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Color is one word that doesn’t come to mind at Public Hotel, where the light marble matches the walls, which match the couches. This Gold Coast hotel is the brainchild of Ian Schrager, the co-founder of Studio 54, who is credited with coining the whole concept of boutique hotel. It opened in 2011, taking over the old Ambassador East and returning a sense of splendor to a property that was previously quite flea-baggy. The rooms are about as bright as the lobby (beige blanket, beige carpet, beige curtains, beige walls, beige chair, luxe white linens), yet the elevator and halls seem alarmingly dark. I wondered if my eyes were having issues and asked about it. “It’s all about the contrast,” I was told—a Schrager touch. The brights seem brighter when coming from the dark. Which is true, they do, but I’m still not sure I quite get it. Located in the Gold Coast, surrounded by million-dollar mansions, the property has managed to woo its neighbors, with whom you’ll rub elbows at the popular Pump Room restaurant. This is a great neighborhood to stay in and feel like a wealthy Chicagoan. You’re within walking distance of Old Town, Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast, and the lake, and pleasantly removed from the tourist zone.