Room Service: Ace Hotel, London - it’s a home from home for hipsters with cash

 

The lobby of the Ace Hotel is humming with life and it’s only 5pm. The long, library-style table – commissioned for the space from Terence Conran’s Benchmark – is crowded with people drinking Square Mile coffee and tapping away on Mac laptops. There is a photo booth in one corner. In another, is the place where guests can arrange to borrow custom-made fixie bikes.

The atmosphere is relaxed, cool and only mildly self-conscious. You wouldn’t guess that only two months after its September opening, the founder of Ace Hotels, Alex Calderwood, died here.

The pall, if it exists, is light. Which is just as the Ace’s management would presumably want it. This is the group’s first outpost in Europe – the others are confined to the Americas: New York, Palm Springs, Seattle, Portland, LA and an offshoot in Panama City – and part of a long-planned series of new openings. The next looks likely to be in Pittsburgh. If this failed, it would bode ill for a burgeoning brand. But that seems unlikely. Why? Because it has that rare thing for a chain: an admirable sense of place. It fits the area, like a bespoke suit.

Shoreditch at night may now owe more in character to the buttoned-up City of London down the road, but by day the young creatives still dominate: and this place admirably caters to their wants. There is the chic, all-day modern British restaurant, Hoi Polloi, which is run by the guys from Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s – David Waddington and Pablo Flack; the basement club with its mid-twenties clientele and monster sound system (mercifully, you can’t hear it upstairs); the gallery space for up-and-coming artists upstairs; the staff dressed in Doc Martens and bomber jackets.

It is hard to believe that until recently this was part of the Crowne Plaza chain. It feels hip and quite young, which makes it an attractive place to lay your head if you, too, are both those things; though with rooms priced at £200-plus a night, it’s unlikely to be packed out with impecunious artists. The hipsters here are likely to be those with a touch of silver hair at the temples.

Ace Hotel London Ace Hotel London Location

Shoreditch may no longer be at the bleeding edge of cool, but what it lacks in grittiness, it makes up for in shops and restaurants. The boutiques of Redchurch Street – Sunspel clothes, French fashion brand APC, Aesop cosmetics – are but a stroll from the porte- cochère; Pizza East and Shoreditch House are just around the corner. Mark Hix has a restaurant down the road and the Michelin-starred Angela Hartnett recently opened Merchants Tavern on nearby Charlotte Road.

The White Cube gallery is only five minutes’ walk away – as, indeed, is the northern tip of the City of London. It is 10 minutes’  walk from Liverpool Street station – with its regular Stansted airport link – and two minutes from Shoreditch High Street Overground. Old Street Tube is 15 minutes away. The location is enviable.

Comfort

The 258 bedrooms are, after the triumph of the lobby (left), a surprise. Universal Design Studios were engaged with the brief to make the interior like “a friend’s Shoreditch apartment” which in this case means APC quilts on the bed, large day beds and coffee tables (rather than a writing desk), plastic drawers containing Pot Noodles and Coca-Cola, and a large pencil sharpener affixed to the wall.

The larger rooms – Superior Deluxe Double, Superior Deluxe Double Double, and Suite – look swish (and bring to mind the nearby Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, a temple to modish minimalism and simple design). But the Standard and Deluxe doubles can feel gloomy come the evening – a result, one supposes, of the grey shade of the walls; not even a “spirit-raising” quote painted across the grey can change that. The bathrooms seem rather spartan and small, too. The toiletries are bolted to the wall.

When refurbishing the old Crowne Plaza, it is clear that Ace Hotels decided – presumably for reasons of economy – to choose their battles. So, while the lobby has been remodelled and the restaurant completely redone, the corridors feel like the Crowne Plaza, with new carpet tiles.

Still, there is no doubting this place has a strong “look”. And if you prefer your hotels design-led and tending to the functional, rather than the sumptuous, you’ll feel right at home.

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Ace Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JQ (020 7613 9800; acehotel.com/london).

Rooms 3/5

Value 3/5

Service 4/5

Doubles start at £215, room only.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'