And that probably makes Ace Hotel founder, Alex Calderwood, one of the hippest guys in America.
If Chris Mahoney, Senior VP at BlackBook Media is right, the recession killed the big, expensive hotel model, and “Calderwood has filled a niche.”
BlackBook publishes popular on and off line content on hotels, restaurants and nightlife.
But Calderwood, according to a recent interview in Entrepreneur Magazine didn’t just create a string of unique hotels, he created a “lifestyle brand” that just happen to be unique places to sleep and stay.
In fact he created four of them: Portland, Seattle, New York and Palm Springs. And each one is so original, “off beat” and creative, that staying there is its own destination; its own experience with all attendant bragging rights!
Entrepreneur Magazine, in describing the Seattle Ace, (the chain’s first hotel) said it was like no place one has ever stayed in before.
The Glass doors and narrow corridors apparently resemble a modern art installation, and the 28 uniquely designed rooms set the standard for an “individualistic driven” space, including a shower curtain made of red, recycled welding material, platform beds, revolving doors, exposed bricks and pipes and a copy of the Kama Sutra… next to the Bible. The open flights of stairs all lead to Seattle’s energized downtown.
The Ace Hotel in New York ( 20 W 29th Street), a 12 story gem in the heart of Manhattan, was bathed in glowing press reports from magazines like Vogue. But what did the guests think?
In both Trip Advisor and Yelp, the reviews all highlighted the “funkiness” of the place, singling out the terrific coffee, crazy bunk beds, small showers, small rooms and an overall “with it,” fun, quirky atmosphere.
Calderwood had a lot of cool going for him before the hotels. He’s the co-founder of Rudy’s Barbershop chain and the marketing agency, Neverstop
But Calderwood is on a mission with his hotels, all moderately priced. He says he wants to create “a sense of place, a culture” in whatever city he’s in.
He’s done that, and more. Check out the web site if you can’t stay at one of his places.
He actually put turntables and records in the Portland hotel rooms.
Why? “Why not,” he said.
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