The World’s Best Ace Hotels

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D.L. Thomson and Jon Johnson

In handful of cities, first in the U.S. and then overseas, you can find an Ace Hotel. Though the total number of hotels is now up to seven, there isn’t necessarily a standardized look and feel for any of them: the Seattle and Palm Springs locations are both recognizable as springing forth from the same mindset, but don't necessarily resemble one another. A 2011 New York Times piece gives a good overview of the company’s history, along with their somewhat unconventional approach. (An informational page on their website quotes Joe Strummer, for one thing.) But whether you're staying there or are just stopping by for a drink or a meal, the end result of the company's aesthetic is often a memorable experience.

1. New York
The cavernous lobby of New York's Ace Hotel is a magnificent space to spend time in, whether you're a guest at the hotel, are there for a drink at the lobby bar, or are stopping by to hear one of the DJs with frequent residencies there. Throw in several acclaimed restaurants and a writer-in-residence program, and the end result is a place to stay (or visit) that seems attuned to the art made in the city around it.

 

2. Downtown LA
The newest of the Ace Hotels is housed in Los Angeles's United Artists building. (An awareness of the history of the spaces their hotels occupy is something you’ll encounter repeatedly when reading up on Ace Hotels.) It's a sizeable building, with numerous spaces to congregate within the hotel. Perhaps the most notable is Upstairs, a poolside bar located on the roof of the building.

3. Portland
Located a short distance from area landmarks like Powell’s City of Books and Providence Park (home of the Portland Timbers), Portland’s Ace Hotel occupies the former home of the Clyde Hotel. (You’ll note that the name of the bar and restaurant located in the Ace Hotel is Clyde Common.) And if you're a fan of well-made cocktails, it's worth a visit for the bar even if you're staying at another hotel.

4. Palm Springs
Ace Hotels' sprawling Palm Springs location is also home to a pair of pools and a spa. It's a pet-friendly location; one of the amenities offered, in fact, is a small dog park. And specific features, including a photobooth, bingo, and karaoke, make this a spot designed for socializing. Just be careful of the spring break crowd. 

5. London
Located in London's Shoreditch neighborhood, the Ace Hotel London was one of two international Ace Hotels to open in 2013. The hotel also hosts a number of events, with a particular focus on music; amenities include a gym, and there are a wide variety of types of rooms available, depending on a traveler’s needs.

6. Seattle
The first Ace Hotel opened in 1999 in the Seattle neighborhood of Belltown. This is one of the more modest locations: rooms are spacious, and the general mood indoors is quiet. The rooms are neatly designed and laid out; brightly lit and immersive, they offer easy access to the rest of the city.

7. Panama
The American Trade Hotel and Hall can be found in a historic building in Panama City. As with many of Ace's offerings, there's a strong emphasis on a timeless, classical design approach here. As with many of the hotels, there's a musical element; here, that takes the form of live music in the lobby, as well as the venue Danilo's Jazz Club, named for pianist and composer Danilo Perez.

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