Stay at the Graduate Bloomington, where you’ll be surrounded with eclectic art, vintage basketball memorabilia and floor-to-ceiling cookie jars. This quirky, comfortable, stylish hotel is the perfect spot to sleep and relax in Bloomington, Indiana.
Graduate Bloomington is located within a few minutes walk of the Sample Gates, the entrance to the historic Old Crescent portion of Indiana University’s campus. Surrounded by restaurants, bars, and shops, there is no shortage of things to do without ever getting in a car. In this Graduate Bloomington review, I’ll cover details about the room, lobby, and onsite cafe (Poindexter Coffee).
Decorated with nods to IU’s rich basketball history, the school’s psychology program, the state’s cookie jar record holder, and even a bit of Stanger Things, it’s the perfect mix of youthful fun and the warmth of nostalgia.
Disclosure: This page includes affiliate links.
What are Graduate Hotels?
Graduate Hotels are all located near college campuses (hence the name, “Graduate”). Iconic to all Graduate Hotels is long study table(s) in the lobby, similar to what you’d find in a historic university library.
Often, you’ll find yellow No. 2 pencils engraved with the boutique hotel chain’s motto “WE ARE ALL STUDENTS”, peppered along the tables. On many weekdays, you’ll find students using this free study space located steps from their campus.
Nearby, right off the lobby, is another Graduate Hotel staple, Poindexter. This coffee shop generally offers drip coffee, espresso drinks, baked goods, and – in some locations – breakfast and lunch options.
The decor has been coined by Graduate themselves as “new-stalgia”, reminiscent of the history and culture of the nearby campus, with a modern and fresh vibe. Filled with details in everything from the carpet to the wallpaper to the art and more… the hotels are each individually decorated to match the corresponding university and city.
Why we Love Graduate Hotels
My husband and I became loyal Graduate Hotel fans after our first stay at Graduate Ann Arbor. As a interior design lover, I can’t get enough of the unique decor which is woven through everything from the lobby to the rooms and the restrooms. No detail is missed.
In addition, my husband and I love the atmosphere in a Gradutate Hotel lobby. Bustling with energy in the mornings as students stop in to study and grab coffee, and the perfect place to hang out in the evenings, often with an attached bar or cocktail lounge.
Our kids are fans, too. Like us, they enjoy the environment of the hotel – whether it’s playing board games, completing a game of pool, or eating a late-night dinner in the lobby. (My daughter even plays pretend “Graduate hotel” at home — setting up a check in desk and labeling our interior doors with room numbers.)
Graduate Bloomington Lobby
You’ll enter below glass basketball chandeliers and walk up to a gorgeous antique-style solid wood check in counter. Large scale artwork, reminiscent of a vintage basketball team photo, spans the space behind the check-in desk. The artwork includes nods to two Indiana sports movie classics:
- the Cutters bicycle team from “Breaking Away” (set in Bloomington) and
- the Hickory High School basketball team from “Hoosiers.”
To the left is a room filled with places to lounge, from low-slung mid century style couches and chairs to vintage wooden pull-out bleachers. The walls are covered in mismatched wallpapers and a mix of artwork to create an eclectic, casual, youthful vibe.
The walls filled with eclectic patterns and artwork, give you plenty to study and take in, as you sit and relax. I especially appreciated the pull out seating for the study tables (vintage bleachers from a school’s gymnasium) and the coffee tables made from wood basketball court flooring. And, of course, I always love a good gallery wall.
Two long tables offer space to study and play card games, along with a few more tables and sitting area in the adjoining room near the elevators. This space is a little quieter and sophisticated with a dark, rich, floor to ceiling wainscoting (how awesome is that vintage floral couch!?).
As a bonus, Stranger Things fans will find a few familiar pieces of artwork (and even a few specially-themed guest rooms).
Graduate Bloomington Cafe
To the right of the main lobby is Poindexter, a large cafe with plenty of seating, a soda fountain style counter, and cookie jars from floor to ceiling. Huge windows offer tons of light; it’s the perfect spot to start your day (which I did, each morning).
Located in the small town of Metamora, Indiana, Grannie’s Ice Cream Parlor boasts the world’s largest collection of cookie jars. Poindexter’s collection isn’t too shabby, and makes for quirky decor spread throughout the bright, cheerful, cafe.
Graduate Bloomington Hotel Rooms
We booked a room with two queens for our family of four. With plenty of space, and a bright aesthetic, the room felt cheery, welcoming, and playful.
Picket fence bedspread runners are a nod to the play made famous by the movie “Hoosiers.” The mix and match vibe found in the study area is repeated here, with a more elegant touch. Check wallpaper, floral fabric-covered lighting, plaid upholstery, striped throw pillows, and large print window treatments combine for a chic eclectic mix (my favorite decorating style and what I’ve chosen for our home).
Locker-style cabinets house space to hang clothing, a storage shelf, the safe, and the ironing board. The desk and dresser are dark warm woods, paired with a mid-century style lamp wrapped in leather. These masculine touches balance the feminine color palette found on the the walls and in the bedding.
This bathroom shower might just become my model for our master bath renovation. I loved the black paneled shower door, the linear drain, double sconce, campaign style vanity, and the classic black-and-white color palette.
Out in the hallway, the eclectic decor doesn’t stop. You’ll find colorful custom carpeting (featuring the state seal, state bird, state flower, and basketball hoops), punchy red guest room doors, and art installations inspired by the infamous Bob Knight chair-throw incident.
Events and Conferences at Graduate Bloomington
We were traveling for personal reasons, but I’ve visited several Graduate hotels for work-related events. The conference space at Graduate Bloomington features a slightly toned down version of the hotel’s signature eclectic mid-century vibe.
Summary of Graduate Bloomington Review
We loved this hotel! It is exactly what we envision when we think of a Graduate Hotel stay. A great vibe, interesting decor around every corner, and conveniently located. There is plenty to do within walking distance, both on campus and around the hotel.
If you are headed to Bloomington, make sure to check out our list of things to do in Bloomington for kids and families (coming soon!).
If you liked this post about travel and interior design, you might also like:
- Visit the Swiss Chalet inspired Many Glacier Hotel
- Tour the World’s Longest Yard Sale to Shop Antique and Vintage Goods
- Visit a Castle and Pop-Art Hotel for a Cincinnati Weekend Getaway