Standing proud in East Liberty. A historic building sits opposite a grand church, dwarfing the 5 storey Ace Hotel Pittsburgh housed in a former 100 year old YMCA property. The architecture of the building is reflective of its era and that of the rich cultural history of Pittsburgh. Just as the former YMCA welcomed the community through its doors, so to does the latest offering from Ace Hotel in the city of Pittsburgh. A property that is as much a hotel as it is a space for locals to meet. Arriving fresh from London, the reception area, that’s also a bar and restaurant was buzzing. The polar opposite to the freezing air and snow covered ground outside. A warm welcome greeted us and check in took only a minute before we were in the lift upwards to our room. What’s immediate is that the hotel feels like an Ace Hotel. Those signature decor styles running through all instances of the architecture. The dark, yet illuminated corridors led us to our room. The scene on the other side of the door was again one of contrast. Light painted walls, a huge window framing a view of the 198 year old church opposite and a splash of colour provided by the bedspread. It’s the finer details where the Ace brand excels. Small in room items such as ‘Not Now’ fabric flags instead of soulless Do Not Disturb plastic signs. Or the analogue style radios in the rooms and branded stationary with cute little ‘Room service tips’ envelopes. All rooms have a 40” TV, bathrobes, vintage furniture, Rudy’s hair and body products. Check out the suites for Ace Hotel glamour, with a roll top bath in your room and stunning windows seats overlooking Pittsburgh. A select few rooms even offer turntables and acoustic guitars. Music lovers will feel at home here. The pet friendly stay has free wifi and a neighbouring gym provides complimentary access for all guests.
Whilst the hotel’s 63 guest rooms are a great place to be, they’re not designed to be sumptuous, self-indulgent, ‘lock yourself away’ spaces. The hotel comes to life when you’re in the public areas and mingle amongst the guests and staff. Down on the ground floor is The Gym. The Ace Hotel Pittsburgh’s main gathering and event space. A 4,500 sq.ft. triple height retro space, with a state of the art sound system. Here they host, concerts, performances, Sunday morning product markets. When we came down one morning for breakfast there was a huge wool and textile market on with vendors selling colours and textures a plenty. All amongst a space that gives a nod to the heritage of the property and neighbourhood. They even screen major league baseball games here, below the historic sports mural. Vintage benches and an analog Photobooth to snap away in make the room all that more authentic.
The restaurant, Whitfield, is run by Executive Chef Bethany Zozula, James Beard and pastry chef Casey Renee. The concept behind the menu is one that runs true through the Ace. Honour those rich and varied cultures and inspirations of the city of Pittsburgh. For dinner we had a 21 day aged 10oz tenderloin steak and a smoked chicken main. Brilliant flavours and presentation, mixed with a lively atmosphere and friendly staff are what makes this restaurant great. We can see why it’s a local favourite. There’s also some great cocktails if you’re making an evening of it. A smoking gun with scotch, bourbon and chipotle infused agave makes this a seriously tasty drink. What’s more, Whitfield is not only a smart evening restaurant. You can catch a great get up and go breakfast here too.
The Ace Hotel brand has gone from strength to strength since the initial Portland opening in 1999. The brand is known for utilising an area’s local culture to its advantage. The area of East Liberty in Pittsburgh began life as pasture land near the banks of the Allegheny River. In recent times, Andy Warhol was born close by and the area is enjoying a resurgence after the post-industrial slump years that the city survived. The hotel now reflects what’s happening citywide and the city centre is within easy access. A short Uber ride away and you can be in downtown. It’s here that Uber is also testing their self drive cars. Pittsburgh really is a hot on the moment city right now. A hot spot for innovation, collaboration and exciting ideas. The hotel is a lively place and rarely do you stay somewhere that feels so ingrained to the culture of the city. It’s a perfect match.
Ace Hotel Pittsburgh
120 S. Whitfield Street