Ace aims to capture Shoreditch's aesthetic — Photo courtesy of Mads Perch / Ace Hotel
London is known for its hipster hotels, so it was perhaps only a matter of time before the successful U.S. hotel chain Ace descended.
Just set up in East London in Shoreditch and just around the corner from Brick Lane and Bethnal Green, the new London hotel has called the area a "global nexus of creative culture." It says it is working to integrate itself into the narrative and history of the area, a place where the first plays (banned in the more conservative West End) were put on, later a place where the textile industry flourished and even later still where the designer Alexander MacQueen grew up and subsequently set up shop.
The area is full of clubs, pubs, restaurants, shops and hip hangouts. And the hotel's design reflects that vibrancy. The London-based Universal Design studio worked with ACE to create ACE Shoreditch's look, a blend of British punk, Modernism and Bauhaus. This mix of design styles reflects back the vibrancy that the area itself is famous for, having welcomed successive waves of migration. These waves have gone to make the area both interesting and multi-cultural, and a product of adding gradual layers of difference.
The shop at ACE Shoreditch — Photo courtesy of Andrew Meredith / ACE Hotels
The guest rooms were approached by thinking of them as "a friend's Shoreditch apartment." They will make you feel like you fit right into the area around you. The furniture and objects have stories and memories attached to them.
Each room features a "curated shelf," with a "distinct identity and experience of place – [such as] useful crafted elements (maps, sketch pads) from local makers, records, books, a pin-up cork board and found curiosities." This is the beauty of this hotel: the rooms have been really thought out to make them different.
At the same time, the owners have put in objects they love. So there are leather change trays from Ally Cappelino, quilts by A.P.C and even guitars and turntables in some rooms.
A full-width daybed has been placed in the rooms to encourage social interaction, and a low round table replaces the usual desk to make things "feel more domestic." There are Revo radios so you can tune in to some great digital radio in the UK, and all the color palettes have been designed to give a clean monochrome finish.
Industrial elements in the rooms, lobbies and meeting rooms complete the feel that this is cool and new space but that it has also been there forever. Parquet floors and huge, long social tables crafted from iron, copper and wood all help to create a sense of community and great attention to detail.
Suggestions in the hotel room tell you what you might like to listen to, and every evening there are parties, DJ events, film screenings and talks in one of the many meeting places.
This is not just another chain arriving to hoover up the competition, either. ACE is working with the local independent businesses to make sure that they are showcased and featured within the hotel, too.
So independent DJs from record labels in the area spin tunes every night in the lobby and basement bar. A local flower shop provides flowers, and the team behind the restaurant Bistrotheque have joined in to create Hoi Polloi, a seasonally inspired modern British brasserie. Artists helped design the bar, and local coffee roasters "Square Mile" provide the caffeine fix to keep your creative juices flowing.
All in all, Ace Hotel in Shoreditch is a triumph and a great addition to the area.
Ace is not your usual hotel chain — Photo courtesy of Mads Perch / Ace Hotel