CHECK IT OUT PUBLIC, NEW YORK
From the man who pioneered the modern-day boutique hotel more than 25 years ago, and gave the world Studio 54, comes a new “democratic” hotel brand, providing pared-back luxury at affordable prices.
Located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Ian Schrager’s 367-room Public lists accommodation from $US150 ($198), so “superfluous” services such as a front desk and bell boys have been jettisoned in favour of a few travel essentials: super comfy beds, super fast Wi-Fi (claimed the swiftest in NYC) and super social spaces.
All guestrooms feature ample USB ports, a large flat screen with Apple TV and Bose Bluetooth speaker. You can check in on your phone (which doubles as your room key) and “expedited communications” are via a state of the art “chat bot”. Rather than room service, guests order online from the cafe downstairs then fetch their own food.
The small Herzog & de Meuron-designed rooms are stylish and simply kitted out (akin to cabins on a yacht, says Schrager) with everything you need and nothing you don’t — floor to ceiling triple-glazed windows and touch-control blackout blinds, custom lighting (from work light to candlelight) and free bottled water.
There are no white-gloved waiters or fine bone china but in true Schrager style bags of street cred, including three bars and a basement performance space-cum-nightclub where Patti Smith headed opening night in early June.
Like the Edition hotels Schrager designs for Marriott, Public features large, innovative and fun public spaces designed to seamlessly blend work and play. And with Airbnb challenging hotels in so many cities, Public is designed to serve as a counterpoint, providing communal venues and intuitive service courtesy a team of “Public Advisors” whose remit has no limitations; they’re there to sort a guest’s every requirement. DON’T MISS: A drink in Diego, a modern-day gentleman’s club complete with fireplace and top-notch mixologists. We’re told you must try the Ray de Leon — Brugal rum, watermelon, lime and Anchos Reyes Verde, a green chilli liqueur.
DINING IN: Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten oversees the Public Kitchen where a wood-burning oven and grill are centrepiece to a menu emphasising organic, healthy fare. The popcorn cheddar frico with chives and crushed chilli is a must. Louis is Public’s grab and go, part cafe, part deli, part coffee shop, again with an emphasis on organic, seasonal produce.
DINING OUT: Check out Le Turtle (mod French), Kiki’s (great Greek fare) and Mission Chinese.
ASK THE CONCIERGE: Don’t miss the 360-degree views from the rooftop bar with large outdoor terrace hosting weekend barbecues. Public also has a charming, secret garden.
CHECKING IN: Rooms from $US150. More: publichotels.com.
ALSO TRY: citizenM Tower of London; Ibis Adelaide; Yotel Singapore (opening November).