Mr. Schrager is nearing completion on his second residential project, 40 Bond, slated for occupancy in June 2007. The building, designed by eminent Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, is an architectural masterpiece. Their first residential project in America combines luxury apartment and townhouses. The first townhouses built in New York City in generations, offer unprecedented, innovative and sophisticated layouts, details and finishes.
The Pritzker Prize winning architects are best known for the Tate Modern in London, Tokyo’s Prada store, The Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis, San Francisco’s de Young Museum and countless other public and private buildings around the world. 40 Bond residences will also benefit from 24-hour, 7 day a week world-class service from Gramercy Park Hotel.
It should be the art of living, not the job of living. That’s the idea behind every aspect of 50 Gramercy Park North at the Gramercy Park Hotel, a new and sophisticated concept in urban living created by Ian Schrager. Effortless luxury living is a simple idea—and yet it has never been realized in modern times.
We live in a complex, fast-moving time, and enjoying luxuries is often complicated by the arrangements and management required to make them available. Ian Schrager is about to change that by introducing at 50 Gramercy Park North a level of service, privileges and amenities never before offered in apartment living. He will deliver the pleasures of New York’s inimitable lifestyle, without the worries, hassles and inconveniences that are so often the price of it. It’s nothing short of creating a new way to live in New York City.
The effortless luxury residence: an apartment that offers all the benefits of ownership, the services of a five star, world class hotel, plus an innovative concept of executive lifestyle management that provides a completely staffed household without the bother of managing it or the full expense of maintaining it. 50 Gramercy Park North at the Gramercy Park Hotel will not only offer top level services, but also the expert management required to maintain it.
Marriott International is partnering with Ian Schrager, who invented the concept of the boutique hotel 23 years ago, to create a new brand of as many as 100 hotels that will combine the personal, intimate, individualized and unique lodging experience that Mr. Schrager created with the operational expertise that Marriott is known for on a global scale.
According to J.W. Marriott, Jr. Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, the marriage of the ultimate corporate lodging company and the pioneer of the boutique/lifestyle hotel is an attempt by both to push the boundaries, break new ground and take the hotel industry to a new level. "Nobody has done what Schrager has been able to do with his hotels time and again, and he is the perfect partner with whom to create a new and modern genre of hotel," said Mr. Marriott. "These hotels will be an excellent complement to the Marriott portfolio of brands and allow us to use our global platform and ability to execute to create something completely new, different and original-- the first truly global branded boutique/lifestyle hotel on a large scale and the next generation to set the standard for decades to come."
The concept, the brainchild of the new partners, addresses new cultural and social imperatives that Mr. Schrager says have emerged. This brand will reflect these changing lifestyles and cater to a vast underserved market of guests expecting and in turn demanding a unique experience not merely a place to sleep. “Together Marriott and I have a new vision and plan to radically rethink and catapult the boutique/lifestyle category hotel into the present by capturing the spirit of the times,” said Mr. Schrager. “People today are sophisticated and they understand good design, quality, originality and commitment to excellence. They will not accept something derivative and want the ethos and soul of a hotel to be authentic and have character as well as provide impeccable, modern and gracious personalized service that is at the same time luxurious yet down to earth. It is the ultimate balancing act of these apparent contradictions to achieve this and simultaneously create a hotel that is specific and customized yet universal. We intend to make this type of lodging widely accessible and available for the first time to everybody around the world who wants it.”
The hotels will be located in 24-hour gateway cities throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. The initial list of markets to be explored includes New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, Houston and Dallas in the U.S.; London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Milan and Rome in Europe; and Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Seoul and Tokyo in Asia. With an average size of 150-200 rooms, each of the hotels will reflect the best of the cultural and social milieu of its location and of the time. A diverse set of world-renown architects and designers will be recruited to create one-of-a-kind buildings spanning the complete range of project types, from new construction, to conversions, to gut renovations.
According to Mr. Schrager, the brand’s unifying aesthetic will be in its approach and attitude to the modern lifestyle rather than its appearance, with design and architecture derived from the scale, location and feel of the individual properties. "The brand will be about an attitude, about a feeling rather than a look," he said. "Sophisticated public spaces, finishes, design and details will serve the experience not drive it."
Under terms of their agreement, which is non-exclusive, the partners will form a joint venture and divide responsibilities for rolling out the brand, with Mr. Schrager leading the effort on concept, design, marketing, branding, food and beverage as well as other forms of entertainment. Marriott will oversee the development process, and operate and manage the completed hotels. In particular, Marriott will use its relationships in the development community to identify appropriate potential development partners and owners in various markets. The partners hope to have at least five firm development deals signed under the new brand by the end of 2007 and 100 hotels open or in the pipeline within a decade. Mr. Schrager and Marriott will also consider developing some projects together, to be jointly owned after completion.
"This new brand is something neither of us could have done on our own," said Mr. Marriott. "The scale of this brand requires the reach, resources and expertise of a global player like Marriott, while the innovation necessary calls for the experience and originality of the category’s most accomplished entrepreneur, Ian Schrager."