Review of Ace Hotel in New York City

The Ace Hotel New York on 20 W 29th Street (essentially at the crossroads of 29th and Broadway), is located inside a historic, bohemian building in Midtown New York that originally opened in 1904.

Intrigued by the fact that this heritage hotel encourages members of the public to use the lobby area as public seating and lounging (including offering free wifi), we decided to drop by for a two night stay.

ace hotel in new york city door lobby

Lobby

The lobby at the Ace Hotel is unique: it is frequently recommended as a top place to while the hours away, particularly if you are a student or tourist. That is no doubt due to the expansive cavernous space in the middle, which is free to use by any member of public - including the hotel's wifi.

Full of plush, dark leather couches and low tables, as well as a long communal bench topped with old school industrial lamps, the decor is reminiscent of an urban vintage era. Red tartan sofas from the 60s, tables made from old Hubble telescope lenses, and retro light fittings, as well as a rather bizarre glass showcase of stuffed skunks, all contributes to the hotel's reputation for combining a new age hipster trend with old school retro style.

ace hotel in new york city lobby excelsior
ace hotel in new york city lobby photobooth
ace hotel in new york city lobby bar drink

At the back of the giant hall is a bar selling beers for around $8, and on the side wall is a photobooth, while the cavern is covered by a stain glass window ceiling, and on the ground are mosaic tiles. For those who have been working hard and are in the mood for a bite, food and drinks can be directly served at your table, or you can bring in your own snacks or grab a coffee from the fantastic cafe in the corner of the hall (more on that below).

ace hotel in new york city lobby working students open to public

Room

We stayed in what they call a "small" room (with bunk bed, mini, medium, large, extra large, and loft being the other options), and we were given a room with a queen size bed and bathtub on request. While the small rooms offer a range of double, queen and king sized beds, not all come with a bathtub. The hotel made a clever use of the tight room space, with a table and overhanging shelves full of glasses and snacks installed into the wall, and a clothes hanging rack (rather than a wardrobe) next to a sleek black SMEG fridge installed against another wall.

ace hotel in new york city small room
ace hotel in new york city small room

In the middle of the room was a long desk piled with a sound system, phone, magazines, faded black leather desk cover, and a tall black industrial lamp attached to the side of the table. Behind a low partition attached to the desk was the queen sized bed, accompanied by an overhanging TV that had been installed in the far corner of the room next to the tall and narrow window looking out to the courtyard.


Given the size of the room, the bathroom was surprisingly large, with a combined tub and shower framed by the classic New York white tiles. There were two minor shortcomings in the bathroom: first, the shower offered no control over the intensity of the water spurting out (instead, the knob only let you alter between hot and cold), and secondly, I found the space around the sink was a bit of a tight squeeze - and I know I don't even have as many toiletries as most girls!

ace hotel in new york city small room shower curtain bathtub bathroom

There were a number of cute, cheeky touches around the room, with the bath robe hanging on a hanger that stated "You look good in that"; and my favourite, stenciled words behind the hanging towels that said "Want a fresh towel? Leave it in the tub. No tub? Leave it in the shower. No shower? Leave it in the sink. No sink? Leave it on the floor. No floor? Leave."

ace hotel in new york city small room bathrobe says you look good in that

Although the amenities in the room are fairly basic (expect only shampoo, conditioner and body wash which are found in large bottles attached to the wall), the hotel is clearly designed to appeal to those with artistic and creative roots, with a random assortment of items such as an electric pencil sharpener, music transcript parchment sheets and writing paper with the address of the hotel stamped on it.

ace hotel in new york city small room desk lamp

Staying at the Ace Hotel feels like being in the sort of studio apartment a New York architect or musician would live in, although I did find it rather dark (particularly in the bathroom) even when the lights were turned to full power. With lots of black, dark grey, and dark teal contrasting against the white of the bedsheets and the main wall, the room oozed brooding, creative arts.

Dining

Breslin Bar & Dining Room

The Breslin Bar & Dining Room is run by the owners of the famous Spotted Pig restaurant in the West Village (April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman). Unfortunately, the duo's excellent reputation did not translate with the Breslin, which focuses predominantly on nose to tail dishes with roasted flavours.

ace hotel in new york city breslin bar and dining room restaurant
ace hotel in new york city breslin bar and dining room restaurant

We ordered the lamb burger (US$23) and the mushroom panini (US$17) for lunch, both of which fell flat. The lamb burger was startlingly salty, and the only saving grace was the cumin mayo and beautifully fat fries that were crisp on the outside and soft inside. The mushroom panini was better, with the marination and herbs on the mushrooms giving it a delightfully woody scent, but this was barely noticeable under the weight of the cheese dripping between the bread. The best dish in the end was the anchovy and chilli broccoli (US$9) that was spicy and well textured.

ace hotel in new york city breslin bar and dining room restaurant lamb burger
ace hotel in new york city breslin bar and dining room restaurant mushroom panini
ace hotel in new york city breslin bar and dining room restaurant broccoli

Sumptown Coffee Roasters

Fortunately, the Stumptown Coffee Roasters inside the hotel around the corner from the restaurant (which you can access via the hotel lobby) made up for the disappointing experience at the Breslin. Stumptown is based in Oregon, but despite the distance, the same meticulous attention to detail has been applied to the coffee they serve in NYC (which is now roasted in Brooklyn). The coffee shop also sells nitrogen coffee (which looks like beer and has a frothy head in a thick top layer that makes the coffee deliciously creamy) and an array of pastries including muffins, croissants, and scones.

ace hotel in new york city sumptown coffee roasters

The hotel also offers the John Dory Oyster Bar (cocktails, oysters and other seafood) and No. 7 Sub Shop (breakfast food and sandwiches).

Facilities

The hotel houses a quaint store in the lobby called No. 8A that offers various travel and design items selected by Elizabeth Beer and Brian Janusiak, and Ace Hotel also sells its own merchandise (think hoodies, canvas bags and the bottled shampoo and conditioner in the room).

Down the staircase from the lobby was also a gym (which had old school leather boxing and punching bags, plus more modern weights and cardio equipment) plus a few function rooms, one of which housed giant vintage boom box speakers.

ace hotel in new york city facilities gym
ace hotel in new york city facilities gym
ace hotel in new york city facilities gym
ace hotel in new york city facilities speakers

Service

The service at the front desk was very friendly and helpful, but perhaps a little slower than we had anticipated given that their computer system seemed to repeatedly malfunction, and there was often a queue of people at the front desk. We were given recommendations for food, as well as borrowed umbrellas when it began to rain. 

ace hotel in new york city every exit is an entrance somewhere else

  1. If you have booked a small sized (or above) room, put in an early request for a room with a bathtub. Not all of them have this. Ask the reception again (politely) when checking in.
  2. Be prepared for dim lighting in the rooms and the lobby - don't try to do anything that requires bright light (including taking photos!).
  3. Although the hotel offers an oyster bar, not far down the road is Barn Joo, which offers $1 happy hour oysters from 4 - 7 pm (review of it to come) and $5-$6 drinks.
xx Carmen

Lifestyle Lookbook

1 comment :

  1. They definitely deserve applause for the nice selection of bread and the service at this place which was good from start to finish. The mass produced filet at best birthday party bar nyc was too good. This is the best place for hosting great events. The venue can accommodate as many as 850 guests or as little as 50.

    ReplyDelete

Instagram