Our last three getaways were to California. And we’d just visited Los Angeles less than a year ago. But I had such a transcendently sublime time at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs this fall for our non-honeymoon that I really wanted to check out the newest Ace location in L.A. basically A.S.A.P.
And so Hurly kindly jetted us off to the Golden State for the fourth time in under 12 months so I could scope out the just-opened awesomeness.
The L.A. Ace is located, notably, downtown – helping shift the area’s once shady status from down-and-out to up-and-coming. A majestic movie theater/office tower Charlie Chaplin and his colleagues built in 1927 to showcase their United Artists’ films is the Ace’s set of bones.
The grandiose theater lobby I thought would act as the lobby/public space of the hotel – but the theater is solely/separately dedicated to Ace-curated public concerts/shows and unfortunately closed off otherwise from the hotel and its guests.
The hotel proper is carefully crammed into the theater’s adjacent thirteen-story office tower. There isn’t even barely a proper lobby, just the front desk/gift shop and then the hotel’s coffee shop/bar/restaurant called LA Chapter.
But Ace’s strength is creating striking visual moments at every scale, and assembling beauty from mixing the old and the new with the high and the low.
In the rooms, the little things bring big rewards. Southern California was crudely cool when we were there and the color-blocked Pendleton co-branded wool blanket on our bed was a soothing, snuggly comfort that I keep thinking a ton about, back here in the blizzards of Minneapolis.
The in-room reads aren’t just generic city-centric publications, but indie zines about girl drummers and man-dating men.
Ace locations are famous for their in-room turntables, which our 12th-floor suite indeed offered – as well as our very own guitar and a stack of blank sheet music we used to effortlessly transform Hurly from a simple tourist into a soulful little troubadour!
Nodding to its Hollywoody past, signage at Ace DTLA is stenciled atop schlocky old screenplay pages.
And the walls of its restaurant are professionally doodled in images of tinseltown’s richest and most famous.
Diners can sit around and order ricotta pancakes or avocado toast while subtly trying to celeb spot (pencil sketchings of) Keaton and Dern and Schwarzenegger.
Or do as I incessantly did and gawk at all the ivy leather and tricky tilework and beautiful brass tabletops that makes LA Chapter so aesthetically delicious.
If you ride the elevator up to the roof the sign for the sorta Less Than Zero-seeming Upstairs bar beams bluely at you.
But once you step into the sun the scene gets a little less Less Than-ish. There’s countless kilim pillows, cement knick-knacks, a shrimpy swimming pool and, on our last day there, a chic from the last three seasons of Gossip Girl and a dude from the only season of Ringer.
Other places, two semi-celebs from old CW shows might be the coolest and most beautiful things around you – but at an Ace, they just fade blandly into background players since its the hip-chic scenery that really shines.