Luxury hotelier Ian Schrager has launched a new hotel chain in Chicago, promising a “revitalization of the hotel industry.”
Ian Schrager, credited by some as the creator of the boutique hotel with the launch of Morgans Hotel New York in 1984, is already working on his new brand ‘Edition’ with Marriott but launched ‘Public’ May 23, announcing that the first property will open in Chicago this fall.
As the name suggests, Public is designed to be inclusive, rather than exclusive, with the new company saying that it combines elements of luxury and boutique properties with the best of the “limited service” model.
That could mean that Schrager is aiming for an affordable chain to contrast with Edition, which is positioned firmly in the luxury boutique category.
While service is set to be a key differentiator, Public claims it will do away with “superfluous services” guests don’t use, focusing instead on the essentials — although there’s no hint yet on what the essentials might be.
The first property will be launched in the former Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago and will still contain The Pump Room, one of Chicago’s most famous restaurants, although celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is being brought in to run the kitchen.
This signals a similar shift, with the new restaurant style being described as “reasonably priced,” “relaxed” and “comfortable” — although what impact that will have on its legendary clientele (Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and John F. Kennedy are all on the stellar list of former guests) remains to be seen.
Vongerichten will also oversee evening food in The Library, an evening cocktail lounge which doubles as a coffee bar during the day.
Schrager claims that “luxury is no longer about spending the most money,” but instead “about getting the best value and being made to feel special.”
For Chicago’s impressive collection of luxury boutique properties, including Sax Chicago, The James, Affinia, The Blackstone and Burnham Hotel, there’s now an awful lot riding on whether one of the biggest names in the hotel industry can offer his customers those two things at once.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.