I’ve been smitten by the Ace ever since it opened in Seattle in 1999. I’ve stayed in virtually all of them and have even traveled to cities specifically because they opened there, e.g., Pittsburgh. And now coming full circle, Sister City, their newest offshoot, is my delightful new neighbor on the Bowery.
The Ace fundamentally changed what I expect from a hotel and where I will stay when I travel.
Before I discovered the Ace, I regularly stayed at boutique hotels, especially Ian Schrager’s, e.g., the Delano or the Mondrian. They were a step up from the Hilton or Hyatt but they never really clicked for me – too flashy perhaps?
When the Ace opened in Seattle in 1999, I fell hard for its design and aesthetics. My frequent work travel companion, Brandi Stansbury, and I were both bowled over by its awesomeness. It was the first time I felt I had found my “hotel” tribe.
Seven years later, in 2006, they opened their next hotel, the Portland Ace. Of course, we finagled a trip to PDX to check it out. And to this day, I consider it my favorite. It was the first time I had experienced this kind of social lobby vibe that has now become ubiquitous at cool hotels around the world, e.g., Denver’s Ramble Hotel, all the Freehands, Stockholm’s Hobo Hotel. What the Ace did, which was new for hotels, was create a gathering place for a community of creative, freelancer-y locals. They obviously cater to their guests but locals feel the Ace and Sister City Hotels are equally welcoming for them.
The Ace Hotel scene predates co-working and clearly inspired WeWork, Neuehouse and even Soho House to develop areas where people can not only socialize but work in a new, more collaborative way.
To this day, when I travel on my own, I will spend days researching hotels to find the ones that offer Ace-style lobbies. It’s always where I feel most comfortable and it doesn’t matter if I’m in Scandinavia, Chicago or Boise, Idaho.
If you want to know more about the Ace, check out this great article from Inside Hook on their 20-year history.
Scroll down for more Ace locations.
First hotel: 1999 Seattle. I stayed here many times. it was hostel-like although they had rooms with private bathrooms which I always booked. However, I never recommended having a client stay here.
Second Hotel: 2006 Portland, Oregon: Possibly my favorite and one where I have had clients regularly stay and love it.
2009: NYC. Great spot for meetings, we’ve frequently used the room on the lower right for ideation. fabulous digs.
2009: Palm Springs (stayed there in April, only time I’ve been disappointed with a stay at an Ace – look at my room, lower left. how uninspiring!)
2013 Shoreditch, London
2013: American Trade Hotel in Panama City (I will be staying here in February but I’m under the impression, they sold this property)
2014: Downtown LA. I have not stayed here but have come for drinks and dinner. Their rooftop is beautiful. In LA, my heart belongs to The Standard Hollywood. I do not like staying downtown.
2015: Pittsburgh – LOVED this hotel!
2016: New Orleans – this location is getting rave reviews!
2017: Chicago – probably will never stay here. Chicago’s Soho House is so much more amazing than this.
2019: Sister City, they’re new off-shoot on the Bowery designed by their in-house Atelier Ace Team – LOVE THIS HOTEL!! And their rooftop bar, Last Light, is the best in all of downtown.
Kudos to everyone on the Ace team. Maintaining vision, cachet and cool for 20 years is a remarkable feat.
I am also extremely happy to have their offshoot brand, Sister City, as my next-door neighbor. They’ve been extremely good for the community.
And one final observation. I find it wonderful – and serendipitous – that two of today’s longest-running cool brands (the Ace and Supreme) are both located within a block of each other on the Bowery, both neighbors of mine. That’s pretty awesome!