During a recent filming trip for the new luxury hotel TV show, Great Escapes, I was lucky enough to stay at one of the windy city’s best hotel, the Thompson Chicago. The hotel offers beautiful views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan, all while being just steps from the famous Magnificent Mile. Keep reading for my in-depth review of the Thompson Chicago hotel and why it should be on the top of anyone’s list who is looking for a downtown hotel while visiting Chicago!
17.6 miles from O’Hare Intl. Airport (ORD)
13 miles from Midway Intl. Airport (MDW)
Check-in: 3 pm | Check-out: 12 noon
Parking: $48/night self-park, $72/night valet
Pet policy: All pets allowed, no fee/deposit
Wifi: Free, Upgraded in-room Wifi available for $9.99/day
Room rates: $300+/night, plus taxes & fees
Check availability & make a reservation!
The Thompson Chicago is located in the hip Gold Coast neighborhood of downtown Chicago. Just steps from the famous Magnificent Mile and the water of Lake Michigan at Oak Street Beach, the hotel is also surrounded by endless restaurants, bars, other attractions. Upon my arrival, I received a warm greeting by the sharply dressed and helpful staff instead of the usual “checking in?”. They then made short work of my luggage and the valet ticket was in my hand before I could even reach for a tip. As I entered the lobby, with doors opened by the attentive staff, I didn’t find the usual hustle and herds of guests trying to check out with piles of luggage. Rather, I was greeted with a warm and relaxing scent, comfortable and inviting furniture, and decoration that is in stark contrast to the hectic city environment just behind me. The Front Desk staff were genuine, knowledgeable, and efficient; a rare combination of traits to possess.
This 247-room hotel offers a variety of City and Lakeview rooms and suites as well as an amazing bi-level Penthouse that features a private terrace, pool table, and separate staff entrance in case you wanted to host a private catered event. The room decor is a unique city-chic style with perfectly pressed white linens, plaid throws, cozy and comfortable seating dressed with cleverly patterned pillows that provide a perfect example of minimalism paired with modern class and style. Of course, they have all modern amenities that today’s travelers demand. Rooms have USB wall chargers, iPhone docking/charging radio, telephones with two lines and conferencing abilities, and LED reading lamps integrated into the headboards. Bathrooms have a large and well-lit mirror, oversized Frette terrycloth robes, rainfall shower heads, and one of my favorite little touches is the nightlight integrated into the floor board under the bathroom sink.
While the hotel doesn’t own the restaurant or cocktail lounge just off the lobby, you would never know. Seamlessly integrated into the hotel is Nico Osteria, which offers some of the finest Italian fares Chicago has to offer. The daily-changing menu has an inviting mix of perfected Italian classics and modern dishes to excite even the most discerning guest. House-made pasta, expertly prepared fish and seafood as well as their Crudo or “Raw Bar” serve up some of the freshest and most creative items made to order right in front of you in their show kitchen. Not only does Nico Osteria offer a daily-changing menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, (View Today’s Menu) they also manage the cocktail lounge, Salone Nico, which is the quintessential luxury hotel lobby lounge. With a unique and creative selection of specialty cocktails, carefully selected yet approachable wine list and many rare and unique spirits, it’s the place where neighborhood locals meet up for drinks and mingle with hotel guests who are traveling through the city. Though it’s not only about the drinks, Chef Erling Wu Bower, the 2015 & 2016 James Beard Foundation “Best Chef: Great Lakes” nominee and Nico Osteria’s Chef de Cuisine has created his rustic Italian menu to perfectly complement the atmosphere and style of the Salone Nico. (View Salone Nico Menu)
Nico Osteria’s skilled and passionate team also uses their skills to provide private dining, catering and banquet service for the hotel’s various meeting, weddings, and event spaces, as well as providing all 247 rooms of the Thompson Chicago with arguably some of the best in-room dining options in the country.
The Thompson Chicago is a hotel that understands attention to detail is one of the cornerstones of any successful hospitality business. Another smart decision, in my opinion, was to partner with restaurant Nico Osteria. Operating a hotel and restaurant, while both hospitality businesses, are dramatically different and continuously serve up their own unique challenges. I’ve visited many hotels that also operate their own restaurants and many times one or the other suffers because of it. To ensure the consistency in execution throughout both businesses is a tall challenge and very few are able to do it to perfection. The Thompson Chicago and Nico Osteria is a shining example of how the separation of roles, management of the hotel and restaurant, can successfully be accomplished while occupying the same space and still provide the guest the best possible experience. Kudos, team!
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