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This “Queen’s Gambit”–Inspired Hotel Room Is a Midcentury Dream

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No, you’re not hallucinating. There’s actually a chessboard above the bed.

Courtesy of VisitLEX

No, you’re not hallucinating. There’s actually a chessboard above the bed.

The “Harmon Room” at Kentucky’s 21c Museum Hotel Lexington lets you immerse yourself in the world of Netflix’s champion chess player.

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I’d be lying if I said high-stakes chess matches were what kept me glued to The Queen’s Gambit over a two-day Netflix binge. Don’t get me wrong: Watching young chess prodigy Beth Harmon humiliate men match after match was certainly entertaining. But more than anything, I found myself pining after the 1960s set design, wishing I, too, could live in a house where every room is plastered with the most over-the-top wallpaper you could imagine.

Yet the likelihood of turning my New York City rental into a midcentury fever dream is unlikely. Lucky for me, the 21c Museum Hotel Lexington—the same Kentucky city where the Netflix show is set—opened a Queen’s Gambit–inspired “Harmon Room” earlier in January. 

Even the wallpaper is chess themed.

In partnership with the VisitLEX tourism board, the 21c Museum Hotel Lexington collaborated with local designer Isabel Ladd, a self-described “enthusiastic maximalist,” and Lucy Jones, the founder of the Mid-Century Design League of Lexington, to create a period-appropriate room. 

The result is something that looks like a set straight out of the show—right down to the chessboard installed above the king-size bed mimicking Beth’s drug-induced hallucinations. There’s also custom wallpaper in a pattern called “The Knight’s Gambit” designed by Alex K. Mason of Kentucky-based Ferrick Mason Inc. and plenty of midcentury furniture acquired from private collections and a local antique shop called Scout.

Reproductions of the “Lex Liquors” tote bags seen on the show were made just for this hotel room.

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During their stay, guests can also leaf through vintage copies of Chess Review magazine on loan from local Black Swan Books or even play a game on the in-room chessboard—designed by Lexington nonprofit Iron Bridge Woodshop and available for purchase at the Lexington Visitors Center. 

For those interested in exploring the rest of Beth Harmon’s world, VisitLEX also curated a Queen’s Gambit Guide to Lexington to connect the show’s fans with real-life local attractions featured in the show, including the Herald-Leader offices, Ben Snyder’s Department Store, and Henry Clay High School. While other places in the show—like Lex Liquors—aren’t real, the hotel room does have a fully stocked bar and a complimentary tote bag to take home from the fictional liquor store that Beth frequents.

The Harmon Room is available to book from now through late-spring/early-summer 2021, at which point the hotel room will be reverted to its original design.

Book Now: From $234 per night, visitlex.com/the-harmon-room; 21cmuseumhotels.com

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