Today I checked into the Graduate Bloomington, a quirky hotel just on the edge of the Indiana University campus.
The Graduate is a fun experience – part college-town charm, part “parents stay here all the time,” part classy, and part comfy. When you arrive, a valet rushes to open the door for you. You walk through… and there’s a bicycle propped up against the front desk. No, no one left it there. It’s part of the décor.
As are the hundreds of cookie jars lining the walls, nooks, and crannies of the adjacent coffee shop that fills half of the Graduate’s lobby. I popped in for a coffee, then asked the barista what was up with the cookie jars. She proceeded to tell me that the owner of the largest collection of cookie jars in the world lives right there in Bloomington. “Oh,” I said, “Does she let you keep part of her collection?
“No,” she responded, “We bought these on Amazon.”
Hmmmm. I happily went around taking photos while students tried to work around me. Then I made my way to the other side of the lobby, which is essentially a study hall for students who can’t find a place to study on the massive campus just steps away.
I had to swipe my card to reach my floor, making me feel like I was heading to the penthouse. Alas, I am in a regular room. And it is weird. Picture fabric lamps splattered with roses, just like your grandma’s house; a picture of a Buddhist temple; a framed high school banner; and musical notes to the song Stardust, with a gingham wallpaper backdrop. In the bathroom, I kill time studying the stick figure bicycle wallpaper. Did I mention the headboard, which is really a faux murphy bed door with a random drawer pulled out mid-wall and a framed magazine cover propped atop?
Everything is kitschy and whimsical and weird, and I kinda dig it. At least it’s not austere and bland like so many hotels. The college students working the front desk are cute and relaxed, and the whole feeling here is just to relax and have fun. That is definitely something I can get behind.
And you can’t beat the location. I’m walking everywhere, and everywhere is just a few blocks away. It’s like going back to college, without all the annoying tests and studying. And let’s face it – college without studying is just about perfect.