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STAYCATION REVIEW Ace Hotel Chicago West Loop Hotel, modern AND retro
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.

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Ace Hotel Chicago ( 311 N. Morgan St.; ), the West Loop, just opened last year. There's has been quite a bit of hype surrounding the hotel—but is it worth your hard-earned bucks? Windy City Times breaks it down.

—Location: Some may be hesitant to stay in a hotel that's not next to the Mag Mile—but it's actually a great spot. Ace Hotel Chicago ( Ace ) is mere steps from the trendiest restaurant row in the entire city—and is also very close to the Blue Line, which takes people into the Loop in a couple minutes ( and you don't hear the trains when you're trying to sleep ). Of course, there are taxis and rideshare services available as well.

—Feel/atmosphere: Staying in Ace had me coining a new term: "techno-hipster." The hotel is in a mostly industrial concrete and glass building, with an interior that has some very contemporary elements—but there are also some retro aspects, especially in the rooms.

The friendly front-desk clerk definitely added to the hipster aspect, wearing a T-shirt and rumpled flannel shirt over it.

Rooms ( starting at approximately $140/night ) simultaneously have a contemporary and vintage feel. I stayed in a loft, and the furniture incorporated contemporary and even Art Deco elements, even with a bathroom light that automatically turns on and shower lights that are timed. ( I wanted to take the sofa, by the way. ) However, there's also a turntable ( slowly coming back into vogue, I know ) that guests can use—and there are also vinyl albums ( Diana Ross' greatest hits ) that people can play ( and, again, buy ).

Views are not necessarily the best in the rooms (at least, in mine—although there are apparently rooms offer skyline views). The hotel is across the street from Google headquarters ( and you'll likely see those employees in the hotel lobby throughout the day ), and looking into office windows may not be your thing. However, going up to Waydown ( the seventh-floor bar/event space ) significantly improves things, with some of the most remarkable views of the city I've seen in quite some time.

—Amenities: The workout room, located in the lower level, is pretty large, and definitely has enough equipment to provide a thorough workout.

Regarding food, Ace has more than enough to satisfy. On the first floor are Stumptown Coffee ( open 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m. ) as well as City Mouse—a fantastic restaurant headed by Chef Pat Sheerin that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. ( The burger is simply wonderful, as are several other dishes. ) Also, there's room service available at 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. every day.

And there's also the Waydown, which hosts events such as the weekly Penthouse Party, in which trans fashion sensation Imp Queen hosts showings of RuPaul's Drag Race.

By the way, wi-fi is free. However, there are many things to buy, ranging from the previously mentioned vinyl records to the very chic robes ( $169 ).

—Bottom line: I found the Ace to be very .... fun! To some, the location may seem isolating—but it's actually very close to a lot of entertainment and the Loop. Plus, depending on the night, you can check out cool events in the Ace itself.

The Ace has a lot to offer.

Note: This hotel visit was based on an arranged invitation.

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