I saw a mention of the Ace Hotel in an email from Wallpaper Magazine and went looking for images to get a better look. I remembered seeing pictures when the NYC hotel opened but wanted to take a look at all 4 hotels. The designs are all different and slightly sparse but one thing is for sure, all are a departure from what you might expect from a hotel. All of the hotels are located in renovated buildings, not new construction, and their former incarnations are places like a flop-house and a former hotel.
The Ace Hotel in Manhattan is the first I will take a look at as it is the most recent one to open in May 2009. It was designed by the New York firm Roman and Williams, and is stuffed with all sorts of antiques and vintage objects that lend it a turn-of-the-century feel. There are stuffed animals in glass cages and you sort of expect to see a cabinet of curiosities in the lobby.
I really like the graphics and artwork like the giant A over the stairwell and the walls covered with graffiti and pages from books.
The rooms are a bit spare compared to the lobby but there is a wide variety of rooms. If you want to go cheap you can stay in the 'cheap' room or one with bunk beds. If you want to do it up, there is an 825 sq. ft. studio with wood floors. I love the idea of wood floors in a hotel. Somehow it just seems cleaner and fancier than carpet.
Although the photos I have access to don't show, the rooms also have some fantastic original artwork.