East or West? Here at Haute Living we fall firmly in the latter category having always preferred Shepherds Bush to Shoreditch. Sure east London is edgy and trendy but often – in our humble opinion – painfully so.
But there is at least one E1 venue that’s worth crossing town for. Enter Ace Hotel – one of the hottest hotel launches that London has seen of late.
It was in Palm Springs that I first became acquainted with the Ace brand and quickly fell in love with the boutique chain’s understated glamour. Hanging out by the cool pool (a hot spot for celebrities to party, post Coachella) drinking margaritas from glasses the size of goldfish bowls against a backdrop of the stunning San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains, was a real ‘pinch me’ moment for a girl from Watford.
Ace has properties all across America (Palm Springs, Portland, Seattle, New York and Ore) plus one in Panama but Ace Hotel London Shoreditch is the brand’s first foray this side of the Atlantic.
If you’re already a fan of Ace Hotel, chances are you’ll love the new London outpost which, like its siblings, is sensitive to its location. Thus in Shoreditch – an area famed for street artists such as Banksy, Eine, Kid Acne and Conor Harrington – you’ll find a a black and white photo booth, bicycles and lithe, lean twenty- somethings in skinny jeans tapping away in their MacBooks in the low lit lobby.
The 258 rooms too are fashionable yet friendly: expect Brockway carpets, Ally Capellino leather change trays and reva turntables that are a world away from the rooms at the Crowne Plaza (Ace’s fusty predecessor). It would easy to be spend all of your time holed up here admiring the little details (think LPs and sketch pads in case you feel the need to get creative), that the late Alex Calderwood – Ace’s founder who tragically was found dead in one of the rooms, last November – clearly enjoyed curating. But don’t.
Not when there’s wall art to be admired all round the hotel and Hoi Polloi to head to when hunger pangs kick in. Run by Pablo Flack and David Waddington, Hoi Polloi is the hotel’s all day brasserie and bar. Slide into a well upholstered booth and prepare to peruse the newsprint style menu which, as well as food, also focuses on the characters, happenings and threads of cultural conversation in the neighbourhood.
For post dinner drinks, look to the lobby bar. Here you can sip on striking cocktails (Haute Living loves the Bijou Basket – Sipsmith sloe, ginger wide, rhubarb bitters, £9 – and the Meshignener Palone – Absolut, almond & vanilla jam, pomegranate, also £9 – ) while watching guest DJs spin cool beats.
A juice bar, Square Mile Coffee Roasters and, our favourite, a florist shop – operated by local florist, Hattie Fox – complete the Ace London line up and help create the effect of a property that positively pulsates with life.
All told there’s a strong sense of character at Ace London and, while it won’t be to all tastes, Haute Living loves it – despite its east London locale.