Following the cool crowd is not the only thing that matters in choosing a hotel, of course. But just in case you want to know where they’re staying, we’ve rounded up a “hipster’s dozen” — if you have to ask how many that is, then you wouldn’t understand anyway — of our most sociable, most youth-oriented, most style-conscious hotels.
New York to LA, London to Panama — This category of hotels is exactly what the Ace hotels are all about, and each one of them is a worthy example in its home city. So we grouped them all together, to make room for the rest. If you’re in a mood to sacrifice a little bit of luxury and gain an awful lot of buzz, then you could do a whole lot worse. For now the empire extends to New York, London, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Portland, and the original in Seattle — as well as the saucy Latin American cousin, the American Trade Hotel in Panama.
New York, New York — The minds behind the Marlton brought New York several of its other perennial hot spots, but somehow with this one they got the alchemy just right. In this slightly sleepy corner of Greenwich Village you’ll find the high-fashion crowd crammed into Margaux, the restaurant, on just about any night of the week.
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Portland, Oregon — It’s one thing to style yourself a rock-and-roll hotel, with a bit of album art on the walls. The Jupiter skips the trappings and goes straight for the main event — the hotel’s Doug Fir Lounge has played host to just about every band that matters in the indie music world, for well over a decade, and there’s a fair chance you’ll see the artists themselves at (late) breakfast.
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Austin, Texas — This is actually two hotels for the price of one. The swankier, more spacious Saint Cecilia is our pick, all things being equal, for the turntables in the suites, that picturesque swimming pool, and the delightful garden bar in the shade of a massive live oak. But the Hotel San Jose, Saint Cecilia’s spunky little sister, is a short walk away, and it’s no less down for a party.
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Venice, California — In Los Angeles everything depends on the people you surround yourself with, but this place, a true labor of love by a pair of Venice-based photographers, attracts a crowd that prizes character over luxury. Which, if you’ve bothered reading this far, means they’re probably your tribe.
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Paris, France — Parisian restaurateur Guillaume Rouget-Luchaire surrounds himself with creative talent — and he made the Hôtel Edgar a collaborative affair, enlisting from among his friends and family artists, fashion designers, photographers, film directors, and assorted other creative types to create the hotel’s multifarious spaces. Needless to say, it draws a similarly vibrant crowd.
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Amsterdam, Netherlands — The name Volkshotel connotes down-to-earth accessibility, and there’s no off-putting formality here — especially after dark, when this budget-friendly Amsterdam boutique transforms into a bona fide rollicking nightspot, open to punk-rockers and stockbrokers alike.
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Berlin, Germany — Time and again we’ve seen stylish hotels pitch themselves to the creative class, and then price themselves too high for their intended audience to afford. It’s even more important in Berlin — a town whose much-vaunted hipness has everything to do with its relatively modest cost of living — that the hip hotels make allowances for guests with more taste than cash.
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Miami, Florida — Whether Freehand Miami is a luxury hostel or a back-to-basics boutique hotel is a mere semantic distraction. Though it’s surrounded by stratospherically luxurious South Beach hotels, Freehand is in most anyone’s league when it comes to funky style and fun atmosphere, and at a fraction of the price.
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Toronto, Ontario — The Drake’s neighborhood is perfectly located for anyone interested in Toronto’s art scene, and everything that goes along with it — it isn’t overstating the case to compare Parkdale and Queen Street West to districts like Shoreditch or Williamsburg, and the down-to-earth Drake is perfectly tailored to its surroundings.
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Providence, Rhode Island — We’ve heard rumors to the effect that Providence, Rhode Island is the new Portland — weirdly, it’s the one in Oregon they’re talking about, which must be awkward for Maine — and you could hardly ask for a better illustration than the Dean Hotel, a fifty-two room boutique hotel in the Downcity district.
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