“…Take the two-year-old Ace Hotel, where I stayed for much of my sojourn. This boutique reincarnation of what was once the mildly dingy Clyde Hotel is in the heart of downtown, steps from major public transit stops. It was comfortable beyond what I’m accustomed to, with richly rugged wool blankets from Portland’s Pendleton Woolen Mills on the bed and crushed-pearl-and-charcoal soap-on-a-rope by the sink. And, at $75 a night, it was eminently affordable, although I had to forgo an en suite bathroom and embrace the unexpected thrill of walking down the hall — in nothing but my Adidas and my Ace hooded bathrobe — to the sparkling shared (but private) showers.
But it was the freebies that seduced me. Stacks of of-the-moment magazines — Frank, Color, Tokion, ReadyMade — lay about to read on lobby couches or take to your room. Elegant Jorg & Olif bicycles were available free to hotel guests. At the adjacent Stumptown Coffee, powerful French press brews were free Monday mornings till Tax Day. Rarely do I really like to hang around hotels, but like a cosmopolitan version of an all-inclusive Caribean resort (the kind you swear to resent but wind up in a codependent relationship with), the Ace kept me in its warm, value-added embrace longer than I thought possible.