The Most Deceptive Hotel Room Description I’ve Seen

I needed to be in downtown LA last night, and hotel options were quite limited. Everything was pretty booked up, so I was going to pay quite a bit no matter where I stayed. After much consideration I decided to book the Ace Hotel. As much as I love collecting points at the major chain hotels, sometimes it’s fun to try something new and stay at an independent property.

Friends have raved about the Ace Hotel, or at least the rooftop bar.

Ace-Rooftop

I ended up booking a “Loft,” which is described on the website as follows:

Our spacious Loft rooms offer a king bed, private kitchenette, and fully-stocked minibar, in addition to a flat screen television and custom Revo Radio. Some rooms include an acoustic Martin Guitar and/or an Ace x Rega LP1 turntable with a curated selection of vinyls from our friends at Amoeba Music. All of our rooms come with free internet, Rudy’s toiletries and Pearl+ soaps.

Sample room images. Does not represent all rooms.

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Here are the pictures of the Loft on the Ace Hotel’s website:

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Ace-Hotel-2

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I saw the disclaimer about those just being sample room pictures, so I realized my room might not look exactly like that.

The check-in experience was interesting — it reminded me a bit of this skit from “Inside Amy Schumer:”

The associate said “oh you’re booked in a Loft, it’s such a cool room. I really think you’ll like it.” I was excited!

I headed up to my room, and the below is what I found, which can best be described as a spacious cave.

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While the room was huge, the only natural light were the two small windows at one end of the room.

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And here’s the view from those two windows:

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Not only was there very little natural light, but there also weren’t many lighting fixtures.

Furthermore, the bed was a queen size bed, and not a king size bed. Not that it really matters, but don’t advertise a room type as having a certain type of bed when that’s not the case.

Beyond that, the room smelled nauseating. The smell could best be described as a combination of mildew and puke.

I sort of just stood in that room for five minutes in disbelief. Between the smell, the fact that it was a completely dark cave, and that it had non-existent views, I was actually borderline offended at the false advertising going on here. I understand the pictures on the website are only a sample, but their online advertising is bordering on catfishing, if you ask me.

I FaceTimed Tiffany to give her a room tour and make sure I wasn’t going crazy. She confirmed I wasn’t (at least not regarding this!).

So then I went back down to the front desk. I’m a firm believer in always being friendly to front office associates (or people in general, for that matter), and rarely do I complain. I went with “maybe there was some confusion on my end, but I booked a Loft, and what I was assigned looks absolutely nothing like the pictures on the website. Do you have something else available instead, maybe?” The associate apologized and quickly assigned me a different room.

The new room was slightly smaller but much nicer.

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The views from the new room were still a huge improvement over the ones from the previous room. 😉

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While I love the idea behind this hotel, there’s just too much of an emphasis on style over substance, in my opinion. I’d rather stay at the Westin or Sheraton down the street.

I’m curious to hear what you guys think — for hotels with unique rooms within a category, how much variance in room quality is acceptable? Would anyone be happy having booked a Loft (which is one of their top room categories) and receiving the room I was originally assigned?

Comments

  1. I never understand how if room 2 was available (which is obviously was), why they ever offered you room 1? Do hotels think they’ll just shove people in bad rooms first unless they complain?

  2. This is what happens when the hotel doesn’t know who you are.

    Welcome to the real world, Ben 🙂

  3. Yeah, it seems like they were trying to get away with something. Like you’re not going to complain they stuck you in an airless room that smelled of mildew? That’s just weird.

  4. Once one reads that it includes an “acoustic guitar and/or turntable with “curated selection of vinyl” you should run. Their pretentiousness knows no bounds and you will very like get little substance.

  5. It looks like a home basement where you put all the old furniture that you don’t need upstairs anymore because you just bought new one.

    Not my kind of hotel!

  6. Holy **** that’s bad. The theatre is gorgeous, so it surprises me that the hotel is so…fascinatingly designed.

    If you have to stay downtown, I recommend the Westin Bonaventure. Otherwise, I recommend renting a car and staying basically anywhere else in the city! And I say that as a recent USC grad who spent a ton of time downtown for four years.

  7. The second room you are in is far superior to the first. The first just looked terrible.
    I checked the rate for this hotel for this Friday night 31st July to the 1st August.

    $439 for 1 night….that is a shocking price to pay for this place.

    If the hotel wanted good reviews maybe they should sell that first room last and only when that is all they have left.
    Maybe that’s why the room smelled , maybe its hardly used.

  8. Yep, I agree with you. I wouldn`t be happy at all in the first room. I still think the furnitures and style in the room is too hippie for me. Really, everybody likes some kind of luxury and high end. Even the hippies.

  9. Those rooms aren’t even finished! They would be like the website pictures if they had put walls and ceilings up. Sheesh…

  10. Maybe it’s just me but the first room looks exactly like the model room, excepting the photoshopped lighting. Their interiors are just dank and industrial but have been brought to life by good photography. I bet someone could turn Ben’s pics into instagram gems in seconds.

  11. That’s surprising. I’ve stayed multiple times at the Ace Hotel Shoreditch (London) and it was actually quite good. They are ultra-hipster/trendy, with live music in the basement every night and the lounge-style lobby (lounge chairs, long table with outlets for work, cafe, etc.). They did, in fact, have a Martin guitar, turntable, and some decent vinyl in the room on my first visit. I had to request a guitar for the other times (and yes, I actually play).

    The biggest downside to the property, imo, was the noise. The Shoreditch area has a lot of clubs/pubs/nightlife, so it was pretty noisy well into the night. Not great when trying to get over the jetlag.

  12. Honestly even the first room seems huge and perfectly fine. You probably have gotten used to staying at $500/night properties too much, but the vast vast vast majority of this world lives in worse conditions that this and you complaining about this just comes across as being a whiny brat.

