The Netflix hit “The Queen’s Gambit” is a mind-stretching period piece that has reignited an interest in chess around the world. But most of the action in the series takes place in Lexington, Kentucky, the hometown of chess prodigy protagonist Beth Harmon.
VisitLEX, the city’s tourism booster, and agency Cornett are leaning into Lexington’s starring role with an experiential campaign designed to draw fans of the show. The 21c Museum Hotel has dedicated a fully redesigned room to the effort. Dubbed “The Beth Harmon Room,” it features period-appropriate mid-century modern furniture, vintage accessories and the earthy tones of the 1960s. Fans of the show might also delight in the centerpiece, a larger-than-life upside-down chess board hanging on the ceiling above the bed, inspired by Harmon’s late-night hallucinatory strategizing, with an arrangement mirroring Harmon's final match with Russian grandmaster Vasily Borgov.
The room was envisioned by interior designer Isabel Ladd and preservationist Lucy Jones. Alex K Mason of Ferrick Mason Inc. designed a wallpaper pattern styled after the knight piece, and the furniture was sourced from antique shop Scout and local collectors. The fictional Lex Liquors also gets its own custom tote bag like the one Harmon uses too often in the show.
Black Swan Books provided copies of “Chess Review” and rare books of chess. And of course, there’s an actual chess set to play. The limited-edition set is made from walnut and maple by Iron Bridge Workshop (and is also available for purchase at the Lexington Visitor Center right next to the hotel). The room rates start at $234 a night, depending on season and availability.
Visitors to Lexington can also check out some of Harmon’s haunts on the Queen’s Gambit Tour, which includes stops at horse farms and bourbon distilleries, in addition to locations like Harmon's high school and the site of the department store where she bought her first chess set.