Ace Hotel Poised To Revive the Downtown LA Neighborhood


A rousing revival has been underway for Downtown Los Angeles. Celebrated openings of restaurants, shops and live/work lofts bring forth the promise of a walking neighborhood — a once unheard of possibility for DTLA.  

Built in 1927 as a project of pioneer independent artists, the ornate United Artists building towers over Downtown Los Angeles.

Fashionably late (or perhaps, right on time) to the party is the newest Ace Hotel, which officially opened its doors on January 6. Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles stands 13 stories tall on 929 S Broadway, a location history buffs may associate with the United Artists Theatre. Rather than completely remove the Spanish Gothic-inspired building, however, Ace opted to take advantage of the famed Historic Core address, as well as the former cinema’s finely aged charm.

(Left) Broadway street has also recently welcomed design-oriented retailers, such as Acne Studios, Aesop and Tanner Goods. (Right) A pattern of black and white tiles dance their way around the reclaimed wood reception desk.

To define and execute the regeneration project, Ace’s in-house design team Ace Atelier partnered with LA firm Commune Design. The latter brandishes an impressive portfolio: sister establishment Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs, Heath Ceramics in San Francisco, among other commercial and residential works. Ace Atelier and Commune Design decided on an “interpretative” approach to the restoration, referencing trends and techniques popular during the neighborhood’s Golden Age. A much-needed facelift included the installation of a wood storefront and stained glass windows by Judson Studios. They also stripped and cleaned the terracotta and plasterwork exterior of the late 1920s building, before restoring its iron grillwork.

The on-trend guest rooms offer clean and contemporary design.

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles is beautiful on the inside, too. From Viennese cafes and Mission-style churches to Parisian modernism, Piet Mondrian and Rudolf Schindler’s residence in West Hollywood, it sings a well-rounded symphony of architectural and design influences. Stripping the building down to its concrete core makes for an almost-clean slate, while allowing original ceilings and columns to shine. First to greet visitors are a reclaimed wood lobby reception desk (found in the building’s old offices) and large hand-drawn murals of hieroglyphics — both the handiwork of LA designers Simon and Nikolai Haas.

Guest suites feature unlacquered brass fixtures, furniture made of dark grey-tinted Medium Density Fiberboard and numerous extra goodies.

Once you tear yourself away from guest room niceties such as Pendleton blankets and Noguchi lamps, make your way to the rooftop for the Upstairs Bar. The indoor/outdoor lounge with a concrete pool gathers inspiration from community pillars, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House and the now-closed Les Deux Cafe in Hollywood. Reclaimed theatrical lights (found in the theatre), vintage steel chains and barn hardware illuminate the area, assisted by a nearby fireplace and ceramic lanterns. If hungry for more than just small plates, head down to the LA Chapter brasserie for locally sourced eats, an all-vinyl music program and a welcome, communal space.

LA Chapter is the joint effort of Ace and restauranter Jud Mongell, owner of Five Leaves in Brooklyn.

Ace Atelier and Commune Design couldn’t ignore the building’s primary heart and soul: to assemble visitors to appreciate and enjoy the arts. Working to preserve this inherent purpose, the designers restored the original murals, plasterwork and seats of the Spanish Gothic style theatre. They added a Deco-inspired ticket booth in the facade, along with a carpet that faintly imitates the original ceiling of the mezzanine. 

Ace Atelier and Commune Design protected the integrity of the original theatre, maintaining the rich murals, vaulted ceilings and lush open balcony.

Experience true Downtown Los Angeles culture with a vacation or staycation at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles. We’ll be at the rooftop bar, sipping on the house special and admiring that stunning concrete jungle view. Book your reservation here. 929 S Broadway, Los Angeles.

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