During World War II, the Shoreditch neighborhood in London attracted a wealth of immigrants fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany. Many of them set up small businesses catering to different trades, and the area became a busy industrial hub until the 1970s when the area was wracked by recession during the dawning of globalization.
Marking approximately the gateway into London’s East End, Shoreditch fell into neglect and remained mostly abandoned for decades. Eventually, artists and other creative types started moving in, and today, Shoreditch is the hippest and most happening place in England’s capital.
It’s also become the hub of London’s newly minted Tech City initiative, including Google’s Campus London, bringing together the city’s many co-working spaces, tech accelerators and high-tech industries.
There have never really been any exciting hotels in Shoreditch, but that all changed in September last year with the opening of the 258-room Ace Hotel London Shoreditch. For anyone unfamiliar with the U.S.-based Ace Hotel chain, it is arguably the most trend-setting hospitality brand Stateside since the first property opened in Seattle in 1999.
Last year, Ace Hotel expanded internationally for the first time to London and Panama.
Ace Shoreditch will be unveiling a new penthouse facility and roof bar this summer dedicated entirely to meetings and special events. We did a hard hat tour last week, and if Prevue was going to host a meeting in London anytime soon, this is where we would book in a heartbeat.
Surprisingly, the new hotel does about 30% group.
“We’re getting a lot of group business because Shoreditch has become such a hotbed for tech, arts, design, fashion and other creative industries,” says Olivia Ross, director of sales/marketing at Ace Hotel London Shoreditch.
The top floor is divided into one ballroom, two meeting rooms, a boardroom and a living room lounge indoors, connecting to a small outdoor rooftop bar and terrace running the length of the building. The views are magnificent stretching across the rooftops clear to the financial district.
Also for groups, there’s a 250-pax nightclub in the basement with a private street entrance available for event buyouts.
Part of the Ace Hotel brand mission is to work with as many local suppliers as possible. And when they say local, they don’t mean the city; they’re referring to the immediate community.
The hotel was previously a Crowne Plaza before undergoing a complete renovation down to the studs, and everything from the windows to the lobby bar were created by area shops and artisans. On the lobby level, the floral shop, juice shop and coffee shop are all run by small business owners with previous or existing operations nearby.
The same goes for the guest rooms, starting at 275 square feet, which is considerable for London. Each wall is painted with individual artwork or graphics from a local artist. Likewise, the minibar food and beverage, soaps and assorted bath goodies, and various room accoutrements like a leather coin holder are all unique, artisanal and locally sourced.
A visit to Shoreditch is a must for any meeting planner or attendee with an interest in next generation urban living and the creative/tech arts.
“It’s just so much fun, and we’ve have a lot of feedback from meeting planners who say they’re looking for something fresh and cool, and that definitely sums up Shoreditch,” says Ross.
Stay tuned for followup stories highlighting the Shoreditch phenomenon beyond Ace Hotel.