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Reviewed 13 July 2014

We recently completed a one-night staycation in downtown L.A. to try out the Ace hotel as well as the highly touted Alma restaurant across the street (reviewed separately). This area of S. Broadway is a bit south and east of the more gentrified area of downtown, so pockets of seediness remain.

The Ace is located in a restored 1927 building which also houses the Theatre at Ace Hotel, formerly the United Artists Theatre, one of several extravagant theatres in the downtown area built during Hollywood's golden age. It opened in Jan. 2014. The hotel has a retro, hipster feel. If you are over 30, you will feel older if you stay here. Hipster employees must sign a contract upon hire stating their employment will terminate upon their 30th birthday. Hipster employees apparently do not wear uniforms or name-tags, so we could not differentiate hipster employees from hipster guests, hipster diners or hipsters just hanging out. The valet attendants, however, do wear vests, but are probably not employed directly by the hotel, since some of them looked over 30. We thought the crowd at the doorway was just miscellaneous hipsters until 2 of them greeted us, opened the door, and directed us to the reception desk. There, another hipster with 2-toned hair checked us in and explained the hotel's features. All staffers encountered were quite friendly and helpful, despite the fact we were comparatively less young and beautiful. The reception area also houses a unique gift shop worth a look. Retro music paraphernalia such as guitars, turntables and vinyl LP's lie casually about.

Across the hall from the front desk is the hotel's restaurant, L.A. Chapter (which also has a bar) and The Coffee Counter. Upstairs from the restaurant is another bar, The Mezzanine, which also has a private dining area. On the roof (14th floor), there is a 3rd bar, Upstairs, that has a central indoor area with the bar, plus 2 outdoor areas, one with a pool (more like a large hot tub) and chaises, the other with shaded tables. Bar food is offered. A very pleasant space during the day, probably becomes increasingly scene-y and hipster-ish at night. Upstairs can be accessed via the 2 guest elevators (key required) or via an elevator at the opposite end of L.A. Chapter from the lobby. The decent-sized gym is on the 4th floor, and has a washer/dryer and ice machine. Meeting rooms are on the 2nd floor.

We had booked a Small room, and did not receive or request an upgrade. We did request and received a mid-level room, because I had read upper floors get noise from the Upstairs lounge. Our room faced west and was high enough to look over the roof of the Ace Theatre to see the downtown skyscrapers to the north and the Ritz Carlton at L.A. Live to the south. Lower-floor west-facing rooms look into the alleyway between the hotel and theatre, and are probably rather dark. I noticed the guest hallway on the 13th (top) floor had wainscoting, whereas other floors just had paint.

The Small room was small, but I've stayed in smaller (in New York). It was a cross between a dorm room, with its collegiate-like wool blanket and Ikea-like furniture, and a loft, with its bare concrete ceiling, bathroom floor and support columns and exposed particle board-like walls. The bed area is carpeted. The low-slung queen bed is a mattress on a wooden platform that creaks a lot. Luckily the bed wasn't pushed flush to the wall, so it could be accessed, barely, from both sides. There is a duvet under the collegiate blanket. The TV was HD. There is a retro-looking radio that is in fact web connected--not being hipsters, we could barely figure out how to turn it on, and certainly couldn't set the alarm--printed instructions would be helpful, thank you! We were able to program the TV to be our alarm clock. The small free-standing armoire had a very narrow closet and safe on one side and the minibar and fridge on the other. The desk had a stationery container that included music paper for jotting down the notes to the tune that just popped into your head, plus several hipster publications I had never heard of. The room's window opened fully! The open bathroom is split in 2 by the entry door. On one side is the sink and thankfully enclosed WC, on the other is the shower with windows open to the bedroom. The shower curtain was not fully functional (some leakage). There was little counter space, the hand soap for the sink was a Godiva chocolate-sized square with a "rope" to hang it up. The shower had pump dispensers for body wash, shampoo and conditioner. The bathrobes are made of sweatshirt/hoodie-like material--very hipster.

