I’ve stayed in cool hotels in my time. One had special sex packs in the mini-bar, complete with condoms and lube. Another, in Berlin, boasted a round bed perched up a ladder. Then there was the luxury wooden tent on a Malawi island, which could only be reached by canoe. But of all the amazing hotels I’ve visited, Ace Hotel London, deep in the heart of Shoreditch, is undoubtedly the most hipster.
So what's the recipe for the perfect hipster hotel? Well, for starters you need exposed piping, reclaimed wood, lots of metal and wall art. In Ace’s lobby you’ll find shiny prints of oversized food, (with – of course – googly eyes, a hipster addition a lesser hip-hotel would have failed to include). In my bedroom, the stencilled (yep; full hipster points) words read: 'All's Well End's Well' (unsure if the errant apostrophe is hipster or simply bad grammar), metal shelves hold enamel mugs and exposed piping runs across the ceiling to the all-important pendant light.
Next, it’s important to have lots of grey everywhere. My Ace London bedroom has grey carpets, a comfy grey sofa with views of the Gherkin, and grey chairs. The only colour more hipster than grey is mustard and - look! Mustard cushions on the sofa. There's even grey on the quilt (quilt!), and although there's also a veering-on-cheery blue, the colours are arranged in an asymmetric geometric pattern, so that's definitely OK. More grey can be found in the lobby shelves, polished concrete (obvs) walls, and the bathroom tiles.
The hipster hotel lobby needs to be open-plan, with free wifi, oversized sofas for sipping your artisan flat white and a workspace to fire up your computer (only MacBooks allowed - if you have another type of laptop you will politely be asked to leave; try the Hilton down the road). The reception needs to be staffed by cool young things with asymmetric haircuts and tattoos; the Ace does this of course, but the reason they take this to the next hipster level is that these staff are actually friendly and helpful. Fake hipster is surly, rude and trying too hard to be cool. These dudes are the real deal - they're comfortable in their coolness so they can afford to have a nice chat.
A hotel can still be considered hipster without a shop in its reception selling cool clothing and accessories, but the Ace scores extra points for its on-point retail. My favourite item was the grey bathrobe that hangs in every bedroom. The hotel has partnered up with cool Canadian clothes brand Wings + Horns (hipster side note: the ampersand is SO last year - it's all about the + now) to create these custom robes, which are a cross between an old-style boxing robe and the modern hooded sweatshirt. I wanted one REALLY BADLY but in order to get the Pink House Husband to agree to my girl's Ibiza weekend this summer I had to promise not to buy any clothes until August. Let's see how long THAT lasts...has anyone seen the latest Bella Freud jumpers by the way...?
Bathroom next. Generally, a metro tile would suffice for entry onto the hipster hotel register. But of course, Ace is ahead of the tile game too. And that game is strong: Back-to-basics square white tiles, with the all-important grey grouting on one wall, and large grey tiles on another. Then there's the bath products, and this is where the hipster starts to get out of control: these products, with their stencil-style numbers, pictured, are by Rudy's Barbershop, a brand so cool that in 2014 they went on a road trip in a 1968 Airstream caravan turned mobile barber shop down the West Coast of America, offering free haircuts as they went. Tie me a top-knot and call me Cleo.
Finally, there are the little details, crucial to ensuring a hotel is a good beard's breadth away from non-hipster. The Ace, obviously, does hipster detail like Taylor Swift does legs: extensively. Here's an edited - sorry, curated - selection: the Pot Noodle in the mini bar. The industrial metal storage shelves. The so-cool-I've-never-heard-of-them design mags on my table (note additional use of '+' in Root + Bone magazine). The pockets in the headboard of my bed, ideal for stashing the remote. The carefully chosen book, complete with beautiful cover (mine was "the Woman in White' by Wilkie Collins). I could go on, but that wouldn't be cool.
So as you can see, Ace London has all the ingredients required for the most organic, gluten-free, kale-and-quinoa vegan brownie of a hipster hotel you could possibly hope for. And the best bit? It tastes REALLY good.