L.A. Chapter is the buzzed-about community eatery at the new Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles. // © 2014 Spencer Lowell
The downtown Los Angeles resurgence continues with the recent opening of Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, the second Ace location in California and the first in L.A. Housed in the historic United Artists (UA) building on Broadway Avenue, the hotel opened in January to the buzz of guests and locals eager to explore the renovated nooks and crannies of the 1927 structure. After just one month in operation, the Ace has emerged as a place to be and be seen, fraught with details that root the property in the Los Angeles art scene.
Rooms with a View
Ace properties are known for their minimalist yet creative guestrooms. To infuse the UA building with its signature style, in-house design firm Atelier Ace partnered with Los Angeles-based collective Commune Design. All 182 rooms have king or queen beds with custom Pendleton blankets and Revo Radios that allow guests to play their own setlists or tap into tunes from around the globe. To further inspire creativity, blank sheet music is on hand, as well as a record player and collection of vinyls provided by Amoeba Music in each room. The front desk will soon have studio equipment available for rent, should clients feel motivated to record a new ditty over the course of their stay.
Flat-screen televisions, mini-bars, a bevy of snacks and thoughtfully placed electrical outlets round out the rooms. Original floors and exposed ceilings are other prominent features – to add a bit of warmth and to help with sound absorption, sustainable homasote panels were added to the concrete walls.
Accommodations come in a range of sizes, including medium rooms with terraces made from old fire escapes and lofts with private kitchenettes. All rooms offer views of downtown or greater Los Angeles, and rates begin at $199 per night. The Presidential Suite with a large private patio will soon be available as well.
Snacks and Libations, Ace Style
While the plush Wings+Horns bathrobes in rooms are a comfy perk, the stand-out features at the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles are its shared spaces. Just the right of the concierge is L.A. Chapter, a coffee bar, restaurant and bar rolled into one stunning floor plan that looks out onto South Broadway. Helming L.A. Chapter are Chef Ken Addington and restaurateur Jud Mongell, known for their Brooklyn eatery, Five Leaves.
“Five Leaves is a neighborhood joint you can go to for a really good burger, or just for cocktails,” said a spokesperson for Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles. “I’ve also known people who sit there all day on their laptops. That’s the vibe they are aiming for here – a spot where people can come and do what they wish with it. It isn’t just for hotel guests. It is for everyone in the community, too.”
The menu at L.A. Chapter is described as European with subtle exotic influences – there’s a lamb-French-dip-turned-banh-mi-sandwich, served with a warm orange-anise consume dip, and a lemongrass rabbit ragu. Vegetarian dishes, from the treviso and roasted squash salad to the sweet and spicy Brussels sprouts, balance out the offerings.
Hotels guests can order room service from L.A. Chapter 24 hours a day. For housemade sweets and Stumptown Coffee drinks on the go, there’s a coffee counter near the entrance of the restaurant. Tell clients with a sweet tooth to try the black and white cookie.
For city views and cocktails on high, guests and locals can take the express elevator at the back of L.A. Chapter to Upstairs, the aptly named rooftop bar and the newest open-air oasis in the city.
“With Upstairs, the designers wanted something in between a dive bar and a club – something comfortable but also really beautiful to look at,” an Ace spokesperson shared.
To achieve this, designers looked to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, as well as legendary Hollywood spot Les Deux Cafe. Wooden tables, a central fireplace, bright bougainvillea vines and art installations give the lounge an upscale, yet homey feel. Customers order drinks at the main bar, set in the adjacent tower with sunlight pouring through the original, ornate cutouts in the concrete walls. Past the tower is the pool area with lounge chairs and sun umbrellas.
The team at L.A. Chapter manages the light bites available at Upstairs. Smaller plates heavy on vegetables reign, and creative cocktail take inspiration from French Morocco and beyond.
Let the Show Begin
Converting the UA building not only introduced the Ace brand to Los Angeles, it also made the Ace team first-time theater owners. Originally built in 1927, the theater was the flagship movie palace of the United Artists film studio – Mary Pickford chose the site herself, and had her own private screening room built in. With restored murals and reupholstered seats, the space is once again ready to welcome art appreciators as The Theater at Ace Hotel.
The Gothic space offers 1,600 seats and will host concerts, premieres, seminars, conferences, private screenings and more in the years to come. The 2,300-square-foot theater lobby is also available for events, as is a private screening room and The Segovia, Walker and Eisen banquet rooms nearby. A calendar of events at the theater is available on the hotel website.