Here's what hipsters do not need in their hotel rooms, and what the Ace doesn't supply:
1) A delivered, printed newspaper. Hipsters just use their phone or tablet, or cough up the funds to buy one at the front desk.
2) Hand lotion in the room. Hipsters have naturally smooth and moist skin.
3) Slippers. Too bourgeois!
4) Turndown service. See above.
5) Linens changed more frequently than every 3 days. Hipsters are eco-friendly.

We sampled the food at L.A. Chapter twice. From room service (ordered after dining at Alma), I had a Five Leaves Burger, which comes with grilled pineapple, pickled beet and an egg. Pretty good, a bit salty. For breakfast, we dined amongst hipster diners and wait staff and a few business folks. It was also here that we saw the only children during our stay (I think that the Large Double Queen rooms, the only ones with 2 beds, do not have peek-a-boo showers). I had the Moroccan Scramble--visually impressive but again on the salty side. Besides Alma, I think there are more off-site dining options to the north.

This was not an unpleasant stay, even though we are not part of the Ace's target audience. Admittedly, the guests we saw were not just hipsters, we definitely noticed a few who brazenly displayed their grey hair, and there were some Asians who were curious to try downtown's newest hotel. Overall, though, I think one would be more comfortable here if you are young, not just young at heart.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
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8  Thank pillowsofwanderlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ace D, General Manager at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2014

It was a pleasure reading your review - thank you for the time spent sharing your experiences during the time you spent here. We definitely do embrace all ages (staff and guests) and do hope that those you encountered during your stay were as friendly and helpful as you mentioned! We hope to have you back, thanks again for writing.

Jason
jason.deibler@acehotel.com

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Reviewed 30 June 2014

The Ace is a super hipster hotel with a great vibe and set up. The rooftop bar and pool is very cool but also laid back. The location is great if you are doing business at the convention center or catching a game or show at the Staples Center. My room was great and had everything I needed. The room has an industrial but classy feel to it. Again, Ace has a very different vibe so don't expect the front office staff or bellman to be wearing uniforms. However, the service is excellent and the staff was very attentive. The property also has a very good gym, a bit small, but very good equipment.

My only future request would be for the espresso/coffee bar to open at 6am, instead of 7am. For the business traveler, and anyone traveling from the east coast, they day starts (including coffee) prior to 7am.

All in all, great hotel, especially if you prefer something unique and different. I would recommend either for a romantic getaway or hooking up with a group of friends for the weekend. Either way, you won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled on business
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1  Thank Scott M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ace D, General Manager at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Scott- great notes - thank you! I'll speak with our Food & Beverage Director about your comments on the coffee shop - really good point, especially when there's a conference in town. Great idea!

Jason
Jason.deibler@acehotel.com

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Reviewed 30 June 2014

A lot of hotel refurbs just fail by being too trendy for their own good. Ace does not. It just got done, yet it feels lived-in. Every time you see something too trendy that makes you wince, you see something that offsets it - so you smile. Nothing is too serious. The staff is not stuck up and entitled, just nice and genuine. You would almost want them as friends. To top it off the building is just amazing. The rooms are smallish but well put together with tons of storage and cool amenities like a record player and web radio. Awesome REASONABLY price mini bar with lots of cool stuff like retro candy and great drinks (LEARN OTHER HOTELS - you do not need to charge $10 for a bottle of water!). Open bathroom (not a fan of concept) but well put together with push dispensers for shampoo and body wash - thank you I do not need small plastic bottles! Roof bar is worth the trip. Best drinks. Great bartenders. Place was packed and even with a drink in my hand was asked 3 times if I needed a drink. No attitude, super nice. Gave a big tip. Pool? Not really a pool.. More like a basin, but who cares the view is nice. This hotel does not have the hipster feel to it - IT COULD, but it does not - it has more of a timeless cool feeling - where no one would feel out of place. Place really feels like it has a soul to it.

