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Who hasn’t heard about the Ace Hotel? or actually, I should say hotels. As their collection of amazing buildings, quirky interiors and unusual locations keeps growing and growing, the Ace concept proves to be an enormous magnet for anything cool.
The team behind the steadily growing hotel imperium describes themselves as “a collection of individuals — multiple and inclusive, held together by an affinity for the soulful. We are not here to reinvent the hotel, but to readdress its conventions to keep them fresh, energized, human.” And this is exactly the vibe that bounces of the walls of their hotel lobby. A place which isn’t just reserved for guests, the lobby of any Ace hotel attracts a lively crowd. A crowd dropping by for more than just a drink. The Ace houses coffee roasters, indie brand boutiques and music venues. From a drink to a dinner, a haircut to a shopping spree, a quiet read with a cup of coffee to a smashed out party – the Ace offers it all, and without making too much of a fuzz about it.
This constant flow of energy reminds you of the golden-age of the hotel like we know it from old movies or books like Just Kids, which presented buildings like the Chelsea as a gathering place for a motley crew of artists, writers, renegades and washed out glamorous types. A hotel scene that offered more than just a bed to stay in for the night, but rather a whole lifestyle. Some of them had been there for years, others were only passing by, but the attraction of the Chelsea’s atmosphere was undeniable for a young generation living in New York. Unfortunately for the Chelsea, the seediness of its scenery also somewhat compromised it and meant its demise and current closure. The very first Ace Hotel which opened up in 1999 in Belltown, Seattle, showed a couple of similar characteristics. When the owners first bought it, they took it with all its tenants still residing. The former maritime workers’ building functioned more as a flophouse than anything else, which made the beginning of the renovations a hell of a job:
“We were stupid enough to take it with all its tenants in it. It was just a nightmare. It was a bunch of crazies. People would throw toilets out the window.” Wade Weigel said in a NY times article.
Slowly, they started to renovate the place. But what they did wasn’t exactly applying a complete blank slate to the building, they embraced its faults, its roughness and with that they preserved its history. this has been central to any hotel Ace ever started. The buildings are often rund-down or in overseen areas of big cities. Real rough architectonic gems so to speak. One of their latest, and my personal favourite, is their Palm Springs Hotel & Spa. Formerly a rundown mid-century desert modern former Westward Ho with a Denny’s. They transformed the place into an Ace Hotel & Swim Club, where you can have a massage, take a dip in the pool, eat at the diner and bike to a ton of interesting spots. The interior looks fun, nothing too flashy or classy about it, the shadow of what it used to be doesn’t weigh it down at all. If anything it makes it more unique.
And what’s a big added plus for the Ace is that they create all this without any membership fees, like for example SoHo house does, or any strict selecting criteriums. The crowd seems to almost sort itself out. In short, the Ace Hotel manages to attract a mixed group of people, whether it’s as resident guests or as a visitor. They encapsulate so much more than nicely furnished rooms that it seems that everywhere they pop up something unexpected happens.
Check out all of the Ace Hotel locations here and book a room if you’re ever in town. You won’t be disappointed.
Words by Sara Martín Mazorra.