Set the scene The University of Chicago, Hyde Park’s home base, serves as the inspiration for the Sophy, a 98-room gem on the community’s bustling shopping street, within walking distance of campus, the Science Museum and the industry and, over the next few years, the Obama Presidential Center, currently under construction in nearby Jackson Park. The 44th President was a community organizer and lecturer in the university’s law school before ascending to the highest office, and his presence, along with that of other Nobel Laureates and MacArthur geniuses raised at the UC, is celebrated at Sophy. But there is nothing rigid about academic references to music, literature and science; this hotel is first and foremost a community gathering place and the community that comes together here is diverse, active and cultured.
The backstory Sophy’s developers, Olympia Hotel Management, also run the non-profit and equally art-filled Alfond Inn in Winter Park, Florida, proving they have an affinity for the campus audience.
The rooms Not afraid to be bold, Sophie’s bedrooms make a colorful first impression with murals behind the headboards. Loveseats and ottomans, even in entry-level rooms, invite guests to relax and spin some of the records of local jazz artists provided with the in-room turntable.
Food and drink Mesler, a Middle French term for “toss and mingle,” draws a stylish crowd from the neighborhood to both the bar – is your physics teacher sipping coffee by the fireside? – pasta, steaks and a spicy blue cheese and cheese fried chicken sandwich.
The neighborhood / area Some of Chicago’s oldest and most impressive architecture can be found in Hyde Park and Kenwood; Take one of the Chicago Architecture Center neighborhood walking tours to see mansions built by 18th and 19th century meat retailers and packers as well as the Obama Residence. The 53rd is lined with interesting shops, including the Silver Room, a community building, where you can catch a reading or shop for clothes and gifts on social justice and fairness themes.
The service: Warm and personal. No concierge, but attentive people at the front desk who make an effort to help and guide customers.
For families The hotel is extremely popular with UC prospects and their families visiting the campus. Sophy’s large, bright suites are there for them with generous bathrooms and separate living areas with sofa beds.
Eco-effort Sophy was built in 2018 as a new build and is designed to achieve LEED certification.
Nothing to report? A shuttle will take you to the Science and Industry Museum.