If Starbucks defined the "Third Place" about a decade ago, the Ace hotel group has added a fourth category - The Gen Love Place. Upon entering the lobby of the Ace in midtown NYC, you couldn't help but be enamored by the energy that vibrates throughout its packed lobby. Mac users are shoulder to shoulder with PC's, earthy chick with metro sexualdude, guy on guys, sporty with spice. A huge American flag is the backdrop behind the bar, screaming "This is the new America and if you don't like it, then get lost." This is the college library on steroids. People are trying to look busy with their spreadsheets, but you know, everyone just wants to hook up eventually. If you dig this kind of socio-collaborative space, then chill and stay awhile.
The rooms range from bunk beds to S,M,L kings, to lofts. All with private baths and "vintage" beddings and furniture. To a certain degree, it's like shacking up at a college roommate's pad in the city less the empty pizza boxes and beer cans. Private bathrooms, free wireless and mini bars are standard. Starting at around $200 per night (in midtown!), that's a bargain.
But the action is truly in the lobby area. Portland's Stumptown Coffee Roasters is connected to the lobby for your late afternoon cortado cravings. Michelin starred chefs of the Spotted Pig, April Bloomfield and Ken Friedmam, took residence here with their tribute to "nose to tail" cuisine at the Breslin Bar and Dining Room. And for some retail therapy, the No. 8A & Opening Ceremony boutique behind the front desk is a classic bohemian's travel and design paradise.
The Ace is a perfect hotel if you're traveling solo on business or if you're the TED-type, modern social anthropologist looking for live sample specimens for the sheer fun of it.