The Queen’s Gambit recently proved to be a breakout winter hit on Netflix, with people all over the world binge-watching the trials and tribulations of Beth Harmon and becoming fascinated with the ancient game of chess in the process. The series is based on the 1983 novel of the same name, written by author Walter Tevis who lived in Kentucky for some time. Now, a hotel in Lexington, where much of the story takes place, has unveiled a special room inspired by The Queen’s Gambit.
An initiative was recently started by tourism company VisitLEX, who partnered with creative agency Cornett, interior designer Isabel Ladd and preservationist Lucy Jones to bring to life a meticulously designed boutique hotel at 21c Lexington.
Named in honor of Beth Harmon, the troubled chess prodigy heroine of The Queen’s Gambit, The Harmon Room at 21c is a time capsule of American mid-century modern design, with vintage accessories, nods to the show’s most memorable moments and characters, and period furniture from private collectors and a local antique shop. Custom wallpaper in a pattern dubbed The Knight’s Gambit was designed for the project, while guests are treated to complimentary items like reproductions of the “Lex Liquors'' tote bags seen on the show. There’s even copies of Chess Review magazine and rare chess books on loan.
The room also has an actual chess set for guests to hone their skills, while a limited number of handmade walnut-and-maple chess boards are available for purchase created by local non-profit Iron Bridge Woodshop. There is even a larger-than-life art installation in the form of chess pieces hanging from the ceiling.
For fans of the series planning a trip to Lexington, the experience doesn’t end with the room, as VisitLEX has created a Queen’s Gambit Tour that includes landmarks and attractions from the show.
“The Queen’s Gambit put a spotlight on Lexington and piqued people’s interest in our community at a time when we could really use a boost,” said VisitLEX VP of Marketing Gathan Borden. “The Harmon Room and all of the activities we have planned around it are our way of rolling out the red carpet for visitors and another fun example of the way we use creativity to market our incredible city.” More information on the experience is available at the official 21c website.
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