Not in the holiday spirit? No problem. Do something other than stuff your face with turkey. Take a short drive for fun.
First, a bit of history.
My son is having a difficult year. School is intense, especially after two years of pandemic learning with schedules often just a suggestion more than set in stone. He, like many American children, sees the consequences of this absence from school. It’s a struggle to focus; the stamina to do several school assignments at once is a big ask. It’s not just that; there’s always more, but all that to say, we needed a break.
In August, my son and I started watching “Stranger Things” together. It’s his first real break into scary TV, and he fell in love with it. He loves all the characters so much. He has memorized their lines, knows little details about them that I would never remember, and sometimes even carves demogorgons.
One night after putting the kid to bed, I started looking for “Stranger Things” experiences just out of curiosity. I love nurturing children’s interests, especially with experiential things and not just commercial ones. While researching, I saw the official “Stranger Things: The Experience”, which is an immersive 45-minute presentation from Hawkins Lab. The closest to us was in Atlanta. Too far, it’s over.
Then I noticed that the Graduate Hotel in Bloomington had a “Stranger Things” suite. Uh, what?! Sold. Apparently, graduate hotels are really good for themed stays. Check Suite 9 to 5 in Nashville.
I browsed through the gallery of the suite and immediately found a date that would suit our schedules and budget. I don’t get paid to write this, but my desire to make it happen was great, so budget was at the top of my list.
If you’ve been wondering about dropping a few bills to sleep and relax on ’80s basement furniture, here’s your chance — and, in a word, it’s glorious. If you have some flexibility, you can book the room at a reasonable rate.
Advice to the wise: it’s not a Saturday night. Also, apparently the rate we found is an anomaly. The rates for this room can be expensive, but I will say that for the family experience and the time spent together, it is worth it.
The sequel was sweet
Entering rooms 318 and 320 (you must enter through 318), marked “Castle Byers”, we were transported to the living room of the first “Stranger Things” family, the Byers, at the time when Will Byers had been sucked upside down. This is the world of monsters that terrorize the town of Hawkins, Indiana.
In the room, there are Christmas lights hanging all over the ceiling, and the wall above the sofa bed is the famous Christmas light alphabet that Winona Ryder’s character, Joyce Byers, used to communicate with Will. . You’ll even find a secret Joyce hidden in a cabinet, holding a ball of lights.
The second room in the suite is the Wheelers basement, where Mike Wheeler hides Eleven and gives her a steady supply of Eggo.Ⓡ Waffles. This room has the famous tent where Eleven hides, a giant black arachnid suspended from the ceiling, wood paneling, tiled walls, shelves of accessories and old board games to play with the family. This detail makes it even more perfect that this room does not have a modern television. This suite is designed to spend time with your people. If you can’t live without a television, be sure to bring a laptop, just in case.
The small details of the room are where we were completely won over by the experience. There are character dress-up clothes from the show: Steve Harrington’s Scoops Ahoy outfit, Eleven’s pink smocked dress, Will’s Will the Wise wizard robe, and Camp t-shirt and hat. Know Where by Dustin.
Games, of course: Milton Bradley’s 1974 Score Four won our hearts. This game deserves a reissue on its own, separate from its comparison to Connect Four. We also really liked Stay Alive.
The room also comes with two WonderLab museum passes – we left them in the room for a lucky guest after us – plus a Polaroid camera with a roll of instant film, bicycles and secret food menus available only for room guests.
In the hotel cafe, Poindexter, there are specialties like the Upside Down Burger (literally an upside down burger smash), the Demogorgon Smoothie and a Scoops Ahoy sundae. The burger got rave reviews from my husband and child.
Without telling you everything about the room or the Graduate Hotels, which have a wonderful sense of fun and a real sensitivity to the places where they are open, I will just conclude by telling you to go there. Find a rate that works for you – and even if it’s just for one night, like we did, enjoy the experience. I am new to this chain of hotels, but will definitely look forward to staying at their other hotels and experiences.
#Graduate #HotelBloomingtons #Stranger #suite #family #time #fun #LEO #Weekly