Ace Hotel opens in Shoreditch

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Re-imagining properties that are “challenged” and transforming them into affordable hotels that would appeal to the creative class. That’s what Seattle friends Alex Calderwood, Wade Weigel and Doug Herrick had in mind when they took over a former halfway house in Seattle and converted it to the first Ace hotel. They wanted their hotel to be linked to the local culture, a living part of the community — like the experience of staying with friends who are plugged into the local scene.

Fast forward a few years, and following the success of an Ace hotel in Portland, Seattle, Palm Springs and shortly Downtown LA, this chain referred to as “the country’s most original” hotel by the New York Times have just made their debut in the UK – in the creative hub of Shoreditch, London… and we were excited to check it out.

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Image Source: Photography by Mads Perch

Ace enlisted local local design team Universal Design Studio to take on the massive task of designing and revamping this old “Crowne Plaza” hotel. Universal Design Studio director Jason Holley says “Both exterior and interior design focuses on traditional craftsmanship, embedding the space within the historic context and material heritage of Shoreditch,”. Material choices are influenced by East London’s longstanding role as a centre for the performing arts, as well as a historic home to skilled trades like shoemaking, furniture making, rope making, ship building and silk weaving.

Their design aesthetic mixes uncluttered comfort with a bohemian vibe. The interiors feature mid-century and vintage modern furniture, industrial salvage and include a mix of neutral colors (browns, tans, creams, black, and gray) and natural textural elements (brick, wood, cork, wool, leather, iron, brass).

This hotel is more hipster than high-end! Perfect for its Shoreditch location and a particularly handy location for us to explore Shoreditch Design Triangle (an event that showcases many of the local furniture and fashion businesses and galleries to the public with open evenings and parties) from, during London Design Festival.

From the moment we checked in to the Ace hotel in London it was evident that the newly opened, or should we say partly opened hotel, had a vibe that was truly unique. This was not just a hotel, but a lifestyle… a well thought through and executed brand.

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An assortment of potted plants decorated the main entrance and handsome boys wearing bomber jackets and Doc Martin boots helped us with our luggage.  No men in stiff suits here!

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And if you fancy buying into their image, no problem – almost all of the items in the hotel, from the jackets and t-shirts on the door men, to the denim patchwork quilts and bedroom radios can be purchased.

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Through the large black metal and glass doors we found: an industrial looking black check-in desk decorated with vinyl record covers; a couple of bicycles for hire from the local shop TokyoBikes (what better way to explore the area than by bike?); and an old photo booth (for capturing fun times with your friends).

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Inside the main foyer is a bespoke family style sixteen-seat communal work table made of cast iron, copper and oak by Benchmark; which can be used as an informal meeting or work space. This together with the low set sofa and layered rugs, emphasizes the community feeling and relaxed vibe of this hotel.
The large Crittall windows give reference to local metalwork traditions from the Shoreditch area.

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Love the laying of textures throughout the hotel.

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One of the key components of the Ace brand is the collaboration with creatives, particularly with artists. A group of seasoned and accomplished, young and emerging, local and international artists including Justine Ashbee and Sally England have created art for the guest rooms and common spaces. In addition there will be a special gallery space on the ground floor with rotating art exhibitions.

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Throughout the hotel, the artwork has a rawness to it that fits perfectly with their relaxed image. Bold numbers were painted on the concrete walls in the corridors, cut out paper art in the lifts and a simple decal on our bedroom wall that read ‘Recipies against Melancholy’.

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Their designers approach to the guest rooms was to think of them as a friend’s Shoreditch apartment, a collection of furniture and objects acquired over time, each with stories and memories attached. We loved the denim patchwork quilts by French company A.P.C.

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Image Source: Photography Left by Andrew Meredith Photography Right: Design Lovers Blog

Another nice detail is that each guest room has a curated shelf with a distinct identity and experience of place —  (maps, sketch pads) from local makers, records, books, a pin-up cork board and found curiosities. Ours included this vintage pencil sharpener above and numerous Muji style stationery packs and leather change trays by Ally Capellino.

`Whats more, select rooms contain Rega RP1 turntables and C. F. Martin & Co. guitars.

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Image Source: Photography by Andrew Meredith

We appreciated the small details like the pocket in the headboard for housing the remote control.

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Image Source: Photography by Mads Perch

Our favorite design feature of the bedroom was the full width day bed. Perfect for chilling out on and in our case blogging from!

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Image Source: Photography by Mads Perch

The multi-functional round table was a nice change from the standard hotel room desk.

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Image Source: Photography by Mads Perch

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Image Source: Photography by Mads Perch

The monochrome bathroom was simple yet stylish. White tiles on the walls, black tiles on the floor, a streamlined black vanity unit and a nice mirrored panel along the bath.

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Instead of the usual soap bar and bottle of shampoo and conditioner, three large pump containers were placed on a shelf on the bath wall. We loved the little leather trays embossed with the Ace Hotel logo and the book for reading.

 

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Plenty of other design details caught our attention too. Whether it be the small bouquet of dried flowers introducing us to the (not quite opened onsite florist), metal mugs (although they weren’t the easiest to handle once they had boiling water in them), and the Revo radio with Ace-curated radio stations which will continue to change over time.

There is no getting away from the fact that this hotel is on a busy road in Shoreditch and noise is inevitable at morning rush hour. So if you like a very quiet room, we would suggest a room not overlooking the street, or escaping London all together.

However if you do, you might not get a chance to enjoy these magical views of the city at night.

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On October 3rd, the much anticipated Hoi Polloi restaurant by the makers of Bistrotheque will open – serving modern British meals from uber-seasonal locally sourced ingredients. Other additions will include a flower shop run by former neighboring florist Hattie Fox; a juice bar named after the traditional herbal English plant ally Lovage; a real bar; and a coffee shop by Square Mile.

The hotel will have events every day of the week, including DJs, live music, film screenings and parties. There will be plenty to do if you feel like it, but you can also just sit around in the lobby with a cocktail and people watch.

If you are looking for a base to explore the most exciting and vibrant part of London from (an area with leading galleries, theaters and fashion, home of the Brick Lane market and a global magnet for leading street artists); appreciate art, music and design details; like a relaxed party atmosphere; and want to be around like-minded individuals – then this is your place!

Visit Ace Hotel

 

Images: All images should be credited to Design Lovers Blog unless otherwise noted. If you do wish to use any of these images please do credit the relevant person and link to our blog.

Jill Brandenburg is a Freelance Interiors Writer & Stylist and Co-Editor of Design Lovers Blog.
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2 Responses to “Ace Hotel opens in Shoreditch”
  1. Great shots, would love to visit next time in London. Would not have heard about it except for your blog so thank you!

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