The sun is out for the first time in a very long time and I can see hope in the eyes of people on the streets – is spring already here? As a Swede, I’ve learnt not to hope too much for such things. However, with the string of light and warmth arriving, I’m feeling an itch to travel again – and the urge for London is feeling particularly prickly.
It’s one of my favourite places on earth – and a lovely weekend destination – if you know where to sleep, eat and wander. Today we’ll help you out with two of those things, and hopefully, you might just find that a great hotel removes the need for any wandering at all.
The Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, which opened in only 6 months ago, is the now renowned hotel chain’s first excursion into Europe. The original Ace opened in 1999 in a transformed Salvation Army hostel in Seattle, followed by hotels in Portland, Palm Springs and New York. The chain quickly earned a reputation as the hipster’s favourite – and not in a bad way.
Here is a hotel pulsating with life and that has already, despite its short life, established itself amongst the fast-changing Shoreditch street scene. Its restaurant and café are both superb (and doing very well), but most remarkable is perhaps the inclusion of a florist shop, which creates an overspill of green on to the street as well as an unexpectedly dramatic entrance to the hotel restaurant.
The 258 (spacious) bedrooms themselves are slightly unexpected. The bathroom suites, doors, hardware and so on from the old rooms (this used to be a boring business hotel) have simply been left in place while the money has gone on the sparse, elegant furniture and on art applied directly to the walls. Each room features a long, built-in seat so the space appears less like a bedroom and more like a living and socialising area.
The hotel has also attracted a group of young artists to create murals on one wall in each room. The effect is electric, lifting the greyish rooms and connecting them with the art scene outside that has made Shoreditch the place it is today.
As we mentioned, we believe a great hotel eliminates any reason to leave it, and Ace Hotel does just this. Being London, it will probably rain anyway.
Double rooms at the Ace Hotel cost from £215 – http://www.acehotel.com/
Fully booked? Try Dean Street Townhouse in Soho, or The Hoxton in Shoreditch.