During our weekend in Chicago in July, I decided to split our two nights in downtown Chicago between the Thompson Hotel Chicago and the Talbott. Both are recent additions to the World of Hyatt program. The Thompson Hotel Chicago is a member of Thompson Hotels, while the Talbott is part of the Joie de Vivre chain.
The Thompson Hotel Chicago is a Category 4 property, costing 15,000 Hyatt points per night, making it a nice use of a World of Hyatt Free night certificate. Cash rates for our date were $206 per night before taxes. This would have been right on the edge of what I like to get in value for Hyatt points, but I’m also against paying $200. A free night certificate made the most sense.
Arriving at the Thompson Chicago
The Thompson Hotel Chicago is located in the Near North Side, about 6-7 blocks north of the Red Line “Chicago” station. This makes it not super accessible by “L” train, but it is manageable enough. The hotel overlooks Mariano Park, a tiny sliver of green in the middle of the neighborhood.
We arrived on foot after taking the Blue line into downtown and switching to the Red line to get as close as we could before walking the rest. The front desk was able to accommodate our early 11:00 AM check-in. They also offered a 2:00 PM check out, which is available as a Discoverist/Explorist.
The benefit that wasn’t offered was the free water at check-in. Hyatt has very, very rarely failed at this, in my experience. I thought they might already have it in the room, but that turned out not to be the case either. Not a deal breaker by any means. I only noticed when I grabbed the bottle in the room and realized it was listed on the minibar menu. Not gonna drink the $6 water.
The Thompson puts their key cards in this simple, but classy holder.
Double Bed Room
A double-double room at the Thompson Hotel Chicago isn’t especially spacious. The layout is very standard, but it is a comfortable, well-appointed space.
The beds were super comfy. I slept great our second night in Chicago, unlike our first at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare when aircraft takeoffs woke me up early in the morning.
The double bed rooms offer a nice, glass-top desk.
As well as a single armchair in the corner.
I only took a photo of these nightstand lamps due to how unique they are. Definitely an instance of form over function.
Here is the inside of the closet.
Like I said, I thought the in-room water was the remedy for missing this at check-in. However, it is for purchase at an exorbitant price. It says FRED. Not FREE. I’d never even heard of FRED water.
The Thompson Hotel Chicago has a full minibar in the room, a rather unexpected feature for a domestic hotel. Like everything else on the menu, the beverages are way overpriced.
Our room had a nice bathroom. The sink, shower and toilet were all located in the same room, unlike some designs that put the toilet in a separate partition.
The shower had no door, but it was plenty spacious and there was no worry about getting water into the rest of the room. The rain shower is fantastic.
The glass partition gives you a full view of the toilet. A bit awkward.
Our room faced north with a view of Mariano Park and the surrounding restaurants. I loved our view of the neighborhood.
And here is my kid being his goofy self.
Overall, we were entirely pleased with the room. We both slept well on the comfy beds, the shower was great, and were able to enjoy a nice view of the Near North Side. Can’t ask for more from a city hotel room.
After looking at the menu for the Nico Osteria, I decided that we’d give the Thompson’s restaurant a try for breakfast. The prices aren’t too bad, more reasonable than I was expecting. We’d probably be able to eat for ~$25 total before tip.
I’d made one miscalculation: the Thompson Hotel Chicago restaurant doesn’t open at the normal breakfast time on Sundays. They go straight to a brunch menu starting at 9:00 AM. This was problematic, as I hoped to be on our way to the Alder Planetarium by then.
Luckily, there is a breakfast restaurant directly across the street: the Original Pancake House. They have an extensive breakfast menu, and we enjoyed our meal there. I had no clue it was a chain until I looked them up later. The location and food are both great.
Other Hotel Features
There are a number of small meeting rooms on the second through fourth floors of the Thompson Hotel Chicago. The hotel also has a small fitness center on the fourth floor. There is unfortunately no pool, but we would stay busy enough that spending time in the pool wouldn’t have fit well into the schedule.
The Thompson also has a tiny business center adjacent to the front desk. And a very interesting take on the Mona Lisa.
Besides the Nico Osteria restaurant, the Thompson operates the Salone Nico, a bar and lounge with a very classy atmosphere.
It was a very popular place on Saturday night. The place was filled. But it’s definitely easier to snap photos in the morning when no one is around.
Here’s a shot from the staircase heading up to the second level.
The hotel location is honestly great, in my opinion. If you have mobility issues and hoped to use the “L” train, it is a several block walk. But that was no issue at all for us. You can be from hotel to train in about 10 minutes. The lake is also a short walk away.
The neighborhood has a number of other dining options, if the Nico Osteria doesn’t fit the bill for you. Some are upscale options within a 1-2 minute walk, but I highly suggest Lou Malnati’s Pizza across Mariano Park. It’s an excellent pick if you want a classic Chicago deep dish pie.
I found the Thompson Hotel Chicago to be an excellent pick. it might be fun to be closer to the river and the center of the city, but I really liked the atmosphere of the hotel and the neighborhood it is located in. The Near North Side feels a lost less frenetic than downtown, and there also isn’t the pedestrian traffic you get right along the Magnificent Mile.
If you’re looking for a unique pick within the Hyatt chain, give the Thompson Hotel Chicago a try the next time you visit the Windy City.