How the Ace Hotel Creates Its Products
A look at the Ace Hotel's collaborations with local designers and makers
From the robes to the key fobs to the wallpaper, every detail of an Ace Hotel is considered—really considered. And as the first Ace in Seattle has spawned similarly neighborhood-catalyzing venues in Portland’s West End, Manhattan’s Midtown, and Palm Springs (and next, downtown Los Angeles), some of the accoutrements inside have also taken on an existence outside the hotel, courtesy of the chain’s avid patronage of local designers, artists, and makers.
Ace now employs a full-time product manager to expand and market its collection of bags, clothing, and handmade trinkets, many designed and produced by Portland companies but sold online in more than 30 countries. The fastest-growing market? Japan.
“We’re about process,” says Ace cofounder Alex Calderwood about the products—many of which have very little or no hotel branding. “We enjoy the making and let the selling do itself.”
Some recent collaborations:
Local leather masters Tanner Goods designed this classic bifold wallet. The handsewn billfold (available this fall) is made from domestic English bridle leather and is designed to look better the longer it stays in your pocket.
Janet Jay of Studio J makes this travel set of four “luxury” soaps for Ace online and retail shops out of crushed pearls, charcoal powder, and a blend of natural oils. The soaps (dark for detoxifying, light for moisturizing) come in a custom cedar box.
Local bike maker Jordan Hufnagel built four of these sturdy but couture-worthy city cycles for close-range jaunts. “This kind of bike is my specialty,” says Hufnagel. “The project was an easy fit. It was fun.” (Guests at Portland’s Ace Hotel can rent one for $20 a day.)
Southeast fashion salon Portland Garment Factory (a longtime Ace collaborator on everything from pool totes to shower curtains) originally made this garment bag for legendary Brooklyn haberdasher Martin Greenfield.