The Ace Hotel could not possibly be worse. They have thought of everything. Every possible piece of clichéd hipster iconography has been wedged and stuffed into every crevice like that sausage challenge from Love Island.
The Lobby is huge and dark and full of good-looking millennials on Macbooks presumably writing blogs or in-depth trend reports and social media strategy plans or haunting memoirs that will set the world alight. You can have a cup of $12 cold pressed Horchata if you like. There is a photo booth. There are gender neutral “inclusive” restrooms. There is a branch of Opening Ceremony. There is an absolutely bizarre restaurant serving breakfast items like yoghurt parfait and “chilled grapefruit” in a heavy dark wooden paneled room. The décor of this space, festooned with ropes and antlers, can only be the work of a feverish set dresser after a production meeting for Murder In The English Pub On A Boat In The Woods. I just absolutely would never eat a grapefruit in that environment.
So that’s the lobby, but at least it feels grand, and has been built lovingly using smart ingredients like mosaic tiled floors, burnished gold, warm tan leather, old oak furniture, stained glass. Upstairs is a different country altogether.
My room was two separate elevator rides up into the sky and tucked away around a corner after a succession of unmarked doors. To get there I dragged my suitcases along several winding corridors, occasionally passing the odd lost man in a suit, thirsty and desperate-eyed men, searching for what they had been assured was known as “the Penthouse” but was in actual fact a series of cannily repurposed broom cupboards.
I was staying in what looked like the room of a lonely boy who has newly moved into his dorm at an out-of-state college and hasn’t really got his shit together. There was a big wooden desk with sneaky bits of graffiti and initials gouged out as if with compasses during a geography lecture or an instructional presentation about speeding. I absolutely would not put it past the designers of The Ace to have called in a local artisan to retro-actively tattoo this furniture. There was a grey carpet and grey walls and small grey windows through which you could see a flat grey expanse of felted rooftop. There was a bottle of red wine that had been stolen from somebody’s parent’s cellar and a couple of thick-rimmed mugs and a beaker to share it out of. There was a carton of water whose minimalist branding shouted “BOXED WATR IS BETTER” to try and persuade me that it was ethical rather than cheap. There was a mini Smeg fridge stuffed with craft beers, which only served to reinforce my theory that this was the room of a guy at Uni that seemed funny and interesting at first but ultimately you really regret sleeping with because he said “why isn’t there International Men’s Day” and wore tapered leg trousers and a rolled up beanie.
The bathroom was a series of giant square pegs that didn’t fit into a small square room. Somebody somewhere was really in need of some graph paper and a measuring tape when planning this shower trough. The toilet and sink were separated by a distance of about; one human knee. The shower had only one dial, providing a water temperature range spanning “boiling lava” to “off”. The shower curtain clung to me like it never wanted me to leave it. Who has shower curtains any more? The light quietly dimmed itself right down to the power of a flickering match, as if wanting to shield me from this ugly scene. This was cultural appropriation of a struggling NYU student’s miserable first bathroom.
I can’t believe people could be so taken in by back-to-basics industrial chic that they accidentally revert back to living in a shithole and paying through the nose for it. Or are the people staying here so privileged that they never knew such poverty existed? They never had to have anything standard issue so now they delight in its sparse charm. How freeing not to have any possessions, to feel unencumbered by luxury entitlement and live in a grey box wrapped up in a shower curtain! Perhaps the concept is like a class safari.
And how do I get around the fact that I too am paying too much money to sleep in a dorm room and sit in a lobby with a Macbook Pro, writing down my thoughts about hipsters unsolicited? All I have to protect myself in this situation is my disdain.
Morbid curiosity moved me to look into the best rooms available at The Ace; to solidify your status as idiot at the top, you can pay upwards of $800/night and some rooms come with an acoustic guitar! These people must be stopped.