Hackney hotel owner death remains unexplained

Alex Calderwood. Pic: Damon Way

Alex Calderwood. Pic: Damon Way

The death of an American entrepreneur remains a mystery a week on from the discovery of his body at the Shoreditch hotel he owned.

Alex Calderwood was the co-founder of the Ace Hotel chain. The forty-seven year old was discovered in his room by staff on November 14, only six weeks after the opening of the east London hotel on Shoreditch High Street.

Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. The cause of his death remains unknown with a post-mortem to be carried out this week – the police are not treating his death as suspicious.

The hip hotel chain paid homage to Calderwood on their blog: “Alex was our teacher, mentor, guru and most importantly our dear friend. We will miss him.”

Ryan Bukstein, spokesman for Ace, said: “His humility, spirit of collaboration and tireless work ethic has influenced our family at Atelier Ace and creatives across the globe.”

Fellow hoteliers and creatives paid tribute to Calderwood through Twitter. Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels, said on Twitter: “A bright light has faded.”

Evan Orensten, co-founder and executive editor of Cool Hunting publication tweeted: “Alex Calderwood leaves behind a legacy that continues to inspire and stir the spirits of our creative tribe. RIP.”

In 2011, Calderwood told the New York Times that he was “proud” of being sober for five months. He was known to have had drug and alcohol problems in the past, but it is not known whether his death is linked to these.

Before becoming a hotelier, Calderwood honed his business skills running barbershops and a nightclub in his hometown of Seattle.

In 1999, Calderwood and his business partners transformed a halfway house into the first Ace hotel in Seattle. On their website, the hotel chain say they aspire to keep hotels “fresh, energized, human”.

The Atelier Ace group expanded their creative and “soulful” ethos across America by opening sister hotels in Panama, Palm Springs, Portland, New York and Los Angeles.

In September 2013, Ace picked “London’s most creative, engaged district” as the location for the newest addition to their hotel chain.

Ace hotels are well-known for the retro taste and relaxed style synonymous with Calderwood. Rooms in the Shoreditch branch have thoughtful touches of vintage furniture, original artwork, and turntables with a selection of vinyls.




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