By Terry Trucco
Every decade or so, someone comes along and tweaks the way hotels look and do what they do.
In the 1970s, London designer Anouska Hemphill transformed a pair of run-down South Kensington townhouses into Blakes, the template for the one-of-a-kind boutique hotel with a sumptuous, ethnic-inflected aura and rooms so exotically dressed – pudded silk curtains! midnight colors! — guests (usually) forgave the miniscule dimensions.
In the 80s and 90s, Ian Schrager of Studio 54 renown teamed with French designer Philippe Starck to resurrect the Royalton, Paramount and Hudson, a trio of musty brick New York properties, and usher in an era of high concept design, moody lighting and lobbies that doubled as nightclubs.
Alex Calderwood, the co-founder of Ace hotels who died unexpectedly on Thursday at the age of 47, was an innovator of the next generation. Starting with the gentle rehab of a 28-room Seattle flophouse in 1999, Calderwood and his Ace hotels changed the way we travel. (more…)