We realized we were in for a fun stay when we stepped inside the historic (read: relatively tiny) elevators, which have walls lined with old album covers, and entered our suite, where ruby red lips the size of a cocker spaniel glowed on the bathroom mirror. Then we saw a gigantic zipper on a lime-green-painted wall—well, you get the idea. The Acme Hotel, which opened in 2012, shakes off staid, restful color palettes and employee uniforms and embraces the energy that this River North neighborhood has to offer. Pops for Champagne, a popular wine bar, stands across the street. Kids love the intersection just two blocks northwest, framed by the Hard Rock Cafe, the Rock n Roll McDonalds, Portillo's Hot Dogs and the Rainforest Cafe.
Staffers wear button-down shirts with loosened collars and rolled-up sleeves; their neckties hang in a loose knot, too. All of it feeds a welcoming laid-back vibe. The amenities in the 130 guest rooms are topnotch; our king room had a soft mattress, plenty of pillows, two huge internet-smart flat-screen TVs, a wireless audio system, an ample bath, and a living room with a couch, wet bar and egg chair. Wi-Fi is free and easy to use, and room rates include breakfast in the morning, a mostly standard array of breads, fruits, yogurt and make-your-own waffle bar.
But perhaps the best amenity is one every hotel should steal: When you check in, the front desk offers to deliver hot coffee in the morning. Just tell them when. And it shows up with a knock on your door, a thermos in a brown paper bag, ready to enjoy. Between that and the cheap parking next door (get an access wand from the front desk), the Acme Hotel is definitely worth a stay. Rates from $169.