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Wish We Were Here: Thompson Chicago

(Photos courtesy of Thompson Chicago)
Chicago may be known in some circles as Second City, but there's nothing second-rate about its lodging options. Take the new Thompson, which is located on a leafy side street in the tony Gold Coast neighborhood. Not only does the hotel offer unobstructed views of Lake Michigan from the heart of the city, but the interiors are the work of British designer (and Lonny favorite) Tara Bernerd. Consider our room booked!

The masculine aesthetic that first drew us to the designer's London apartment is on full display here. In the wood-beamed lobby, bespoke smoked-oak bookcases flank a central fireplace near the reception desk; midcentury-modern furniture looks like it's straight out of an office in Mad Men, a fact further enhanced by upholstery in natty tweeds, flannels, and velvets. A nod to the present: a slick black-and-white graffiti mural against the back wall.

Upstairs, the 247 guest rooms follow suit, with tweed throw blankets atop crisp white bedlinens, custom joinery, and tufted L-shaped banquettes for seating. Colorful accents include trays of orange billiards balls and bowls filled with hundreds of tangerine dice (we'll see how long those stay put). Contemporary artwork bolsters the rooms' urban edge thanks to the discerning eye of Bill Powers, a New York-based gallerist—and judge on Bravo's Work of Art: The Next Great Artist—who has chosen an eclectic mix of pieces by emerging artists, including Kanye West collaborator Wes Lang, multi-disciplined collective FriendsWithYou, and Brooklyn-based painter Cynthia Daignault. The bathrooms are equally stylish, with Carrera marble counter tops, glossy white-tile walls, and moody navy-blue ceilings. 

All this and I haven't even gotten to the stunning lounge and restaurant! Awash in jewel-toned upholstery inspired by past collections by Yves Saint Laurent, Salone Nico is better-looking than your average hotel lounge—not least because of its massive wall of greenery backing the bar. No less impressive is the adjacent restaurant, Nico Osteria, which has tiling so amazing it's making me reconsider my apartment's hardwood floors. Look out for more design inspiration from the gorgeous Thompson Chicago in the coming weeks.

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