DE­SIGN Lon­don Edi­tion.

Su­per­star hote­lier and co-founder of New York’s myth­i­cal Stu­dio 54, Ian Schrager is back with a brand-spank­ing new and su­per­swanky ho­tel con­cept, the Lon­don Edi­tion.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT - with Thom­son Car­pen­ter

The stuff of leg­ends, Ian Shrager first rose to fame (and, many would ar­gue, no­to­ri­ety) dur­ing the 1970s when he cre­ated New York’s most talked-about night­club. Stu­dio 54 was the club to end all clubs, a heav­enly disco-balled ex­trav­a­ganza where Diana Ross per­son­ally ser­e­naded its clien­tele, Bianca Jag­ger rode in on a white horse, Grace Jones per­fected her freak show, Andy Warhol held court and the four-ton “glit­ter drop” in­ad­ver­tently spread sparkles across the bed­sheets of Man­hat­tan. Fol­low­ing claims in the New York press that “only the Mafia made more money”, in 1979 Schrager was con­victed of tax eva­sion and put away for 13 months. Stu­dio 54 was closed and it ap­peared his twinkly nir vana would be no more.

Thank­fully, the world was wrong and in the 1980s Schrager be­gan to fo­cus his re­lent­lessly am­bi­tious cre­ative en­ergy on the world of up­scale ho­tels. The Mor­gans Ho­tel Group was born and, with prop­er­ties in­clud­ing the De­lano in Mi­ami and the Mon­drian in West Hol­ly­wood, “lobby so­cial­is­ing” be­came de­rigueur. Com­bin­ing the best of the lux­ury set with a per­son­alised con­cept, the bou­tique ho­tel breed was born. Lon­don’s San­der­son and St Martins Lane soon fol­lowed and, col­lab­o­rat­ing with de­sign gods like Philippe Starck, the en­tre­pre­neur­ial hote­lier could do no wrong.

In 2005, Schrager sold the Mor­gans Ho­tel Group and formed the Ian Schrager Com­pany. As Schrager’s in­ter­na­tional port­fo­lio of glam­orous prop­er­ties grew, it seemed he had all but for­got­ten the Bri­tish cap­i­tal, with the San­der­son and St Martin’s Lane fall­ing into the has-been cat­e­gory. That is, un­til now with the un­veil­ing of his lat­est ven­ture, The Lon­don Edi­tion.

In a crafty move which sees Schrager buddy-up with ho­tel big boy Mar­riott, Edi­tion Ho­tels are set to unite the best of both worlds: the quirk­i­ness and hip at­ti­tude of a bou­tique brand with the level of ser­vice and smooth op­er­a­tional ex­per­tise of a hos­pi­tal­ity doyen which, let’s face it, has been suc­cess­fully op­er­at­ing ho­tels for don­key’s years.

The Lon­don Edi­tion is liv­ing tes­ta­ment to this the­ory. Orig­i­nally built in 1835 as five grand town­houses, these re­gal Ge­or­gian build­ings, a stone’s throw from the hus­tle and bus­tle of Ox­ford Street, were first joined in 1908 when the Bern­ers Ho­tel opened its doors. Im­pos­ing, au­gust, but ever so old-hat, Schrager has pre­served the Belle Epoque ex­trav­a­gance of this grande dame while si­mul­ta­ne­ously in­ject­ing great swaths of his the­atri­cal, fan­tasy-like al­lure. Nowhere is this more ap­par­ent than in the property’s lobby, an art­fully play­ful space which, with a bar in one cor­ner and an Ap­ple sta­tion in an­other, en­cour­ages so­cial gath­er­ings of all types, large or small, ac­tual or vir­tual. The aes­thetic is flam­boy­antly show-biz, re­tain­ing the splen­did stucco ceil­ing and oak pan­elling rem­i­nis­cent of a gen­tle­man’s club, and com­bin­ing it with bold Hen­drik Ker­sten pho­to­graphs, mint green leather tub chairs by Ge­orge Smith and light­ing by Patrick Woodroffe.

The sen­sory over­load continues in Bern­ers Tav­ern, the ho­tel’s gas­tro­nomic gem un­der the di­rec­tion of culi­nary su­per­star, Ex­ec­u­tive Chef

Ja­son Ather­ton. With ban­quettes in chest­nut mo­hair and taupe leather be­neath dis­tressed, bleached oak ta­bles there is a dis­tinc­tively Parisian feel to the space. The colour pal­ette – dusty rose up­hol­stery against burnt ochre walls, khaki green leather and mus­tard vel­vets – is an­i­mat­ing and im­pres­sive and shouldn’t work, but some­how does. Tucked away in a quiet cor­ner at the back of the ho­tel, The Punch Room is a fumed-oak den, an in­ti­mate li­brary-like bar in which to hide, seek and play.

Away from the ex­cit­ingly spec­tac­u­lar so­cial spa­ces, the bed­rooms and suites are more low-key. Pan­elled in vary­ing shades of oak (think paired-down Swiss chalet), each room is sump­tu­ously but subtly fur­nished in neu­tral shades of cream and beige, mar­ry­ing tra­di­tional Ge­orge Smith slip­per chairs with quirky pho­to­graphs (again by Ker­sten) and mod­ernist pieces by Chris­tian Li­ai­gre. The theme is warm, invit­ing and pri­vate.

“The def­i­ni­tion of lux­ury has changed,” says Schrager and this is where he has been so clever. Util­is­ing Mar­riott’s lev­els of ser­vice and cou­pling it with evoca­tive at­mos­pheres, Schrager has el­e­vated life­style ho­tels to an en­tirely new stan­dard.

Lon­don is only the first stop of this new bou­tique brand. Edi­tion out­posts are soon to de­but in Is­tan­bul, Mi­ami and Dubai. How­ever, this jewel glit­ter­ing in the cap­i­tal of cos­mopoli­tan cool will un­doubt­edly form the cen­tre­piece in Ho­tel King Schrager’s crown.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.