The second Ace Hotel and the first step of the oh-so-cool brand’s expansion toward hipster world dominion, the Ace Hotel Portland can arguably claim to have almost single-handedly launched the current boutique hotel craze. Though it sounds like a cliché now, in this age of thoughtfully designed boutique hotels, the contemporary icon—opened in 2007 in the 1912 building that had long housed the Clyde Hotel—was one of the first hotels designed to feel like a cool, culturally savvy friend’s home. It’s decorated with artwork by acclaimed local artists, outfitted with refurbished vintage furnishings and decor by local craftsmen (think signature Pendleton blankets), and staffed by trendy hipsters who point guests to the hottest underground music shows. Hometown hero Stumptown Coffee Roasters opened one of its first cafés at this Ace, starting the partnership that has since taken the coffee halfway around the world, to the London hotel; here in Portland, it just helped define the hotel as the epitome of cool, a reputation that has only been further cemented by the opening of a popular farm-to-table restaurant and a sultry subterranean cocktail bar. But the true measure of the Ace Hotel Portland’s cool factor? It was parodied on an episode of Portlandia.
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Whether the Ace made the West End cool or capitalized on the then up-and-coming neighborhood’s caché is up for debate, but there’s no denying that the hotel sits in one of Portland’s hippest neighborhoods. Downtown’s central Pioneer Courthouse Square is just a few blocks south, and local icons like Powell’s Books (the world’s largest bookstore!), Nong’s Khao Man Gai food truck (yes, this is Portland, food trucks are iconic), and the hip Living Room Theaters (movies and cocktails!) are within a couple blocks. Many of the city’s trendiest restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are a stone’s throw away—including Blue Star Donuts, Lardo West, Kenny & Zuke’s, Deschutes Brewery, and Courier Coffee. And the streetcar stops just outside, for easy access to the rest of the city.
Need to Know
Rooms: 78 rooms, 14 suites. From $199. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: An extensive, European-style breakfast of homemade jams and granola, local breads and cheeses, and fresh fruit and juices is served each morning for guests only (for a fee) in a converted guestroom. Local favorite Stumptown coffee is served throughout the hotel—and has an outpost just off the lobby, where guests can get their coffee and pastry fix throughout the day, or sip and socialize on the lobby’s overstuffed couches. Also located just off the lobby is Clyde Common, a hip, farm-to-table gastropub with a popular daily happy hour, long communal tables, and top-notch cocktails. The same acclaimed cocktail team also runs Pepe Le Moko, the hotel’s subterranean, jazz-playing bar, whose dramatic zinc bar sets the stage for Spanish-inspired bites and haute twists on kitschy drinks. Spa and gym details: The hotel has neither a spa nor a gym, but it does offer custom bikes by Hufnagel Cycles for guests to borrow (complete with locks and helmets). And the brand’s signature toiletries are famously excellent (and eco-friendly).
Who's it best for: Foodies, hipsters, creative types, and musicians on tour. Our favorite rooms: Rooms at the Ace are distinctive and individually designed and decorated. All are filled with artwork (including murals) by both local and internationally renowned artists, as well as refurbished, one-of-a-kind vintage furnishings—but Superior Deluxe rooms are the largest, and those on the corners get the most light and, often, have the best views. Bands on tour, though, should look into the bunk rooms, specially designed for musicians on a budget. Grooves included: All suites come equipped with a Music Hall turntable—and a curated collection of secondhand records to be played on them.