Last night I settled in to watch the eagerly anticipated No Reservations Holiday Special (one of the best episodes I have ever seen, by the way), when something struck me as familiar. I had been to the hotel where Tony had been exiled. Not only that, I had been to that very room, just about six hours earlier.

Tony was staying at New York’s Ace Hotel on W 29th Street between 5th Avenue and Broadway. I had been there earlier yesterday afternoon doing a property tour as part of a Downtown NYC story I’m working on. In fact, Tony’s room, #911, is the very room they showed me. If I had known then that Anthony Bourdain had slept in that bed, I probably wouldn’t be here right now to tell you about it (jail time for lewd behavior?). Anyway…

The Ace Hotel is hands-down one of the coolest hotels I have seen in New York. In a city of hotel rooms that are in dire need of renovating and ample space, it is refreshing to see a hip and trendy hotel that is close enough to both the Uptown creature comforts of NYC, but also the edgier Downtown scene.

The hotel has 260 rooms and 65 room layouts, so it really is like you are getting a different experience each time you stay here (unless you are a creature of habit and always opt for the same room. I don’t judge). The purpose of the hotel is to look like your friend’s apartment, with a 1975-meets-21st century feel. I absolutely loved the turntables and acoustic guitars in the rooms, along with the fully stocked SMEG refrigerators.

The building was built in 1904 and is accented with vintage furniture. One of the most inviting aspects of the hotel is the lobby, which is supposed to have a ‘living room-type atmopshere.’ Look up to check out the restored stained glass ceiling panels, which are originals from 1904. The mosaic tiling on the floor is original, as well. The lobby chandeliers and the front doors of the hotel come from the original Macy’s on 34th street. Talk about a sense of place.

There are two restaurants at the hotel – The Breslin and the John Dory Oyster Bar, both headed by executive chef April Bloomfield. I have yet to try either but I see getting on ‘the list’ at one of the two in someone’s Christmas stocking in the future. Note: Neither restaurant accepts reservations, but if you are guest you can get on ‘the list.’

The gym was small, to say the least, but stocked with high-end equipment, and I was told that the original building had a bare-knuckle boxing ring in the basement, so that’s a pretty sweet slice of NYC history.

Bottom line: If the hotel is good enough for Anthony Bourdain, it’s good enough for me, but I was a big fan of the property before I knew that His Snarkiness had given his seal of approval.

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