Amid much acclaim and media interest the Ace group opened it’s first venture on the other side of the Atlantic in London where the hipster hotel brand finds itself in synergy with the art-grunge environs of Shoreditch. On the menu: roomy rooms, in-house creative workshops, DJ sessions and one of London’s most happening restaurants.
With over 200 rooms on busy Shoreditch High Street the Ace London is a rather sprawling entity of endless rooms and corridors. The rooms themselves are spacious (particularly for London) and most room categories feature a sofa that doubles as a day bed and some kind of table roomy enough to accommodate a small group of, say, poker players. In fact, this is a brilliant hotel if you travelling with a group with a project on the agenda – because in addition to the in-room work/play area there’s loads of communal space in the lobby for meeting up. As far as mod cons go, we appreciated the radio.
Design-wise it’s smart – the work of local designers Universal Design Studio – interesting lighting fixtures, custom-made furniture, casual chic ACP bathrobes and appealing bathrooms – yes, the Ace excel at their particular brand of cool style that doesn’t skimp on comfort. As always local artists have been invited to put their personal touch on the rooms and give them extra creative atmos.
As far as the welcome goes, our actual check-in was a little perfunctory but overall the staff were friendly, helpful and well-informed. And we were quite taken with the nattily caped door men (see picture).
Shoreditch High St, a busy stretch in one of London’s most happening ‘hoods. If you’re in London for fun this is a great part of town for restaurants, galleries, cafes, indie stores and the cheap and cheerful environs of Brick Lane. The only issue with Shoreditch is it is not particularly well-served by public transport so conversely if you are in town for work – confirm transport routes because schlepping back and forth across London can be quite tiring and time consuming.
What We Love
As always the Ace London provides plenty of communal spaces and activities that ensures the hotel has a fun and upbeat atmosphere. The restaurant Hoi Polloi by the team behind Bistrotheque is buzzing day and night – while we found the breakfast service a little dozy we loved the young string quartet playing Lou Reed and Brit Pop covers – an unexpectedly beautiful if random way to start the day. There’s also a cafe downstairs offering free newspapers and magazines to browse while fuelling up on good coffee, pastries and sandwiches – a quick and reasonably priced breakfast solution before you hit the pavements.
Finally the lobby itself is dotted with sofas as well as a large communal table frequented by lap-toppers and occasionally requisitioned for creative workshops – the proceeds of which go to charity. London – sprawling, hectic and over-exciting – can be a bit wearisome so guests will really appreciate this space where you can work, drink, hang-out – it’s a friendly, welcoming buffer between the solitude of your room and the masses of London city.
Room service isn’t a given in London so arriving home in the wee hours after a boozy evening we were really happy to take advantage of it’s reasonably priced offerings – and even happier when they kindly sent up boiled eggs despite their not being on the menu.
Room to Improve
A defining quality of the Ace hotel group is it’s strong, somewhat industrial aesthetic in interior design that has been successfully adapted to various locations. Here, as in the Ace NYC we felt that the rooms were unnecessarily dark, with a black-painted ceilings absorbing most of the natural light.
The Ace is extremely adept at providing shopping opportunities – there’s the mini-bar, a whole heap of Ace-branded ‘goods‘ from bathrobes to… stationary. We found the amount of alcohol scattered around the room somewhat excessive. AAA should avoid staying here…
The in-house Hoi Polloi restaurant has been a smash success with the local crowd – if you fancy eating there during your stay we recommend booking a table in advance. Do check what activities are on during your stay – you may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself at a table in the lobby constructing your own wireless while befriending a fellow-guest.
Note, some of the rooms have opaque windows – apparently the view beyond the window is better not seen. If no window seems a little bit grim request a room that has a ‘view’. Keep in mind that the typical ‘view’ in Shoreditch tends to constitute, at best, a shoddy housing estate of mustard-coloured bricks or a construction site. In short, if you want a room with a view in London, look elsewhere.
The friendly folk at reception advised us that the quietest rooms were at the back of the hotel given Shoreditch High Street tends to be quite ‘lively’. ‘Lively’ is a politely understated way of describing the special kind of carnage that transpires on Shoreditch High St on a Friday or Saturday evening as swarms of bright – and not so bright – young things lurch around on the pavement in search of hi-jinx, drink, cigarettes, intimate encounters and, sooner or later, a kebab. (Not necessarily in that order.) So if sleeping is high on the agenda – take a room at the back. If in doubt, as always, pack ear-plugs!
The Ace London
100 Shoreditch High St
London E1 6JQ
After all that excitement you’ll need something quiet to settle you down. We suggest the wonderful Wasting My Years by London Grammar shot with 625 individual pinhole cameras – perhaps you can make a pinhole camera of your own at one of the Ace’s creative workshops.