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As I write this, The Thompson is the “it” place in Chicago, thanks to its quirky cool design, plus the popular onsite restaurant, Nico Osteria. The Thompson has made it a point to be comfortably un-hotel-like, and different from cookie-cutter-style, points-earning hotels (its sister property, Hotel Lincoln, takes the same approach). The lobby welcomes guests with a homey feel—a warm fireplace, living-room-style seating, and bookshelves to peruse. Upstairs, the rooms are a nice break from the beige hotel trend, with bright blue sectionals, window-facing glass desks, soft white linens, and modern art on the walls. USB chargers at the bedside are like traveler’s gold, and bathrooms have raised sinks and rain showerheads. The hotel makes a number of earth-friendly choices, which include a wall of plants—a “green wall”—in the lounge, and lights and thermostats that limit output when the room is unoccupied. And then there’s the dining. Nico Osteria serves fresh and simple Italian food, with an emphasis on seafood, and diners are generally willing to wait quite a while to nab a seat here. Others simply book a room at The Thompson, where they can have it delivered straight to their room. On my visit, the GM told me that, to the hotel’s surprise, the most popular time for room service isn’t breakfast, as in most hotels. It’s dinner, all because of Nico Osteria.