5 Questions For...
October's guest editor Chip Conley of Joie de Vivre poses five questions for fellow boutique hotelier Alex Calderwood, co-founder of the Ace Hotel Group.
CC: What got you into the boutique hotel biz in the first place?
AC: Firstly, a love of travel. My partners and I have all traveled extensively and have always been curious about hotels. Secondly, hotels are an interesting platform for indulging other cultural interests, such as design, art, music, literature, etc.
CC: You've made quite a transition from your first smaller, less expensive hotels in the Pacific Northwest to creating a more upscale, bigger place-to-be-seen hotel in New York City. What did you learn from creating those first hotels that you were able to use in launching the Ace in Manhattan?
AC: A general sense of being unconventional and that nontraditional things can work resulted from our experience in our first hotel. I also think an overall perspective of resourcefulness informed us through the process in developing New York, which came from our first two smaller hotels.
CC: What's a design detail within one of your Ace hotels that brings an immediate smile to your face?
AC: The first thing that comes to mind is the turntables in some of the rooms with vintage records. When I check in I still love going through and seeing what records are in my room.
CC: If you had to define Ace as a brand, how would you define it and where do you see yourself going these next few years?
AC: I think we are a brand that celebrates individuality and creativity, and despite being 'of the moment,' we strive to be an instant classic. We hope to open a few more Ace Hotels, leading to small collection.
CC: What’s the most exciting trend or idea you see in hotels or travel today?
AC: I think there are some technology advancements on the horizon related to mobile technology and 'wired’ hotels that is very interesting.
(Pictured from top left: Alex Calderwood; Ace Hotel New York guestroom/Photography by Jeremy Pelley; Ace Hotel New York wall mural; Ace Hotel Portland/Photography by Jeremy Pelley; Ace Hotel Palm Springs guestroom and poolside/Photography by D.L. Thompson and Jon Johnson)