Times change. People change. Culture changes. Luxury as we once knew it has changed. Hotels have not. A new way of living requires a new kind of hotel. There has not been a new idea in the lifestyle hotel space since Ian Schrager’s Morgans, Royalton and Paramount hotels over 25 years ago. Every hotel since then has been derivative of those. The time is right, in this new milieu, for a disruption in hospitality as there clearly is a dislocation in the market. It is the same type of dislocation and void that led Schrager to conceptualize Morgans back in 1982 which created a cultural revolution and changed the industry.
“I wanted to create a hotel for my generation, not my parents’, and one that reflected my tastes and sensibilities as well as popular culture at the time. I was responding to cultural shifts that were emerging. I see the exact same opportunity now. That is the reason for PUBLIC,” says Schrager.
PUBLIC’s fundamental premise is LUXURY FOR ALL. It is built on four key pillars: service, style, unique experience and value. However, it’s not luxury as we traditionally know it, but luxury reflecting a new definition. Luxury is no longer about things or how much something costs. It is not a business classification, a price point or based on scarcity. Luxury is now about experiences and how something makes you feel. Luxury is being democratized and is now for everyone.
“I truly believe that everyone deserves a one-of-a-kind experience that lifts their spirits and makes their heart beat faster, one that elicits an emotional response…and to deliver this at a reasonable price point is even more on the mark for today’s savvy and sophisticated traveler,” says Schrager.
By understanding how to create these one-of-a-kind experiences where A HOTEL IS MORE THAN JUST A PLACE TO SLEEP, and taking note that travelers today only want things that matter, are convenient and make their lives easier, Schrager was able to create a completely new luxury brand that promises innovation, fun, style and service while simultaneously being affordable and accessible to everyone.
“PUBLIC is the PEOPLE’S HOTEL. It’s about inclusivity, not exclusivity. And all of the different elements that we are bringing together in one place: great service, great style, great fun, at a great price, in totality create tremendous value,” continues Schrager.
Service and comfort are at the heart of PUBLIC, and were completely rethought for this new brand response to new desires and needs. PUBLIC captures a vast array of today’s UNIVERSALLY APPEALING SERVICES with great precision while doing away with those that are obsolete and superfluous.
“I recognized that there are things people just don’t need or want anymore at a hotel…services and amenities that are pointless and no longer matter. We live in a modern world. The services should reflect our modern way of living. People want a really comfortable bed, but they could care less about sheet thread count. They want great coffee, but delivered fast and hot, not in fine bone china,” Schrager says.
The delivery of service was also rethought for PUBLIC because service is not ‘one size fits all’. The service is personalized, with personalized attention and tailored solutions. It cannot be scripted any longer. Human interaction takes new form and complements the automation in the most refreshing way. Here Schrager introduces the concept of the PUBLIC ADVISOR. It’s a new way of working that will change everything. They are the rock stars, the go-to people, the hosts at the party who bring the brand to life. Public Advisors direct, lead, solve problems, console and know every square inch of the hotel and beyond. There isn’t anything they would not do to make a guest’s experience the best it can be. The job has no boundaries or limits. At PUBLIC guests get more than what is expected, delivered in a new way with no sacrifices. This goes way beyond what has traditionally been customary, resulting in a more comfortable stay and an elevated experience.
Ever-emerging new technology needed to be seriously considered at a hotel responding to a modern lifestyle. The use of technology is smart, well planned, well thought out and hassle-free. It’s not technology for the sake of it.
“We didn’t just put an iPad in every room under the guise of being a “tech hotel” like so many other brands are doing. Every interaction with technology was considered for ease, efficiency and effectiveness,” says Schrager.
The hotel prides itself on the fastest WIFI in the city, which happens to be free for all throughout the entire hotel, cell phone service that works everywhere, mobile and self-check in, mobile key, Apple TVs in every guest room so you can watch what you want, when you want from your own device, online food ordering and expedited communication via a custom-designed, state of the art chat bot. Other thoughtful details were added such as 12 easy to reach outlets and USB ports in all of the guest rooms communal workspaces within the public spaces so that anywhere in the hotel would be conducive to working remotely—a necessity today where the line has been blurred between work, leisure, fun and culture.
Great design, an inevitability from Schrager, is evident throughout this hotel. Yet, he introduces A NEW AESTHETIC done with precision that is universally appealing. “It’s not shabby chic, retro, industrial, reclaimed or the ubiquitous Brooklyn look…it’s simplicity as the ultimate sophistication,” say Schrager.
The style is personal, provocative and flamboyant, while also being simple, refined, modest and sophisticated. It’s a COZY RADICAL CHIC that resonates with all generations. “There is no pretense with PUBLIC. It’s invisible design done with honesty, conviction, love and passion…Effortless, timeless, purist design, providing a relaxed vibe and familiar atmosphere that feels like home, but better,” continues Schrager.
It was as much about restraint as it was about creating an unexpected, precisely chosen mix of finishes and furniture that could never be classified as one particular style. There was no impulse to fill up the spaces, but rather a premeditation to edit, eliminate and strike the perfect balance of elements. The public spaces were designed to bring people together, create community, and to connect work, leisure, fun and culture. The 367 really smart and efficient guest rooms, like cabins on a yacht, have everything you need and want, and nothing extraneous—comfort in perfect harmony with functionality.
The food, beverage, meeting and entertainment spaces at PUBLIC have also been rethought to reflect the modern lifestyle, and once again Schrager is able to offer a myriad of unique adventures and experiences all under one roof, like a world class city and all of its unique offerings. The ‘best of’ ‘New York’ food, ‘world food’ really, is the idea behind Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s PUBLIC Kitchen and LOUIS, both with healthy and organic eating at their core. The former is the hotel’s main restaurant featuring a smoker, wood burning oven and wood burning grill as a focal point. The food, reflecting all cultures that make up the eclectic mix and melting pot that is New York City, ranges from spicy Korean chicken to hot pastrami sandwiches, sushi and Dim Sum to the best hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza in the city. LOUIS, part grocery, part luncheonette, part coffee shop and part market all rolled into one is the alternative, serving gourmet, reasonably priced ‘slow food’ in a fast, friendly, casual way via counter service—so you can stay and work while you eat, or grab a meal or snack to go.
The 3 bars, Diego, The Roof and Lobby Bar each have their own unique vibe and personality so depending on the time, you might end up hitting all three on the same night or just one, depending on your mood. Lushly landscaped gardens, multiple communal workspaces, and private event rooms, both indoor and outdoor atop the building with jaw-dropping 360-degree unobstructed views of the city, the spaces provide the ultimate in socializing, entertaining, working and even just people watching.
Public Arts, the first new idea since Studio 54 forty years ago and the embodiment of a nighttime renaissance, is another new and innovative offering at the hotel. It’s a progressive, avant-garde multimedia performance space like no other, that will be home to the most cutting edge cultural programming including: film screenings, theatrical and dance productions, intimate musical performances, art exhibitions, lectures, talks, readings, product launches, comedy and amateur nights, and even hot sweaty dancing! It’s Manhattan’s answer to BAM, but better.
“I am always looking for a new and better way of doing things…to upset the status quo and shake things up,” claims Schrager. With PUBLIC, a soon-to-be new object of desire, Schrager had undeniably created a new hotel for a new way of living that may very well be the new benchmark for the rest of the pack to follow…again.