  13. @ Heather,

    The first room also has unfinished cement everywhere, including the ceiling. The pictures also showed a very bright corner room (which was undoubtedly retouched to look even brighter). The bathroom also appears NOTHING like the one in the stock photos. All in all, the little disclaimer that the pictures are representative but not exactly like the real things, are misleading at best, an outright lie at worst.

  14. Well, your photos of a room I might get means they’ve just lost a potential customer. Nice. Lots of other options in LA, fortunately.

  15. Yeesh…had a similar experience in South Beach with a “boutique” hotel (I won’t mention the name, as it was many years ago and they may have changed the rooms since then.) The website showed a chic, well-lit and comfortable room, while the reality was a decent bed and the rest of the room decked out in plastic poolside furniture – the motif was supposed to be “beach”, but not “beach furnished by WalMart”.

    If the first room (a) was much better lit, and (b) didn’t stink, it wouldn’t have been that bad – that “industrial” style isn’t my cuppa, but some people might like it.

  16. Wow, the first hotel room is awful and not even industrial-chic. Don’t like the second room either. Guess no Ace hotel for me even if it were half the price.

  17. Ok, Lopere, you’re redeemed yourself — that was pretty funny.

    No one ever knows who I am. Especially in big-city hotels.

  18. Its an low-cost artsy hotel, in a pretty nasty area of town. You’re a couple blocks from Skid Row.

    If you don’t know what you’re getting into, I’d highly recommend not booking this hotel.

  19. I actually stayed in that first room (or a similar one on another floor, perhaps) the night before my wedding! My now-wife got the bigger suite on a higher floor. I loved the Ace. Of course, I didn’t see pics before checking in, so I didn’t have that contrast you had, and obviously if your room smelled like puke, that’s terrible. But I loved that room. The guitar was a great touch, as were the records, and room service was top notch. I’m glad they moved you to a brighter room, at least!

  20. What an awful dump. “Loft” where I’m from usually means that the place has very high ceilings, some exposed brick, and a partial second level without all four walls.

    This “hotel” that took far more of your money anyone could reasonably ask seems to think that “Loft” means, “don’t bother finishing anything.”

  21. I have stayed in boutique hotels in Phnom Penh several times. They are 1000 times better than these dumps and about us$90 per night for two people with full breakfast. I always check trip advisor before booking any place. Surely there must be accurate reviews of that place?

  22. As a professional photographer who shoots resorts and cruises, I can attest that what your room was lacking was professional photo lighting. It’s sun in a can.

  23. I live in L.A. and love the city, but properties like this are why people hate L.A.. Trying to hard to be something its not and never will be. Planning to be casual yet cutting edge and hip while not realizing the forced nature makes it quite the other thing. The ultimate in pretense, not representative of the city, but sadly the exact representation of the L.A. culture-less poseur lifestyle stereotype.

  24. Hotels ultimately damage themselves with this bait and switch marketing (this is just terribly immoral marketing, designed to falsely incite purchase, compared to harmless exaggeration regarding demand for the Residence referred to earlier). How much business has Ace killed with that terrible room? A lot I’d say.

    It looks like it used to be a back of house room (industrial space) that they tried to convert.

    Rooms offered with in advertised grade (with sample images) don’t have to be exact carbon copies, but should vary by no more than slightly (if the deviation is too wide, it needs its only room grade or else needs to be brought up to the proper spec).

    This is something you could rightly be angry about, and which Ace Hotel should hang their heads in shame for.

  25. Who are these “friends” raving about this place? Have they stayed in quality hotels before, or are the simply attracted to the trendiness, the Instagram photos and the manufactured buzz?

  26. apparently they forgot to decorate would it kill them to throw a photo (or ten) on the walls? I recently had an issue in Capri when I was assigned a lower category room I didn’t book. I was initially told that larger room category with water view I booked is for 3people+ and you are solo (why they gave me the no view room first) then the manager agreed that the photos are misleading on the website after I had him show me the various categories of rooms and ask why he won’t give me what I booked. My category wasn’t available so they had to upgrade me. All I wanted was what I booked from website and the fact they thought they could downgrade me because I was traveling solo made me angry

  27. The room seems a lot better than PARK HYATT PARIS – VENDOME that I stayed five days earlier. NOTE I PAID 950€ FOR THE ROOM(no advance booking)

  28. Perfect candidate for “Hell Hotel”. No chance HGTV would be featuring this slab of concrete. The folding table doesn’t even qualify for Wal-Mart chic grade. The inspiration most have come from dumpsters around the neighborhoods not featured by Bravo shows.

  29. @Heather: In the first and second pictures, you can make out a little bit of the tub in the dark room by the bed.

    @Engineer – Lol, thanks for the correction, although aren’t there structural cements, too? I’m sure the walls probably were concrete, though. Based on my faulty memory from having worked with a client in the construction materials/aggregates industry years ago.

  30. @gobluetwo, work with me, I was trying to be obnoxious 🙂

    But since you asked, there are many types of cements (5 primary categories), but all cement types are still an ingredient. Concrete = cement mixed with water, sand, aggregates and other admixtures.

    The mainstream press gets this wrong routinely. It’s my duty to correct the wayward ways of the world!

    Now how get we get on this bizarre tangent???

  31. Holiday Inn Express does have advantages. Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Sathorn rooms are exactly like the rooms on the web site, as an example. Room changes for a better view or a better room are not uncommon but when the initial room is such a deviation from initial expectations the room change is often a confrontational situation.

  32. @Jon, suffice it to say you’re in the minority on this one. (The lack of natural light and the description of a foul odor were the main factors in the rest of our agreeing with Ben.) But hey, at least you managed to work in a petty ad hominem attack. Stay classy.

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