinking of me.

  9. Grover says:

    Nothing unexpected here….
    …just hearne, and his KCC staff instructed, to take every possible opportunity to bash on KU…..I guess they think it brings ratings, comments etc etc… just makes me laugh at how he judges Fox 4 for slimey journalism.

    If/when we I ever see balanced reporting on Lawrence and/or KU then I might think differently, but so far KCC has a record of 85 stories negative about KU/Lawrence, and zero stories positive…… so again we laugh at hearne judging Fox 4 biased reporting. get real dude.

    as we see the hyper sensitive delting continue…. LOL

    I guess there weresome nights you should have gotten (would have been more cost effective to get) a hotel…and a chance to review a local hotel…. and show us you can be unbiased.

  10. Hearne Christopher says:

    Let me get this straight; you think I opted for an expensive, romantic New Year’s Eve in Lawrence so I could bash KU?

    Quite the opposite.

    I suppose you think making college kids buy 15 drinks a night is reasonable.

    Guys like you all this KU-MU border war stuff boring.

    I went to Arizona, if you must know, and Lawrence is my home away from home.

  11. Grover says:

    1) $200.00 is not that much for a hotel, on any night, let alone NYE, unless you are looking for a $69.99 special on I-70

    2) $45.00 is not that much of a bar tab FOR A WHOLE NIGHT, and if that buys you 15 drinks, then appreciate it, dont whine about it.

    3) I am just calling it like I see it. There is never a positive story about KU / Lawrence here. . A lot of good things happen in Lawrence / KU, but you will never read about them here on KCC. Maybe try reading your own website

    4) Sorry about the Arizona thing, we all cant be lucky enough to attend good schools.

    5) I am sure the IRS will alow to deduct 1/2 of the cost of your stay as a business expense (so what the hell are you whining about? ) but if they dont (but they will) $200.00 hotel is cheaper than a DUII and a $45.00 bar package is typical or low…. have you checked other similar packages / prices??…. maybe you should….. and saying you are local and dont stay at hotels is no excuse…. you can call and/or just go look….. for free……. It is called reporting.

    6) fill your own point here… then do a counter point, juts to practice unbiased reportimng.

    7)Yes, I am awre my porr typing / spelling is a bad reflection upon KU. 😉

  12. Hearne Christopher says:

    1) yes $200 is not that much for a LUXURY hotel. Unless the accommodations – 52 inch TV aside – are Motel 5 calibre

    2) $45 for 15 drinks is cheap as shit. It’s also dumber than shit to put 15 drink tickets in KU students pockets for a NYE party. Do you really not get that? Amazing!

    3) I’ll take your advice to heart

    4) Yeah well, I had fun

    5) Where did you get the idea that I thought it was too expensive? I did book the room.

    6) Pass

    7) Happens to me, too. Understandable

  13. Grover says:

    You never drank 15 drinks in a night?
    $45 for 15 drinks is cheap as shit. It’s also dumber than shit to put 15 drink tickets in KU students pockets for a NYE party. Do you really not get that? Amazing!

    “Amazing!” ……. amazing? whatsyoutalkingboutwillis?
    You do know this an college, not a high school?… plus I heard there were old guiys there too.

    Dude, its college… it New Years Eve!! Back in the day we used to drink 15 drinks per hour.

    Who the hell should drink like that???… if it is not a high metabolizing college student?

    There is a place for this kind of thing, and its called NEW YEARS EVE / COLLEGE!!!!
    dang, this makes me wanna do a shot right now…. is Kellys open? …. naw jk ;)but it is still a tad early.


    6 hours?…. 3 drinks an hour?….. fuck!!!!! that is 18 drinks…. I would need more tickets!!!!

    Watch some episodes of Mad Men on AMC, remind yourself how this country used to drink… that is before the NIG PHARMA got the country addicted to its brand of “booze”…. booze is better than pills.

  14. paulwilsonkc says:

    15 drink tickets and Jardines?
    This has nothing to do with Jardines, I just couldn’t resist adding the name to your post.

    Food for thought, if you’re hungry. I recently attended a highfalutin soir

  15. Hearne Christopher says:

    Fifteen drinks per hour, huh? That explains everything!

  16. Hearne Christopher says:

    A Long Island Iced Tea has almost always been a premium drink because it’s supposed to have a shot each of vodka, gin, rum and tequila – that’s four drinks. Which is why you can’t remember what else happened that night!

    yeah, I’ll be they advertised it that way so they could get people in the door, give em just two drinks and work em over from there.

  17. Hearne Christopher says:

    Actually for my followup on the NYE story, the manager says it’s like two tix for a beer, so it would be an eight drink max or less depending on what was ordered. Still think it’s misleading.

    Union Station, for example, said two drinks. Not tickets.

  18. paulwilsonkc says:

    hearne, you’re getting grumpier than me!
    15 tickets. 2 for a beer = 7 beers. Not 8. What’s misleading would be NO long islands!

    Everyone go home, there’s nothing left to see here.

    PS: I MISS



  19. Hearne Christopher says:

    You forgot the champagne. Don’t mess with the Mermaid, she’ll take you down!

  20. mermaid says:

    You are correct Mr. Christopher
    I will do just that…

  21. paulwilsonkc says:

    but, ive been nothing but kind to Mermaid,
    ..spelled her name correctly, unlike Harley, and made the only cogent, relevant comment about champagne, garnering a very kind reply from her. I can’t make a champagne reference in every post, that would get as old as Jardines!

  22. mermaid says:

    I was not referrng to you by any means. I believe Hearne was referring to “someone else”. Perhaps the idea stealer!

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