Room Tip: BAD BEDS! Why? did you guys cheap out on the beds. The wood frame with no support that creaks every time you move is annoying and uncomfortable. And the housekeeping service that comes at 8:15AM every morning? Even for someone working that is either while you are in the shower or getting ready.
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled on business
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Thank JetSet1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ace D, General Manager at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, responded to this reviewResponded 17 July 2014

Thanks so much for your review! We love to hear that our staff are solid, real people, and not trying to be something they're not. We really want our guests to feel at home. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with your bed - the frame was designed by Commune and the mattresses are from Suite Sleep - I'll definitely have our team check for creaks and noise that shouldn't be there! We hope to have you back again!

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Reviewed 26 June 2014

We booked a block of rooms for our wedding. We were going to be taking pictures in our room so we let them know we were getting married and asked in advance for a high floor. The room we were given was dark and on a low floor. There was an upgrade room available... which we could have for another $400 a night. Alas out of our price range and, really, why should we have to pay just to get something close to what we asked for? Wanted very much to like this place but very disappointed at the customer service and attention to detail.

  • Stayed: June 2014
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8  Thank Imaginability
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ace D, General Manager at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, responded to this reviewResponded 26 November 2014

Really sorry we weren't able to get you the room you requested - we hope you'll give us another chance to make it better!

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Reviewed 26 June 2014

I stayed in the Ace for 8 nights last month while attending a convention at the LACC. Lots of pros and cons to this hotel, all listed below, but the net/net is that this hotel is a scene and unless you are a 20-something hipster looking to over-spend on a small room to be a part of that scene, this probably isn't the place for you.

The Pros:
- Great room service: yummy food from the restaurant downstairs, good selection and very reasonably priced (i.e. they won't gouge you)
- Building has character and an interesting history
- Staff, especially at the coffee counter and door, are exceptionally pleasant
- Rooftop bar is nice....but definitely a scene and not a place anyone can drop into and feel comfortable...not by a long shot
- Wifi is free and fast enough to watch Netflix

The Cons:
- Queen rooms are laughably tiny and VERY claustrophobic with tiny windows looking into a light well. I walked into mine, immediately felt like I'd been incarcerated for a terrible crime, and went to the front desk for a swap. Thankfully my reservation was clearly for a king so they had no choice but to honor and change
- King room was slightly better in that it had to be large enough to fit a king bed and the windows looked out on the street, but still VERY small, especially if you have a long stay and need more than an Ikea-sized wardrobe closet (there are no actual closets - the former closets are now the toilet/shower)
- Very cold/sterile - if a wool horse blanket on the bed and exposed cement walls/floor/ceiling and a cave-like black painted 1/2 bath is your thing you may enjoy...otherwise not so much
- Tiny rooms = bad feng shui. My bed was wedged between the desk (behind my head) and the windows (at my feet) - a tall person literally would have to sleep diagonally. Also, the TV is parallel, not perpendicular, to the bed so there is no place to comfortably watch
- No hand lotion. Cheapskates.
- Hand soap is this little tile thing that is supposed to hang off the mirror, but when you do causes a gross puddle over the course of the week. No towel hook other than IN the shower
-VERY STUFFY. I left my windows open the entire stay - 8 nights - and still was grossed out every time I walked in
- If you are facing the street, be prepared to be woken up EVERY SINGLE NIGHT between 2 and 3am - sirens, swearing, calls for security, etc when the bar upstairs and restaurant below empty out. It is LOUD and they do nothing about it. No, closing the window doesn't help.
- Don't think there is a pool - it's more of a large hot tub, filled with people drinking cocktails. Again, roof is a total scene, not a relaxing place to chill and have a drink

Room Tip: As high up as possible, make sure you have a real window, not just a light window. Must get at least a King bed or room will be like a coffin.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled on business
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4  Thank JulieInSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ace D, General Manager at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Thank you for the in-depth review. I'm sorry the rooms you received weren't to your liking; If you're in the area again we'd love to show you some of the other layouts, there are a few different ones, and some may be more what you're looking for than the one you received. Glad you loved the food and the staff, we'll definitely look into the cons that you pointed out. If you have a moment to let me know which room you stayed in, I'd love to look into the issues you had with circulation. If you're back in town, please let me know, we'd love to show you a better time!

Thank you,

Jason
jason.deibler@acehotel.com

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