The Ace Hotel, or ‘Ass Hole-tel’: Free-Associations


We thought we put this one to bed a few months ago, but as it turns out, we’re talking about the Ace Hotel again. Remember how hip it is? Or “not quote-unquote hip, per se”? It’s hip again, or continues to be hip, or continues to be quote-unquote not not hip. This time, the angle is that the Ace lobby is a place where people work, which Chris Mohney at BlackBook covered definitively about a year and a half ago.

If you’re looking for a sense of what this article is like, well, here you go:

It’s hard to say who came to the Ace first, the beautiful people or the creative cool kids. The New York outpost, the first East Coast location for the Portland, Oregon-based brand, nailed the proper tone immediately. The hotel had the right low-lit, casually arty look; the right vibe of easy exclusivity (no velvet rope required because no one unworthy would dare to enter); the right food (the Breslin, run by Spotted Pig gastro stars April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, was the first eatery in the hotel); and the right scene. For a while, every after-party, celebrity-DJ gig, or fashion event seemed to be held here. This has all contributed to Ace achieving its signature balance between practicality and stylishness.

How do we, as members of neither the “beautiful people” nor the “creative cool kids,” unpack the mystery and symbolism of the Ace Hotel? How does it work its magic, getting everything “right” (e.g. look, vibe, food, scene)? We asked a number of respondents for the first word that springs to mind when they hear the words “Ace Hotel,” for a clue as to what the “Ace atmosphere” has done to people’s psyches.

  • “Is that the naked one?”
  • “Portland-Chic.”
  • “Coffee.”
  • “Douche.”
  • “Douchebags.”
  • “Afterparty.”
  • “Pre-wedding-night” (ed.note: what?)
  • “Shallow-hip.”
  • “Meetings! Striped shirts! Rex Sorgatz!”
  • “Ass Hole-tel”
  • “Pottery Barn.”

In the comments, please write the first word that comes to mind when we say “Ace Hotel.” No thinking! Go!

[Fast Company]