Only a couple of months into its new life across the pond, Ace Hotel London Shoreditch is the latest outpost of the hipster-magnet Ace Hotel group and the first to open outside the US. Its arrival transformed a dreary Crowne Plaza on otherwise hip Shoreditch High Street into a see-and-be-seen concept hotel.
Inside the elephant-grey lobby, an industrial vibe sets the scene for a community space where bespectacled media types huddle around their MacBooks on a long communal table, meanwhile local yummy mummies scoff tea and scones in squishy vintage leather armchairs. Smiley staff potter about in casual custom-made uniforms and there’s a photo booth inside the entrance to capture your best peace sign pose. Despite its cult status, it’s all very chilled at the Ace and whether you’re a cool kid or a city banker, everyone is welcome.
London firm Universal Design Studio have created minimal interiors with a utilitarian edge and – echoing East London’s artisanal past – wherever possible using suppliers, designers, craftsmen and even building materials sourced from the local area. With iconic mid century furniture dotted around, stripped-back walls and clever use of space, the designers have nailed the balance between concrete chic and home comfort.
This is especially true in the bedrooms. Dressed in shades of crisp white, slate and inky blue, they range in size from petite Standard rooms to positively roomy Suites (complete with dining table and record player with vinyl to spin). Room amenities as standard include Revo radios with Ace-curated radio stations, well-stocked minibars, original artwork, bespoke stationary and A.P.C quilted bedding.
Dining at the Ace London was left in the hands of Pablo Flack and David Waddington – two local restauranteurs already famous for bringing Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s to the London food scene. The 100-seater Hoi Polloi restaurant serves up modern, British/French food from 7am onwards. Order from a newspaper-style menu and people-watch in the hotel’s chirpiest space. There’s no grey to be seen in here, the floor is a lesson in how to do geometric tiles well and the walls are clad in warm scalloped wood panelling.
True to the Ace ethos, the glassware and pots in Hoi Polloi are made by East London designers and the chairs are Ercol. When you’re done eating, exit through the gift shop. Not really, you exit through the flower shop. Local florist Hattie Fox’s handily named That Flower Shop, to be precise. If you linger to buy a bunch, pop into the tiny lobby cafe for a Square Mile coffee while you wait.
The location’s the thing here; the Ace sits at a crossroads of all that is good about East London. It has a handy proximity to the best transport links in the area and it’s just a shimmy and a shake from the restaurants and boutiques of Redchurch Street and Rivington Street. The busy crowds of Brick Lane and Spitalfields, skyscrapers of the City and the creative melting pot of Hackney aren’t much further. Are you a member of Shoreditch House? Heck, it’s just around the corner.