Variations on a Theme Park: Ace Hotel Los Angeles
After a recent stay at the Ace Hotel Los Angeles, I couldn’t help but think of the experience as oddly theme park-like : isolated, immersive, beguiling.
Located in a relatively barren spot of Downtown LA the Ace stands as a singular attraction, a stylish one stop shop for dining, drinking, and sleeping (though I only participated in the last two). From first arrival at curbside, the experience of visiting the Ace is considered and enveloping. From the concierge desk, to the street level restaurant and café, to the cozy guest rooms, to the admittedly impressive rooftop bar, pool, and lounge, every space that you experience as a guest is designed (you could say to within an inch of its life), and gives the short stay visitor little reason to venture outside.
In contrast to the traditional theme park that transports the visitor to distant places, real or imagined, the Ace is well rooted in Los Angeles, and transports the visitor to other eras and experiences. From the historic theater Marquis and Spanish Gothic exterior, to the Hollywood Noir corridors, to the industrial chic wire-glass windows, to the rooftop bar that fuses the patterned concrete blocks of Frank Lloyd Wright’s nearby Ennis House with artfully arranged stage set lighting, the syncretic narrative leads the visitor on an abbreviated tour of the history of Los Angeles.
At the same time authentic and inauthentic, the effect falls somewhere between amusing and suspicious, but all expertly executed and with an incredible attention to detail. Laid bare, a visit to the Ace Hotel in LA is an experience; memorable, entertaining, and synthetic, with comfy beds, good coffee, and great views.