Chicago’s hip Gold Coast hot spot
247 Rooms / 41 Suites
Surrounded by historic mansions and top-shelf designer boutiques, Thompson Chicago is a cozy, stylish getaway in downtown Chicago. From the first step off the tony Gold Coast streets and into the industrial-turned-chic lobby, you are enveloped in an atmosphere that feels unmistakably cool. Eclectic artwork, mid-century lines and plenty of leather and velvet create a warm setting that draws the fashion set as well as weekend vacationers.
The 247-room luxury hotel opened in 2013 along with its in-house restaurant Nico Osteria, an instant lure for the city’s food lovers. Thompson Chicago offers other perks, including a no-fee pet policy, free wireless internet and complimentary Lexus service — a vehicle and driver as well as loaner cars are available.
Thompson Chicago’s chic style was crafted by British designer Tara Bernerd, the creative force behind the chain’s ultra-stylish Four-Star Belgraves hotel in London. She created a library feel in the lobby — books are stacked on side tables and lined up on shelves over the fireplace, while tufted velvet sofas and leather armchairs invite lounging. The lobby also gives a peek into the hotel’s bar, Salone Nico, featuring a dramatic living wall of lush plants. The bar’s luxe look matches the rest of the hotel with warm wood-paneled walls, exposed brick and jewel-toned velvet seating.
Gallery walls of framed modern art in the Chicago hotel’s lobby match the eclectic art in the guest rooms, including work by artist Wes Lang (known for designing Kanye West’s tour T-shirts) hung over the beds. The rooms’ floor-to-ceiling windows showcase city views, while a muted palette of gray and tan feels current. The boutique hotel’s ambiance is obvious to more than the eye — sniff as you walk through the front doors and you’ll notice Thompson Hotels’ custom scent, called “Velvet” and meant to evoke the feeling of relaxing in a worn-in leather chair with a glass of scotch.
Thompson Chicago is home to Nico Osteria, a seafood-focused Italian restaurant backed by all-star Chicago restaurateur and James Beard Award winner Paul Kahan. The restaurant has been heralded for its rustic fare, including fresh pasta like melted leek triangolini with Nantucket bay scallops and black trumpet mushrooms. Chef Erling Wu-Bower, previously of Chicago’s popular Avec eatery, helms the kitchen while the elegant and inventive desserts are handled by Amanda Rockman, an alum of Chicago restaurants The Bristol and L2O as well as Top Chef Just Desserts.
Nico Osteria is a hip meeting spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but staying here means you don’t even need a table — guests can order from the menu for room service 24 hours a day. You won’t mind hanging out in the stylish space, though. Thompson Chicago’s modern design carries through the restaurant outfitted with warm woods, leather booths and counter seating with views of the open kitchen.
Thompson Chicago rubs shoulders with a fashionable crowd. The luxury hotel is located in Chicago’s posh Gold Coast neighborhood, the city’s most upscale shopping district. Peruse nearby shops like Barneys New York, Prada, Hermes, Lanvin, Saint Laurent and Tom Ford, among other legendary names. Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile stretch of Michigan Avenue is just a block away, offering shops ranging from Chanel to Louis Vuitton. When you’re done shopping, there’s more to do nearby — the boutique hotel is close to Lake Michigan’s Oak Street Beach and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago as well as stately homes that have long housed the city’s prominent families.