Business Traveler (USA) - - TRIED AND TESTED -

Widely ac­knowl­edged as the fa­ther of the bou­tique ho­tel con­cept, Ian Schrager has cut a wide swathe through the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try for the last three decades. His creative en­ergy has launched ideas such as “ho­tel as home away from home ”and the ur­ban re­sort.

Schrager’s lat­est brain­child is Pub­lic, a con­cept that blends in­no­va­tive, ap­proach­able style, per­son­al­ized ser­vice and value. The in­au­gu­ral prop­erty in this new brand is Pub­lic Chicago, a com­plete trans­for­ma­tion of the famed Ambassador East Ho­tel. WHAT’S IT LIKE? In their day, the Ambassador East and its restau­rant, the Pump Room, played host to a mul­ti­tude of celebri­ties – stars like Bo­gie and Ba­call, Judy Gar­land and Cary Grant; John Kennedy stayed there, as did Ron­ald Rea­gan. The lyrics to Frank Si­na­tra’s sig­na­ture Chicago paean My Kind of Town talked about “the jumpin ’Pump Room. ”No doubt, this was the place to be in the Windy City.

Not preser­va­tion, not de­mo­li­tion, what Schrager’s team has done is more a rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal Ambassador, keep­ing key ele­ments but putting them in a fresh con­text. For ex­am­ple, the crys­tal chan­de­liers that adorned the old Pump Room have been col­lected into a sin­gle bril­liant fix­ture that il­lu­mi­nates the ho­tel en­try, while the restau­rant it­self gets a funky new light­ing dé­cor. WHERE IS IT? Pub­lic Chicago is lo­cated on the Gold Coast at the in­ter­sec­tion of Goethe Street and North State Park­way. Just north of Di­vi­sion Street and blocks from Lin­coln Park and the beaches of Lake Michi­gan, the down­town Chicago lo­ca­tion is a short cab ride from Michi­gan Av­enue and the Loop.

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