Head up, muffins -- Photo heavy post. But totes worth it. (Yeah, I said "totes." It's growing on me. I've stopped trying to fight it.)
When I read on Brigham Yen's "DTLA Rising" blog that the Ace Hotel was opening downtown, I knew I had to see it. I've seen their properties in other cities and it's a really fantastic chain of boutique hotels. Each location has its own personality and theme -- always with local ties -- and I couldn't wait to see how LA's location would develop. So I got resourceful; I found a contact and was really excited they volunteered to give me a tour!
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles opened at the beginning of the month in the historic United Artists building (929 S. Broadway). Originally built in 1927 for the maverick film studio, the ornate, storied theatre and tower stand as monument to a group of seminal American artists -- you know, little known talent like Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford...
The project's facade was approached as an "interpretive" restoration — what would the building have looked like if it had been a hotel, restaurant, or theatre in the heyday of the Broadway Theatre District?
And I really like to look at architecture (shiny! pretty! tall!) but I was much more excited to see the inside. I love hotels. I really do. (You may recall from past lists, that every year, one of my goals is always to spend a night in one, alone - it's a favorite thing.) I was busting from the moment I parked in the convenient public lost right across the street ($6 flate rate on weekends, by the way). More so when the cute guys in the nice-fitting tees got the front door for me. As we all know, I'm a sucker for hot guys... (I should have gotten pics of those guys for #Menday!)
The building was stripped down to its minimalist concrete core, with design elements then layered on top. The public spaces in the hotel tower are intimate in scale, flowing naturally from one room to the next — the transition from registration, elevator vestibule, coffee bar, restaurant and into the
mezzanine lounge is seamless. And WiFi! For hotel guests and just regular guests! I may start working there on weekends -- the light is lovely in the cafe, LA Chapter. The second floor of the cafe is much more coffee shop than restaurant and I could totally see myself there for hours, writing like a fiend.
There are outlets built into the tables, you guys. That's awesome.
And I haven't even gotten to my favorite part -- the 14th floor, Upstairs. (Or, as I plan to eventually refer to it, the likely future site of my 35th birthday party.)
The aptly named Upstairs rooftop space was transformed into an indoor/outdoor lounge and pool inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House and the legendary Hollywood night spot Les Deux Café. Upstairs features a concrete bunker-like bar with a light installation by costume designer and returning Ace collaborator Michael Schmidt, made of hundreds of feet of vintage steel chain and barn hardware, with salvaged original theatrical lights found in the theatre.
The views are insane.
Incidentally, the "Jesus Saves" sign is because for a time, Reverend Gene Scott used the hotel's present Presidential Suite as his personal prayer room. I guess the obvious reminder helped him out a bit.
I will have to return to get a firsthand view of the guest rooms at the hotel (it was booked solid when I visited -- not a bad problem to have but they were apologetic anyway), but here are some room pics they provided. I love their fun touches. Somehow the rooms are equal parts minimal and extremely detailed. The unique personal-like items -- records, guitars... You don't find that at a Marriot, right? And a library of vinyl in the lobby is on stand-by in case you need to swap out for something more your style.
I'm not done yet -- and thnaks for sticking with me thus far. I simply must also mention the theater. It is glorious. It dates back to the origins of the structure as well, of course. You saw it earlier in photos -- it is gloriously vintage looking and being well preserved in its rennovation. When it opens on February 14th for it's first concert, it will seat a full house of 1600 people. I am SO excited another venue is opening in Los Angeles. We have so many and yet, still seems like not enough. And there is certainly nothing like it downtown.
It is beautiful:
I saved the best for last. The final detail I'll share is one dedicated to my mom and to every teacher that ever sent a note home stating something like "Amanda is a bright, charming student but her penchant for doodling on any bare surface she can get her hands on is really distracting." (I swear they called me bright and charming. I would never lie.)
Like I said at the top, each Ace Hotel location is imbued with it's own charm. So here, in LA, the owners brought in the Haas brothers, Nikolai and Simon, to doodle - yes, doodle - on their walls. In simple pencil. A a psychedelic wonderland peppered with California historical references and subtle visual jokes to charm and encourage conversation among visitors. And then they sealed it. In addition, the Haas brothers designed the lobby reception desk, which utilized reclaimed wood from the office spaces in the building before restoration.
If I ever own a home, you'd better believe I'm doodling the crap out of a wall somewhere in the house.
I can hardly wait to make Ace Hotel Los Angeles one of my new favorite hangouts.