BLOOMINGTON – If you walked down East Kirkwood Avenue near South Lincoln Street – past the cafe, the rock store, the other cafe, the other cafe – Chances are, you’re slipping right by the front door of the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana.
Stepping into Graduate Bloomington gives some subtle clues. The hotel’s ground floor mixes the framed Eggo waffle art and a photo of the faded facade of the Starcourt Mall with older references to famous Hoosiers and pop culture. His restaurant, Poindexter, clarifies things a bit more clearly, with an upside down burger and a Demogorgon smoothie on the menu.
The third floor crystallizes it: The spaces formerly occupied by Rooms 318 and 320 now house the ‘Upside Down Experience’, a sequel with detailed recreations of two key settings from Netflix’s hit sci-fi series’ Stranger Things ”.
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Managing Director Corey Parton first pitched the idea to Ben Weprin, founder and CEO of graduate parent company Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners, during a routine business call about six months ago. .
“Immediately he was like ‘forget about this whole conversation. All of my energy is put into creating the ‘Stranger Things’ room for you, “” Parton said Wednesday as he walked between Byers ‘living room and Wheelers’ basement, both settings recreated in the adjoining suite. .
Months of design and art followed to ensure a match with the show’s stylized early ’80s vibe.
Wood panels, a working cassette player, and linens that would look right at home in your grandma’s closet set the timeline, while various recreated props from the series – costumes, Steve’s nail bat, a crushed can of Coke with Eleven’s telekinetic fingerprints all over it – provide the “Stranger Things” feel.
“This is the sofa they wanted,” Parton said, pointing to a loveseat in the recreated Byers living room draped in a late ’70s / early’ 80s motif. “(Hotel designers) hired this guy to drive him in his truck from Arizona to Bloomington. That’s how determined they are to bring the right pieces of decor to this space. “
The highlight of the sequel is an alphabet and a Christmas light wall, which Winona Ryder’s character Joyce Byers uses to communicate with her captured son, Will. False cabinet doors across the room reveal an original painting of Joyce shrouded in more light.
One bathroom is decked out in red and features a photo of Eleven, while the other features missing posters and newspaper clippings of Will’s disappearance. A large recreation of the evil Mind Flayer hangs above the suite’s king-size bed.
The Wheelers’ basement, which serves as the bedroom of the suite, also houses a shelf of period board games, as well as a replica of the Dungeons and Dragons kit played by the main characters in the series.
Parton said the sequel, which will officially open to the public on October 26, is meant to be an immersive experience.
Guests will be loaned Polaroid cameras for ’80s documentation of their tours, as well as Eleven’s Eggo extravagance – a recreation of the main character’s iconic meal of three waffles sprinkled with whipped cream and various candies, including often polarizing corn candies.
A stay also includes two passes to the nearby WonderLab Science Museum, in honor of the main characters’ love of science. Graduate also donates 11% of the profits from the suite to WonderLab.
The suite starts at $ 309 per night, but bookings for the rest of the year are filling up, Parton said.
The graduate has some history with pop culture themed rooms. Its location in Evanston, Ill. Is a nod to “Home Alone” with the “King McCallister Experience” and its hotel in Nashville has a Dolly Parton themed room.
Parton – the managing director of Bloomington, not the independent singer – said the “Stranger Things” sequel would be an undefined part of the hotel.
That is on condition, of course, that he doesn’t get sucked into the Upside Down.
Rory Appleton is the pop culture reporter at IndyStar. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @RoryDoesPhonics.