Monday, September 13, 2010

The Ace Hotel, NYC

I really love hotels.

I try to stay in a different hotel each time I travel just to experience something new. My husband and I recently stayed at the Ace Hotel, NYC on a business trip to the New York International Gift Show. Our stay at the Ace Hotel was an inspirational, quirky, and invigorating experience and we will definitely go back.
The New York Times declared the Ace Hotel “the country’s most original new hotel,” and once you stay there you will understand why. There are three other Ace Hotels in Portland, Seattle and Palm Springs, and all are known for their strong collaborative efforts with artists, designers, and small independent businesses within the community where they are based. This is a refreshing and daring approach in the hotel industry. They go for the unconventional in all aspects of their branding and each property has their own particular aesthetic. They lovingly restore historical buildings to create artistic and unexpected visual experiences for travelers. This approach is more important to them than re-creating “hospitality clichés,” or in other words, just repeating the same old hotel environments over and over again.

The Ace philosophy permeates the NYC hotel with feelings of community, art, freedom, history, and independence. The NYC locale was formerly the Breslin Hotel, built in 1904, and the area was historically known as a hub for artists such as Alfred Steiglitz and Edward Steichen, who were once neighbors. The eccentric Harry Smith was an artist who actually lived there; his enlarged b&w photograph taken by Allan Ginsberg is displayed high on a lobby wall at the hotel.

Roman and Williams, the hotel’s interior design firm, imbued other-worldly romance into the rooms and interior spaces of the NYC hotel. Turn-of-the-century furnishings co-exist with modern details with much success. For example, dark-wood Victorian chairs are paired with 1960’s plush velvet U-shaped “conversation pit” sofas in the expansive lobby. It all works. The Ace Atelier, the hotel’s design team headed by Demitri Fregosi and Jeremy Pelley, are credited for the dynamic use of block typography in the branding and in the creation of the “modern bohemian” style for the rooms, wall, and lobby spaces. Their use of cool, art-centric block typography and black and white graphic imagery is everywhere in this hotel from the moment you enter the building.

Typographic Messages: Black and white are important colors here. Blackboard paint has been applied to most of the rooms and hallways, and there are black wall-to-wall rugs covering all floor space. Each guest room has stamped canvas utility bags for “LAUNDRY,” hair dryer and iron (these graphic statement bags are also for sale behind the reception desk).

There are also guitars and turntables in some rooms (not ours). The maid service message “NOW” is a reversible magnet that also states “NOT NOW” on the other side when you want privacy.

Another fun visual element in our room, besides the gigantic canvas artwork hanging behind our bed, is the rock band roadie rolling mini bar and ice bucket. The mini bar was well-stocked with champagne, beer, liquor, and fizzy sodas.

The biting sensibilities of all things “Ace” can be found by reading their Ace Hotel Survival Manual which helps guide you through the hotel’s offerings and those of the surrounding area.

A funny guide to the city and all things "Ace"

Going back and forth between the dark room, hallway, elevator and lobby, we encountered strange little mottos painted on black wall and computer stations and large graphic images designating what floor we were on. No wall is left untouched in some unorthodox way, to get your attention or make you laugh.
This big sign was what we saw when we got out of the elevator to our floor.
A door leading I don't know where.....
Entrance to the basement Gym. This is where you work it out...
A Private Office with attitude....
Our room keys
No, it's supposed to be that way...the ball room in the Gym.
The phrase “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT” was applied to some marble steps and also on the back of the hotel room key. And that just about says it all.

Go to the Ace Hotel, NYC website to learn about all things ACE and to book a fabulous & fun stay.

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