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New Bloomington hotel works to celebrate IU culture


The Graduate Hotel is located at 210 E. Kirkwood Ave. Haley Klezmer Buy Photos

“They come to Bloomington, they go to the local shop owners and speak with them, they visit the University, the restaurants and they really learn what is popular in Bloomington pays homage to coach Bob Knight and art from the movie "Hoosiers" displayed behind the front desk.  

A receptionist answers a call in the lobby of the Graduate Hotel on Dec. 4. The hotel features IU memorabilia such as a large portrait of members of the Cutters team from the movie “Breaking Away” and Hickory team members from the movie “Hoosiers.” Haley Klezmer Buy Photos

At the Nov. 29 opening, the six-story hotel, located on Kirkwood Avenue offered tours, food and a performance from the IU Crabb band. 

Though the inside seems pure Indiana, the company has 12 other Graduate hotel locations in various college towns like Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Madison, Wisconsin. 

Stephanie Harris, general manager of the Bloomington location, said the company felt Bloomington was a nice fit because of IU and the feel of the city. 

“The University’s a huge part of our culture and of our brand but we also like to go into towns that have a dynamic local area as well,” she said. 

Once a location is agreed upon, the company’s interior design team does extensive research before decorating the hotel. 

The Graduate Hotel lobby features patchwork wallpaper, artwork covering the walls, plants and other eclectic decor. Haley Klezmer Buy Photos

While giving a tour on Nov. 29,  President of Brand Sales, Denise Tinney said the designers find some of their decorations at antique shops. 

Tinney showed various types of suites to visitors at the grand opening, including basic king bed rooms and large suites.  

The hotel also has spaces with names that pay respect to various Bloomington icons and lore, like the Jack and Diane terrace and the Will Shortz meeting room. 

There are a few other hotels in the same area but Harris said Graduate Hotel serves a niche community than the others. 

“The Graduate Hotel is a little different,” she said. “It’s kind of geared towards people who are looking for an experience, they are looking to learn about the city.” 

By 2019, the hotel will have an in-house cafe, Poindexter Coffee. It will offer coffee, breakfast and lunch. 

Harris said she wants the place to be inviting for everyone in the local community. 

“We want students to come study in our lobby, we want local people from businesses to come hang out, maybe hold small meetings” she said. “We really just want to be the living room of the community and really a safe space where people feel like they can go and just be.” 

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