To me, different is refreshing. To see something done in a new or unconventional way is expansive. Seeing other people poke at collective assumptions makes me feel more brave. Being exposed to “new inputs” (as my friend, Ingrid, calls them) opens up possibility in my mind and makes me willing to try stuff that totally scares me (like moving, divorce, blogging) which ends up opening my life up in ways I never expected.
This weekend, we were in NYC for a 50th birthday party (happy birthday Saundra!) and stayed in a very refreshing hotel. The pictures online were not cozy at all and I was afraid it would be stark and too industrial – but sensing something authentic in all of the stellar reviews made me override my hesitation. I am so glad that I did!
I also need to say up front that we were the least hip and cool people in this place, but the staff treated us just like regular old hipsters. There was no attitude or aloofness. The boys at the front door – in their sneakers, wool caps and cool glasses were relaxed yet very attentive and just as nice as long-haired, sweet Anton at the front desk who happily upgraded our room.
This hotel knows how to put a guest at ease without the obsequious “sir and madam” crap. I have always said it was much easier to live in NYC than to visit and the Ace Hotel made me feel at home.
My pictures, like the ones online, are not able to do justice to the design and thoughtful details of this terrific hotel.
Our room view was the Empire State building catching the sun beyond a beautiful old building, full of details I could look at all day. Not to mention the guilty fun of watching the neighbors who live in that building carrying on their ordinary lives.
The Ace Hotel room was like a treasure hunt of interesting, assumption-challenging treats.
Who would think to put a KEG in the vintage refridgerator of a hotel room? Why would you trust guests not to go nuts and wreck the place like a rock star!? Apparantly, the Ace Hotel decided it would probably be okay. Sort of like the 24-hour room service they offer - people like to know the option is there, even if they don’t take advantage of it. It seems people like being trusted.
Why would you assume that guests would not break a vintage Polaroid camera? Why would you assume that guests would not STEAL a vintage Polaroid camera? But the Ace did. It seems to be working out just fine for them.
What about something as delicate as a record player? What about real record albums, for heaven’s sake? Those things can be damaged practically just looking at them, yet they put out real vintage records for guests to handle to their heart’s content. And what about that rickety stool – isn’t that a “my child chewed on your vintage stool and got lead poisoning” lawsuit waiting to happen? I absolutely LOVE that the Ace Hotel expects guests to use good judgement and be reasonable. Reasonable people do not have to be told to refrain from chewing on the furniture. How refreshing. What if the whole world was expected to use good judgement and be reasonable? What then, huh???
The double doors to the bathroom opened up to the room making it possible to enjoy a bath and socialize at the same time. Brilliant idea. And, yes, that is a real guitar in the corner, ready and waiting for you to use. They even have blank sheet music on the bedside table in case you feel really inspired.
Helpful messages are posted around the room. Not always what you would expect, but usually to the point.
I actually thought that the “NOT NOW” sign meant that the emergency plan was for emergencies - duh, NOT NOW - which is a nice little reminder, but it turns out that the “NOT NOW” sign is magnetic and is meant to be put on the outside of your door if you don’t want to be bothered!
This helpful instruction cracks me up. I love a sassy hotel.
Trying something new – like trusting guests to be good – is a great idea. The Ace Hotel has a vibe that speaks of all their locations – Seattle, Portland, Palm Springs and New York - which I particularly liked since I am very familiar with all of those places. They have achieved the plenty-perfect combination of relaxed yet edgy, light yet solid, stylish yet authentic, fun yet reasonable, irreverent yet affirming. The Ace Hotel isn’t simply “different” or “wow” – these folks really get how to “zig” when others are “zagging.”