New York

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Ace Hotel

Address: 20 W. 29th St.

Neighborhood: Midtown / Flatiron

City: New York City

Phone: 212-679-2222

Website: http://www.acehotel.com/newyork

Expert Review

Much has been made of how the Ace Hotel New York has transformed a distinctly unhip Manhattan neighborhood into a destination. And yes, ever since the appealingly retro hotel opened on 29th Street and Broadway, its handsome lobby has been packed with emissaries of cool from all over the city and beyond. Branching from West Coast roots (the Ace Hotel chain has outposts in Portland, Seattle, and Palm Springs), this nerdy-hip hotel addition to New York opened in May 2009. Formerly the Breslin Hotel, the Ace has painstakingly restored the building’s 1904 floor tiling (previously covered in concrete), fine moldings, and the lobby’s towering round pillars. Conveniently located just off Broadway in Midtown, the Ace features a handsome library, a funky array of taxidermy (the badgers won’t bite), and coffee tables and chandeliers fashioned from defunct telescope lenses – all of which play into its oddball, eclectic style. The lobby bar serves locally-inspired cocktails like the Flatiron (rum, ginger beer, lemon juice, whiskey, bitters, and basil), and showcases a wall of graffiti stickers that conjures up the days when street art ruled the subways.

But it’s important to note that the Ace’s Seattle owners have done much more than pull that old trendsetter’s trick of going where there is nothing and declaring it everything. Instead, they invited compelling businesses to share their space and thereby created a vibe that feels more like an artist community than a layover. Among Ace’s lobby and storefront offerings: Portland-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters, always with a line out the door; Project 8a, an “anti-souvenir” shop of eclectic accessories; retailer Opening Ceremony, which features fashion from a different country every year; a London-inflected gastro-pub called The Breslin; No. 7 Sub Show, a purveyor of gourmet sub sandwiches; and the reincarnated John Dory Oyster Bar. Other dining options include Michelin-starred The Breslin (from the team at The Spotted Pig).The Ace’s 262 rooms all feature one large piece of commissioned art and cutesy touches like clothing hangers that read ‘you look good in that.’ Some units even flaunt acoustic guitars, record players, and vintage SMEG fridges stocked with beverages like Vitamin Water and Jack Daniels. Rooms range from inexpensive, albeit small, bunk bed units to high-priced, king-size lofts with open floor space and windows that reveal the hidden, high-up architectural details of Midtown Manhattan. 

Tags: moderate | smart luxury winner | great value | trendy | hotel bar | jim's pick

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