Where he goes, others follow: 25 years ago, when hotelier Ian Schrager created the ‘boutique hotel’, he transformed our expectations of what hotels could be. And now he’s aiming to do so again with the launch of a brand-new offering in downtown Manhattan, New York City. Called Public, the hotel is, says Schrager, ‘more than just a place to sleep’ and is centred on the concept of a luxury space that’s designed for everyone.
‘I truly believe that everyone deserves a one-of-a-kind experience that lifts their spirits and makes their heart beat faster, one that elicits an emotional response… and to deliver this at a reasonable price point is even more on the mark for today’s savvy and sophisticated traveller,’ says Schrager.
Having always made great design central to the way guests experience his hotels, Schrager’s commitment to creating cutting-edge interiors is never in doubt, and Public is designed in a style he describes as ‘cosy radical chic’. The look is likely to appeal across the generations – Schrager also uses the term ‘invisible’ to describe it, but what he means by this is probably best translated as ultra-sleek design that features touches of flamboyance yet is also simple, refined, modest and sophisticated.
The hotel’s public spaces – there are two restaurants and three bars – feature an unexpected, precisely chosen mix of finishes and furniture and never feel overcrowded with furnishings or objects. These areas were all designed to bring people together, creating a sense of community, and to connect work, leisure, fun and culture.
Even more pared-down and simple are the 367 smart, sleek guest rooms, which feel rather like cabins on a yacht. They have everything you need and nothing you don’t, thus combining comfort with functionality.
‘I recognised that there are things people just don’t need or want any more at a hotel,’ says Schrager. ‘People want a really comfortable bed, but couldn’t care less about sheet thread count. They want great coffee, but delivered fast and hot, not in fine bone china.’ And people want solutions that are tailored to suit them, which is why service at Public is personalised via the hotel’s ‘Public Advisors’ whose sole aim is to make each guest’s experience the best it can be.
Also deemed crucial to a great guest experience are such stealth luxuries as the fastest free Wi-Fi in New York City, mobile and self check-in, mobile keys and Apple TVs in every guest room so you can watch what you want, when you want from your own device. Each room features no fewer than 12 easy-to-reach electrical outlets and USB ports – which have also been carefully integrated into the communal workspaces within the public spaces so that anywhere in the hotel is conducive to working remotely.
Public’s restaurants, Public Kitchen and Louis, are the creations of world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Both focus on healthy and organic eating, and the food at the former reflects the multiple cultures that make up the eclectic mix of New York City, ranging from spicy Korean chicken to hot pastrami sandwiches and pizza. Louis is a part-grocery, part-luncheonette, part-coffee shop, part-market that serves excellent yet reasonably priced ‘slow food’ in a fast, friendly, casual way via counter service – so you can stay and work while you eat, or grab a meal or snack to go.
And then there are the three bars: Diego, The Roof and the Lobby Bar. Each has its own personality and between them, they feature lushly landscaped gardens, multiple communal workspaces and private event rooms both indoors and out. The Roof is – as its name suggests – situated right on top of the building with breathtaking, 360-degree, unobstructed views of the city that never sleeps.
Lastly, there’s Public Arts, an avant-garde multimedia performance space that is already playing home to cutting-edge cultural programming that includes film screenings, theatrical and dance productions, musical performances, art exhibitions, lectures, talks, readings, comedy nights and of course, a bit of late-night dancing too.
‘I am always looking for a new and better way of doing things… to upset the status quo and shake things up,’ says Schrager – and Public definitely looks set to do just that for hotel perceptions in the 21st century.
Visit publichotels.com for more.