Ace Hotel Portland
The second Ace Hotel and the first step in the oh-so-cool brand’s expansion, the Ace Hotel Portland can arguably claim to have launched the current boutique hotel craze. Though it sounds like a cliché in this age of thoughtfully designed hotels, the contemporary icon—opened in 2007 in the 1912 building that 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 works by acclaimed local artists, outfitted with vintage furnishings and handcrafted decor (including 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 here, starting a partnership that has since taken the coffee halfway around the world to the Ace Hotel London. In Portland, the café simply helped define the Ace 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 subterranean cocktail bar. The true measure of the Ace’s cool factor, however, is that the hotel was parodied on an episode of Portlandia.
Ace is the Place
The Ace Hotel has all the trappings of a done-up PDX scene. From the khaki/retro colors to the foam block furnishings, the Ace screams hip to almost deafening decibels, in a cool kind of way. In real estate it’s all about location, and the Ace is close to everything. The bikes for rent in the lobby are the first indication you won’t be needing a car. The other lobby features include a photo booth and lounging area. There’s a little mezzanine library area that overlooks the lobby for additional hanging out. The front desk is tucked away; no sense in mixing commerce with pleasure. Stumptown Coffee and Clyde Commons flank each side, with Kenny and Zook’s handy, too. There are a dozen other excellent eateries and entertainment venues minutes away on foot, and more by bike. Rooms vary in size and budget. For our venture it was the Superior Front with lots of space to entertain, which we did with about 15 friends. The decor is spartan but functional. Huge bath done in classic white tile. Plenty of counter to set up the bar, and lots of seating. The big bed is comfy and the room is bright and airy. The view from our room was anchored by Powell’s Books and a Pearl district skyline. It’s not the quietest property in PDX, but nothing beyond the hum of the city. There is a bar downstairs if your party runs dry. The hotel chain has a handful of other properties, and each has its own personality. All awaiting you to come darken their doors.
Breakfast at the Ace Hotel
This is simply the best value hotel breakfast I have ever found. For $12 at the Ace Hotel, you can help yourself to a generous spread of eggs, dry-cured meats, breads, pastries, granola, fruit, and any number of yummy local jams. Coffee is from the famed Stumptown Coffee roasters next door. It really was an unbelievable spread on a relatively modest budget. It’s served in a small room on the second floor, formerly known as room 215. The only downside is that it can reach capacity fairly quickly. Sure, the Ace hotel is currently a super trendy place to stay in Portland, with its faux-military khaki chic and its super-hip bar and restaurant (Clyde Common) next door. But don’t let that sway you. Go for the breakfast.
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