The 247-room Thompson Chicago has a Gold Coast address with the casual opulence and views — of both city and lake — to match.
The interior, by the British designer Tara Bernerd, shamelessly embodies buzzwords like “bespoke” and “curated” in an aesthetic that makes ample use of velvet, polished leather and dark wood, while occasionally veering toward overused trends like colorful graffiti-style murals in the gym or a tangle of antlers as a mock chandelier.
Though the hotel is now a year old, its lobby bar, Salone Nico, still feels like one of the city’s most stylish after-work spots.
From the 15th floor, my city-facing king room, the least expensive category, looked out over historic skyscrapers and uninspired late 20th-century apartment towers. To the north, through floor-to-ceiling windows and a canyon of buildings, was a narrow blue sliver of Lake Michigan.
The bed, dressed in 400-thread count Sferra linens, was uncommonly comfortable, while the room’s color scheme — white, gray, tan and dusty blue — was muted and relaxing. The furnishings were modern, with lamps in geometric shapes and offbeat art on the walls. A cushy L-shaped sofa and a large mirror made the already good-sized room feel even more spacious.
Gleaming white-tile walls, gray tile floors and dark teal paint rimming the ceiling lent a restrained, almost ascetic look to the large bathroom. There were plush white bathrobes, black velour flip-flops and grapefruit-scented Ren toiletries arrayed on the counter. The walk-in shower, separated from the bathroom by a glass wall, had both a rain shower and hand-held shower head.
Frustratingly, there was no coffee maker and the only in-room hot beverage service was through the expensive ($10 for a small pot of Intelligentsia Coffee, $16 for a full pitcher) room service program. Wi-Fi, on the other hand, is included and pets are welcome without exception, such as a size limit, or a pet fee.
The room menu is an abbreviated version of what is offered at Nico Osteria, the lobby restaurant with two Michelin stars. As such, the food is excellent but pricey. My dinnertime order, which was quoted at a 30-minute wait, arrived in half that time, with a beautiful presentation.
About a block from Lake Shore Drive, the Thompson is within easy walking distance of the lakefront at Oak Street Beach, as well as the Magnificent Mile shopping stretch and the Clark-Division stop on the Chicago Transit Red Line, which can have you in the downtown Loop in 10 minutes.
▪ Thompson Chicago, 21 E. Bellevue Place; 312-266-2100; thompsonhotels.com. Rooms from $289.