Laid-back luxury set among thrift store finds
If the U.S. military increased its budget so barracks were designed like boutique hotels, it might look a little like the Ace Hotel in Portland. That’s not to say the Ace Hotel has at all the charm of a drab government building; quite the opposite. The Ace has a funky, surplus vibe that takes stuff you could probably find at Saigon Sam’s and turns it into something cool. Wool blankets and olive canvas upholstery cover fixtures in the rooms, where concrete and brick walls are illuminated by silver metal lamps. Some rooms don’t have their own bathroom, and bunkmates share heads down the hall.
The hotel is thrifter’s dream, filled with vintage items like an old filing cabinet on the second-story mezzanine, record players and classic records in the rooms. But the Ace can go high-end too (much like the playing card it’s named after), as its suites could pass for low-ceiling artists’ lofts. And though the decor is second-hand cool, everything still has the plush, comfortable texture one expects in a nice hotel.
If you’re coming to stay downtown, you’ll never go far
The Ace Hotel in Portland is located on the west end of downtown Portland. It’s a block off West Burnside Street — a well-known strip of live music venues, restaurants and, well, strip joints, so nightlife is easily accessible. Exploring Portland’s vibrant neighborhoods will still require driving or a rideshare, but the Ace’s central location is about as good as it gets in the Rose City.
Suites at the Ace Hotel have a view of iconic Powell’s City of Books, and if you’re down to spend the day in America’s biggest independently owned bookstore, it’s an easy stroll. You’re also here because Portland’s a stellar city to visit and you can find the best way to explore the city in our guide. Here are some things to do not far from the Ace:
- Bounce on the floor at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom. Seriously, the historic live music venue set inside the old Coalition Hall has a floor that bounces when enough people pack the place. It’s about four blocks away.
- Sample beers at Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House. Though the location on Northwest 11th Avenue isn’t the official production facility, you’ll still find stuff from Portland’s most famous brewers you won’t taste elsewhere.
- Sip coffee and explore restaurants in the Pearl District. The hotbed of repurposed warehouses and art galleries is a few minutes’ walk away. And every first Thursday the neighbrohood hosts a lively art walk.
- Cheer on one of MLS’s most celebrated teams at a Portland Timbers game at Providence Park. It’s about a 10-minute walk away.
- Hike through Forest Park. Though it’ll require a long bicycle or short car ride, this 5,200-acre swath of urban forest offers 80 miles of trails. It’s about 15 minutes away.
- Get the ultimate Portland experience at the Portland Saturday Market. It runs on Saturdays and is filled with stands from dozens of international food vendors, as well as local brewers, makers and plenty of oddball stuff straight out of “Portlandia.”
From dorms to suites, the Ace has a place for everyone
This is where the Ace Hotel starts to diverge a little from your standard boutique hotel. On the high end, its rooms are fabulous, a clever mix of vintage style and advanced luxury with stunning views of the Portland skyline. On the lower end, though, it offers everything from rooms with views of a brick wall to rooms with shared bathrooms. Which might sound a little hostel-y, since it is, but wrapped in an upscale aesthetic. That said, even the most basic rooms at the Ace are filled with character, where funny modern art lines the walls, color schemes and decor are flawless and music is almost everywhere. They offer plush bathrobes and Stumptown coffee, and exposed brick and outlets in the lamps mix old and new seamlessly. So no matter your budget, the Ace still allows you to feel like you’re staying somewhere nice.
The Ace’s rooms break down into the following categories:
- Shared single – Think of this as an upscale, artfully designed private hostel room, where your queen bed is covered in a wool blanket emblazoned with the iconic Portland elk. The platform bed is abutted by a green canvas headboard pillow, and you’ll find your shared bathroom only a short walk down the hall.
- Shared triple – Going for the summer camp nostalgia feel? The shared triple is the move, where you get three twin beds, a full wall of album art and a few shelves to store your stuff. The view is of…a wall, but if you’re staying here, it’s not to take “Good morning, Portland” selfies with your cup of coffee in front of a skyline view.
- Junior Deluxe – The smallest of the rooms with a private bathroom clocks in at 250 square feet, and comes with a vintage leather chair, record player and collection of records.
- Standard Back, Standard Front and Standard Double – These 250-square-foot rooms all offer private bathrooms, some with claw tubs. The double has two double beds and boasts a nice view of the Pearl District. The Standard Back has a view of the back, so keep your Instagram stories to the interior. Standard Front rooms are essentially the same, but with a Pearl District view.
- Superior Deluxe – These 500-square-foot rooms are the top of the line at the Ace, offering big desks, office space and plenty of seating. They come in either Back, Front or Corner categories, depending on the view you want, with big tile showers and small closets to put things away.
One might be tempted to confuse the Ace hotel with a hostel, but its amenities are what set it apart. You’ll find free Wi-Fi throughout, as well as original art on almost every wall and a common area filled with big leather couches. There’s also a full-service front desk that can help you with pretty much anything.
On the second floor you’ll find the Pantry, where a daily breakfast of baked goods from St. Honore bakery and Stumptown coffee are served. During the day, fruit and tea are readily available, and guests can use the kitchen as well.
The lobby offers guests the chance to memorialize their stay in a vintage photo booth.
If the simple in-room drip isn’t enough for coffee connoisseurs, Stumptown Coffee has a shop just off the lobby. Here, you’ll find all your iced oat milk latte cravings satisfied, alongside a lineup of fresh pastries if you slept through breakfast.
The Ace doesn’t have much in the way of parking, so your best bet is to drop your stuff at the front desk when you check in, then move it to a nearby surface lot. The Union Bank Garage at 429 Southwest Broadway is the closest one.