An ace in panama

The sixth in the series of seven boutique Ace Hotels is a genteel integration of the colonial era of the city’s history and building style into the design but also adaptive reuse of a heritage building. Quite different to her other edgy, urban-chic sister hotels that all have an eclectic residential feel. It really captured my imagination of sangria life in the colonial spice trade days, before becoming the vital link between the American coasts. The building once housed retail outlets as well as the national headquarters for various American and foreign companies. The colonial style furniture sits well in the grand spaces.

There is a timeless elegance in the architectural integration of the interior design that makes it feel like it has always been a grand hotel and gracefully matured, acquiring mid century furniture pieces along the way. It could have been a location for a 1930’s flick. Nearly every room is a different size and layout due to the former usage of the building and the fact that the American Trade is actually four buildings integrated into one. This creates a sense of individuality to the comfortably adorned rooms that feature an easy collection of 20th century classics and colonial furniture with toiletries from Australia’s Aesop. I am glad the design team resisted being eclectic and funky with a building that had such a strong story of its own.

Built and settled in 1671 after the destruction of Panama Viejo, Casco Antiguo displays a mix of architectural styles that reflect the country’s cultural diversity: Caribbean, Republican, art deco, French, and colonial architecture. It was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003. The American Trade Hotel, a joint creative project between Ace Hotel’s in-house creative team Atelier Ace, LA’s Commune Design. Ace Hotel describe their brand as . . . . a collection of individuals — multiple and inclusive, held together by an affinity for the soulful. We are not here to reinvent the hotel, but to re-address its conventions to keep them fresh, energized, human.

Images from Yatzer and the Ace hotel’s website.

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