Out of Office Message: Portland, OR

1210001665Currently in “the other Portland” for the wedding of my friend Emily, with whom I worked at my first job after college, in the long ago days before magazine assistantships in New York were something you won on a reality show. We’re staying at the Ace Hotel, a 79-room mecca of all things salvaged, repurposed, and reworked, located in a part of town once called “Vaseline Alley” for its concentration of gay bars. Vaseline Alley is now part of the hipstery Pearl District, a descriptor supported by the fact that within a single block, you can do all of the following: catch an indie film, pay $18 for a glass of wine, buy a pound of t-shirts for $5, and eat a knish.

The second of a small chain (the first Ace sprung up in Seattle a few years ago; New York and Palm Springs locations are coming soon), the Ace Portland is a former homeless shelter/residence hotel dating back to 1912, and many of the original details remain, like claw-foot bathtubs and doorknobs.

Its environmental footprint is small, which has allowed the hotel to charge really reasonable rates (rooms here start at $95 a night). Headboards, couches, and some walls are upholstered in old army surplus; sidetables are fashioned from piles of secondhand books; empty paint cans serve as trash bins. The Kleenex box is kept warm in its own handknitted cozy, and while I’m not sure that’s actually green, it’s pretty charming.

1022 SW Stark, Portland, OR, 503-228-2277, acehotel.com. Rooms from $95.