The rise of the boutique hotel has given the hospitality world some truly great and creative chains. Exhibit A: The Ace Hotel. This entire Seattle-based chain exudes cool. It's an upscale hostel with an edge.
Behold: My bed topped with a made-in-Portland blanket and lit up with that photographer's light.
Every detail--from the locally made tiny black square bar of soap hanging from the sink in my room to the stack of real (!) albums in a crate beside the bed--is carefully chosen. When I first got to my room at the Portland outpost in May, I immediately fell head over heels with the building. I loved the bikes in the lobby (this is Portland, after all) and the little sign in the elevator that said "It would have been faster if you took the stairs."
Check out that sleek, cool lobby--perfect for just passing the time.
But what really stood out was how the Ace Hotel is designed to bring people into the hotel. The lobby--complete with a photo booth and shabby chic couch--is connected to a Stumptown Coffee cafe. If you've never had Stumptown--it's only in a handful of cities throughout the country--put it on the top of your list. Their java offerings are downright delicious and impossibly smooth. A barista at this chain once re-made me a latte because he deemed the latte art not good enough. My East Coast mind was officially blown. That kind of commitment to quality coffee makes me swoon. I also enjoyed its full-service restaurant next door. Head over to The Daily Meal if you'd like to read more about my dining experiences at The Ace.
I just loved this sink. I think it was the symmetry that got me.
Another quality you'll love: each room at the Ace is different. A representative from Portland tourism--the company that paid for my stay--told me each year the hotel invites a local artist to decorate a room. If you visit this spot, be sure to peer into the different rooms to see how each one's decor differs. With any luck, the days of boring and bland hotel rooms are long behind us. Here's to hoping The Ace Hotel sticks around forever.