Stranger Things hotel suite opens in Bloomington, Indiana – IndyStar

BLOOMINGTON — If you walked down East Kirkwood Avenue near South Lincoln Street — past the coffee place, the rock shop, the other coffee place, the other coffee place — chances are you’d glide right by the gateway to the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. 
Entering Graduate Bloomington yields a few subtle hints. The hotel’s ground floor mixes framed Eggo waffle art and a photo of the faded Starcourt Mall façade with older references to famous Hoosiers and pop culture. Its restaurant, Poindexter, spells things out a little more clearly, with an Upside Down burger and Demogorgon smoothie on the menu. 
The third floor crystallizes it: Spaces once occupied by rooms 318 and 320 now house the “Upside Down Experience,” a suite with detailed recreations of two key settings from Netflix’s sci-fi hit series “Stranger Things.” 
More:Watch the trailer: New season of ‘Stranger Things’ will bring fans back to Indiana
General Manager 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 this whole conversation. All of my energy is going into creating the ‘Stranger Things’ room for you,'” Parton said Wednesday as he walked between the Byers’ living room and Wheelers’ basement, the two settings recreated in the adjoined suite. 
Months of design and artistry followed to ensure a match to the show’s stylized early ’80s feel.
Wood paneling, a working cassette player and linens that would be well at home in your grandmother’s closet set the timeline, while various recreated props from the series — costumes, Steve’s nail bat, a crushed Coke can with Eleven’s telekinetic fingerprints all over it — provide the “Stranger Things” feel.
“This is the couch they wanted,” Parton said, pointing to a loveseat in the recreated Byers living room draped in a late ’70s/early ’80s pattern. “(The hotel’s designers) hired this one guy to drive it in his truck from Arizona to Bloomington. That’s how committed they are to bringing the right decor pieces into this space.”
The suite’s showstopper is an alphabet and 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 wrapped in more lights. 
One bathroom is decked in red and features a photo of Eleven, while the other features missing posters and newspaper clippings from Will’s disappearance. A large recreation of the evil Mind Flayer hangs above the suite’s king-sized bed. 
The Wheelers’ basement, which serves as the suite’s bedroom, also houses a shelf of period-accurate board games, as well as a replica of the Dungeons and Dragons kit played by the main characters throughout the series.
Parton said the suite, which will officially open to the public on Oct. 26, is meant to be an immersive experience.
Guests will be loaned Polaroid cameras for an ’80s documentation of their visits, as well as Eleven’s Eggo extravaganza — a recreation of the main character’s iconic meal of three waffles doused in whipped cream and various candies, including oft-polarizing Candy Corn. 
A stay also includes two passes to the nearby WonderLab Science Museum, as a nod to the main characters’ love for science. Graduate also donates 11 percent of the suite’s profits to WonderLab. 
The suite starts at $309 per night, but reservations for the rest of the year are filling up, Parton said. 
Graduate has some history with pop culture-themed rooms. Its Evanston, Illinois location offers a nod to “Home Alone” with the “King McCallister Experience,” and its Nashville hotel features a Dolly Parton-themed room.  
Parton — the Bloomington general manager, not the unrelated singer — said the “Stranger Things” suite will be an indefinite fixture of the hotel. 
That’s provided, of course, it isn’t 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. 

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