Ask the locals
Alex Calderwood, a founder of the Ace Hotel chain (and named as ‘the next wave’ of hoteliers in Time magazine’s list of top 100 business innovators) is a strong believer in asking the locals what they think.
He says, ‘I’ve always been drawn to the sense of community that develops around a project. We started in Seattle then we went to Portland and New York and Palm Springs. When you’re coming to a new city you want to create a sense of emotional and creative involvement from different people in the community. For example, in New York we collaborated with a New York firm to help us develop the hotel design. And when we went out to California, we chose some friends of ours and some people in LA to get involved, who we felt really represented the right kind of California experience.’