E1 6JQ Travel Guide
We're still not over the shocking news of Alex Calderwood's sudden death last week. And judging from the emails we've received and the tweets we've seen, people who knew Alex personally are still in utter shock as well.
While details of his death have not been released, the Daily Beast did find out that Calderwood passed away in a hotel room at the just-opened Ace London Shoreditch last Thursday afternoon. By the time The Daily Beast arrived at the hotel on Sunday, they could hardly find anything amiss in the lobby and restaurant. However, employees at the hotel were shaken.
But behind the game faces, the staff had, however, clearly been rattled by the events of recent days, which came to a dramatic head when an ambulance, preceded by a paramedic on a bike, arrived at the hotel at 2:30pm on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the body of Calderwood was discovered.
Calderwood was pronounced dead on the scene. The police said his death was not suspicious but would not give any further details until a post-mortem was carried out this week. Calderwood has publicly mentioned his struggles with alcoholism but it's not clear if that played any role in his death.
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Does the first international venture of Ace Hotels deliver? A HotelChatter Review
We didn’t waste any time waiting to check out what Ace Hotels was cooking up in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood, showing up earlier this week on the very first day guests were allowed through its doors. Over four years after Ace New York made its debut, how did its British – and first international - sibling stack up? Read on to find out.
Check-In: we walked to the hotel from Liverpool Street Station, which is an easy ten-minute stroll. Part of the façade is still covered by scaffolding, but most has come out from underneath, showing the basics of what was there before, with key changes being a darker coat of paint and alterations to the ground and top floors.
A number of guests were being checked in by the enthusiastic staff, who seemed psyched to finally have real-life customers coming through the door. We liked the laid-back attitude, which included being addressed by our first name. Each of the guests on the first night received a voucher for another night’s stay once all the hotel’s facilities are fully operational; we’re not sure how long that will continue for, but it’s a nice touch.
Rarely do we stumble upon the announcement of a new hotel and check in for opening night less than two months later, but that’s exactly what Ace Hotels pulled off in London. It was June we first spotted the planned revival of the ‘aesthetically-challenged’ Crowne Plaza on Shoreditch High Street, and today, September 9, we were handed the keys to our very own Ace Shoreditch hotel room.
In fact, we’re writing this from the very bed you see in the above shot of our entry-level Standard room, courtesy of free WiFi that so far has proven easy to connect to and dependable.
Having learned that Ace Hotels would be opening not just a London hotel, but doing so already this September, we had to wander over to the city’s eastern Shoreditch neigborhood for a first look at how an – in their words – ‘aesthetically-challenged’ Crowne Plaza would become a worthy venue for the group’s first international venture.
A true judgement will have to wait of course until we see the finished product, but like it’s Facebook page indicated a few weeks ago, the hotel has virtually disappeared behind extensive scaffolding as part of its makeover. Guests were coming in and out of the hotel’s heavily boarded-up entrance, so the Crowne Plaza is still in operation. Inside, there are currently 264 guestrooms, which is a lot of square footage to re-do for an unveiling two months from now. Downstairs will be a Square Mile Coffee Roasters and That Flower Shop, and a restaurant is in the works.
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Yesterday, when we found out that Ace Hotels would be opening next in London we guesstimated it would be about a year before Ace worked its hipster hotel magic on the existing Crowne Plaza Hotel which Ace referred to as " inherently aesthetically-challenged". But according to the New York Time's T Magazine, the Ace Shoreditch London will actually open in September. Yes, this September! And already, the hotel is swathed in huge amounts of scaffolding so work is indeed underway.
We also learned a little bit more about what will be inside like a restaurant and bar from David Waddington and Pablo Flack who already run Bistrotheque in town (and according to Ace's hotelier Alex Calderwood, "Made Shoreditch what it is", while Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby of Universal Design Studio are doing the facade and interiors. Guestrooms will sport "British-made Revo radios and Rega turntables" while downstairs in the lobby, it won't be Stumptown Coffee but rather London's own Square Mile Coffee Roasters as well as That Flower Shop.
No word yet on room rates but this is Ace, not Bulgari or even Edition, so we suspect them to be fairly affordable. We'll keep you posted of course as soon as we find out!
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Ace Hotels opening in one of our favorite cities, London!
We stumbled upon this news yesterday as we were hunting down more info on their Los Angeles property, opening in the fall. The Ace's Facebook page posted picture of construction but not much else. Yet a link in the comments sent us to a jobs opening site for "London Shoreditch." Was this for an actual Ace Hotel or for some sort of Ace-related pop-up experience, we wondered? We got our answer almost immediately when we went to the Ace home page and saw a link for London.
The hotel is going up at 100 Shoreditch High Street, which is currently home to a Crowne Plaza. Now, that sounds very un-Acey as they usually choose older buildings for their hotels. But Ace is aware of this challenge and is going to do its best to give the site an Ace makeover. Here's what Ace Shoreditch has to say about the property:
The property location is adjacent to many of London's edgiest nightclubs, but don't think that means that the Saint Gregory is hipper than thou. This place is down to earth, all about value, and according to Daniel at the IHT that is just "fine by me" for him. Daniel compares the Saint Gregory to a Days Inn, and it still comes off sounding like a place you want to check out.
On the outside, the new hotel looks every bit a part of the Days Inn chain of moderately priced hotels in the United States, except for its flamboyant sign. On the inside, the truth becomes clear: The 196-room Saint Gregory is in fact emulating a Days Inn.
The rooms just offer the basics, but again think value, cash saved, and location with this property.
A calming display of pale beige tile, green frosted glass, glistening chrome and a generous tub won the top bathroom prize. The king bed had extra-soft sheets, the closet had a trouser press, and the basement gym had modern machines and two televisions. So what if staff members came twice to open my door despite its being double-locked with a "Do Not Disturb" sign?
Daniel, you mean to say these staff Houdini's at the Saint Gregory got through a double bolted lock? Wow. One question and a statement.
What were you doing in your room that you needed to double bolt your door and hang up a do not disturb sign?
If the staff busted in on you twice, and you still enjoyed your stay, that says something positive about the property.