Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Break at the Ace Hotel

It started so well with Radiohead and Johnny Cash. For the first time, I'm not annoyed by music at the pool. The kids and I have gone swimming early in the morning while daddy is at work in LA making some money to feed the family. Actually, it’s super-nice here at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club. The service is not too cool for school like we’d heard – in fact, everybody is friendly and really easy-going.

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Throughout the rooms are fun knicknacks, such as a hand-carved walking stick, that you can take with you for a mid-sized fee. No ashtray stealing here.

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The Ace folks are very smart: nearly everything in the room is available for purchase – excluding the bed and TV, though I think they could also find a solution for that as well… All the prices, including the one for the ashtray, can be found on the same price list as the snacks and drinks from the minibar.

Like a friend in the hospitality business once explained to me, the problem with trendy boutique hotels is that the design is not aging very well. That’s also the case here, unfortunately. Everything looks a little worse for the wear. But with a bit of high-proof liquor in the blood – on offer in bottles right next to the toothpaste – you probably won’t notice.

The Ace Hotel was originally a motel, and I find the term somehow fits it better. Yet unlike most motels, Ace is supposedly the place in Palms Springs with the best laid-back massage and the best natural spa.

After more than a week on the road, our family of 4 definitely needs to do some laundry. Ace doesn’t offer a laundry service, but for $1 per wash and dry, you can do it yourself in the laundry room close to the pool.

So I'm moving back and forth today between pool and laundry, but what else should I do? I am on holiday, and yes, I'm very laid-back. Speaking of laid-back, I'd forgotten to mention my favorite term I’ve learned so far. “Laid-back” in California stands for quality and is a marker of status.*

In the afternoon the crowd is changing a little. The families are now joined by hmm… how shall I say… people with all different kinds of sexual interests.

Unfortunately, I can confirm that “the super amazing, curated music”, as described on the hotel’s website, is unfortunately replaced by a DJ at a certain point, and the higher the sun, the more the DJ gets going and the louder the sound. At around 4pm, the party reaches its peak. Almost everybody seems to be drunk, and there’s a lot of fumbling around and grabbing of bodies – well, I guess it is spring break. Still, it’s hard for me to find Zarah between all the grab-hands… 

We find a quieter spot at the poolside bistro. The food is delicious, and the cafe offers a much more palatable atmosphere.

My tip if you visit Ace: 

One should make babies here rather than bringing them – at least if it’s spring break.

* Laid-back (
(lād'băk') adj. Informal. Having a relaxed or casual atmosphere or character; easygoing: "laid-back, untroubled people" (New Yorker).

How to be laid-back in 6 steps
1. Do one thing at a time.
2. Slow down.
3. Stop being a perfectionist.
4. Step aside.
5. Remember that it's not the end of the world.
6. Focus on what you have, not what you have to do.

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