Ace Hotel review, Portland, Oregon

The Place

Friendly, bright, modern, the Ace is more than just hipster hotel. It is modern, stylish accommodation that addresses the needs of a new generation of travellers – one that doesn't want to pay for things they don't need (who's going to order room service in a great foodie city like Portland?)

There's no gym, no pool, no breakfast buffet, or room service, so you're paying for what you need, rather than hidden extras. 

The hotel borders the city's Pearl District which is filled with shops, restaurants, bars and breweries, and a mere five minute walk to Pioneer Place in the city centre. Directly across the road is a tiny but exclusive shopping strip and another few minutes away is landmark Powell's Books. Restaurants and bars occupy the spaces on either side of the building, opening from breakfast until late.

The Space

Occupying the historic landmark building of the Old 1912 Clyde Hotel, the lower lobby level is a bright, youthful and inviting communal space filled with big couches with a fantastic, modern three-tiered lighting as centrepiece and it's always full of young people chatting over Stumptown Coffee, found in the adjoining building.You'll also find an old, working photo booth and retro bikes for hire. Elsewhere shared spaces are dotted with vintage gear, bookshelves and walls flourished with black and white sketch art. The loft-style rooms are found on the upper floors via a tiny lift or staircase. 

The Food

The Ace's kitchen occupies a small room and looks like one of the Euro hostels I've been to – containing the essentials – locally sourced and handmade – to make your own cereal, toast plus a French press for Stumptown Coffee, and sure beats the tired selection of of bagels and spreads you'll find at some American hotels. Clyde Common next door is one of Portland's best restaurants and it's hard to resist the lure of Stumptown Coffee. Some of Portland's infamous food carts are two minute walk away – including Nong's Khao Man Gai (chicken and rice).

Stepping out

Other than the extremely hip, new shopping arcade across the street, and a further half dozen shops around the block, Pearl District is known for its craft breweries, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and nightlife. The whole downtown area is accessible from here – best seen by bike or on foot - but Uber is also a super reliable and cheap way of getting around. Jordan Hufnagel has made the Ace's bikes you can rent in the lobby. Underneath Clyde Common is Pepe le Moko, and underground cocktail bar.

Rooms

My 'standard front room' is light and airy, with white walls, wooden floorboards and large windows allowing for lots of natural light. It's not a huge space at 250 square feet, but comfortable for one or two. A long wooden bench stretching alongside the bed against the wall is handy to store belongings, where you'll also find a curated, alcohol-free minibar, with a selection of snacks for purchase. Unusually, the shower and the sink occupy the same space as the bed, with a separate room for the toilet. A portable silver trolley rattles along the floorboards to store bathroom products and towels. Malin + Goetz toiletries are supplied in an eco-friendly pump pack, doing away with small and ultimately wasteful mini bottles, although small bottles of conditioner were provided each day. Hypoallergenic, firm queen size beds are found in the standard rooms, the front facing with views of the Pearl District. Charge up your phone from the USB hub on the bedside clock radio and there's a widescreen telly above the bed. 

The rooms can vary greatly – smaller 'band rooms' have bunk beds and shared bathrooms, and larger rooms can contain vintage, claw-foot tubs, king-sized beds and record players.

The Verdict

If you're headed to Portland, you'd be mad not check out where the Ace's brand of modern hipster minimalism began, and with great ambience and character, while centrally located and reasonably priced, makes it an all-round winner.

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Highlight

Like a hotel with the vibe of a hostel, minus the annoying hippy strumming guitar in the common room, the price and location are on point.

Lowlight

Like anything that thrives on a convivial atmosphere, the Ace can get a little noisy, but it's not too bothersome.

Essentials

1022 SW Stark St, Portland, Oregon 97205

Standard rooms start from $215 per night.

acehotel.com/portland

The writer was a guest of Visit Portland

Our rating: 3.5 stars

TripAdvisor Traveller rating: 4 stars

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