Room Reaction: our Standard Room was on the sixth floor facing Shoreditch High Street, which gives some noise from down below and the trains running into Liverpool Street station, but not to a point where it disturbed us. Our favorite piece of furniture was the grey designer chair, which together with a standalone round table replaced the traditional desk set up. The bed was comfortable, but a bit low to the ground. As much as we like the checkered blue bedspread, we pray these are washed after every stay. A flat-screen TV was mounted on the wall opposite the bed, next to one of three random doors/panels throughout our room. Two were locked, with the one we mistook for a closet near the entrance revealing a set of pipes and dials. There wasn’t a spec of artwork on the walls, perhaps something that is still to come.
While we liked some elements of the bathroom, we couldn’t help but shake the feeling there is some Crowne Plaza shining through here. The black table-style vanity with stool is cute enough, but provides extremely limited space for toiletries that doesn’t get wet whenever you use the sink. The bathtub had a fairly ordinary shower head, which we would have liked to have seen changed to something a bit more modern.
The plastic crate, which reminded us of the kind we kept Lego in as a kid, had a set of lovely soft white towels, but there was only one paltry hook to hang them on. As a couple, you’d be relegated to drying towels over the shower curtain rod, which is a bit of a nightmare. The toilet was crammed in behind the bathroom door, with the lid obscuring part of the flush button, surely not something that could be part of a brand new design.
Amenity Madness: toiletries come in big dispensers (shampoo, conditioner, body wash), which can be purchased – among many other things – at reception. The bar of soap must have been one of the teensiest we’ve come across in a while. We didn’t spot any body lotion.
The corner closet had a small standard minibar with drinks, with one of the crates containing the usual assortment of snacks. A number of Ace branded items (portfolio, cups) are available, with each having a list price. An excerpt of the Ace Survival Guide is pinned to the notice board, with a full copy at reception.
Internet Connect: free WiFi, ‘nuff said. An email address and room number is all that is needed to get it going and it worked throughout our stay, with sufficient speed to catch up on an episode of House of Cards.
Dining In: you can’t, at least not yet. We mentioned restaurant Hoi Polloi will open early October, and Square Mile Coffee Roasters will be downstairs too. Free breakfast was thrown in as a gesture, with a simple card you could stick to your door with a magnet and a choice of fifteen-minute windows for delivery in the morning. It arrived perfectly at the time we requested.
Location, location, Location: Shoreditch High Street puts you in the middle of the hipster-ish (though some might argue already past the point of gentrified) Shoreditch neighborhood. Shoreditch House – the eastern sibling of Soho House – is around the corner, Brick Lane is a few minutes’ walk away. There is an over ground station within two minutes and Liverpool Street station with all its connections is not far either. The popularity of the area and London in general cannot be missed; several restaurants we tried for a bite to eat had up to an hour’s wait. On a Monday. At 9pm.
What We Liked: the laid-back and enthusiastic staff and the sense of potential once all of the parts of the hotel are up and running; there is no doubt the food & beverage outlets will bring a lot of buzz to the place. The bed was comfortable and the WiFi was free and reliable, so that is two essential things taken care of.
What We Didn’t Like: the bathroom didn’t convince us entirely; we’d have liked a bit more place to put stuff, and at the very least somewhere to properly hang towels. We hope some artwork will show up in the rooms too.
Bottom Line: for an opening night, Ace Shoreditch did well. With the current ‘WELCOMEHOME’ offer at £132 ($206) on weekends available until mid-December, it offers good value if you are looking to stay in Shoreditch, and like the vintage hipster vibe. We’re interested to see where rates will start moving to later on, and will be sure to check back in once everything is in full swing to form a complete opinion.
[Photos: JasonD for HotelChatter]