NYC hotel offers accessible luxury for the ‘lost generation’

Hotelier Ian Schrager is a busy man. He’s just opened his new venture, Public – a venue that showcases something that he calls “accessible luxury”. Despite costing less than half the price of his glitzier hotels (rooms start at $150), it retains the neon glamour of its five-star neighbours. Where your traditional luxury hotel might have marble and mahogany, Public has concrete and plywood.

Check can be done online, and you can download your room key to your phone. While there are advisors around to help, there’s no one waiting to take your bag up. “Why would you need it,” points out Schrager, “When everybody has a case with wheels?” And rather than room service you order food from the downstairs deli online, and five minutes later fetch it from the lobby, where it waits in a white paper bag. Or you order in, of course, from one of the many restaurants nearby. Why do you need traditional room service any more?”

The housekeeping is outsourced (bringing in more staff when the hotel is full), and there are no iPads or extras in the room. It’s designed as a genuine alternative to Airbnb, an offering for the hotel’s lost generation. “Luxury is not a business classification,” he says. “It’s something that makes you feel good. And it’s possible to create something just as sophisticated and visually provocative as in a more expensive space. It’s never about the design – it’s always about the idea”.


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