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Ace Hotel, Seattle

, April 3, 2018

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In the world of design hotels, Ace Hotel are revered, known for spending nearly 20 years bringing new ideas to legacy properties, reviving them in quirky yet functional ways. Few seem to know that all this creativity started in Seattle, at a 28-bedroom property in the laid back Belltown neighbourhood, now within a natural tourist corridor which borders the Puget Sound.

Unlike more recent openings in Ace’s empire, the Seattle property is modestly stated, occupying the corner of 1st Avenue and Wall Street. The hotel has no restaurant, no third-party vending speciality coffee, and its entrance is next to the less discreet Cyclops, a café marked by the monster’s singular eye. Visitors will instead note the compact nature of the building and its clever use of space, key traits that form part of the brand’s pioneering success since.

Bedrooms don’t follow a set configuration, with sizes, features and furnishings varying greatly. Creative efforts shoot off in different directions, with the set representing an eclectic range of options for a 21st century hotelier. One bedroom includes an interior space that is enclosed by the property, originally intended for outdoor seating, while others have frontage along the water. Even so, Ace have managed to batch different room characteristics into two kinds – those with a share bathroom (“Standard Shared Bath”) and those with an en suite setup (“Deluxe Room”).

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Despite this, Rudy’s products are available in all bathrooms, a consistent thread that links the bedrooms (haircuts are also available nearby, Rudy’s Barbershop is part of the Ace family). Pearl+ soaps are also in each bedroom, along with an assortment of snacks, records and books to occupy quiet moments.

Communal areas provide enough space for guests to enjoy complimentary DIY bagels, yogurts, granola and Stumptown Coffee from Portland, while a long, timber table next to the reception welcomes laptops as the hotel’s workspace (not available to outside guests). The breakfast room is Tokyo-style small, though guests are assured that it is open throughout the day.

Whereas the more recent breed of Aces have found their groove through a refined set of bedroom types, their address in Seattle reflects a curated approach for earlier hoteliers. Finding time to stay at the property is a way to visit the early stages of boutique-design-retro hotels, while getting a good night’s kip in too.

Training notes

Escape Ace and the overseeing eye of Cyclops to venture along the waterfront for a run. To find an athletics track, jog to Seattle State University for long straights and tight bends. In 2017, Rapha opened a cafe within a 12-minute walk of Ace, and a little further along are Métier who act as the gateway for all the best cycling in Seattle. Métier can sort you out with a bike rental for your stay in Seattle, and also have a workshop and impressive gym with barbells, weight bands and pull-up bars. Swimmers should jump in an Uber for $7 and get to Queen Anne Pool, a 50m tub that welcomes visitors.

For more information and booking at Ace Hotel in Seattle, go to to acehotel.com. Imagery: Ace Hotel