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 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 for a disruption, as there clearly is a dislocation in the market. It is the same type of dislocation and void that led Schrager to conceptualise 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 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.
“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 even more on the mark for today’s savvy and sophisticated traveller,” 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 travellers today only want things that matter, are 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.
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.
The delivery of service was also rethought for PUBLIC because service is not ‘one size fits all’. The service is personalised, with personalised attention and tailored solutions. Here Schrager introduces the concept of the Public Advisor. 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 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.
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.
“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 Wi-Fi in the city, which is free for all throughout the entire hotel, mobile 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 work spaces 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.
The food, beverage, meeting and entertainment spaces at PUBLIC have 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. 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 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, is the alternative, serving gourmet, reasonably priced ‘slow food’ in a fast, friendly, casual way via counter service.
The 3 bars – Diego, The Roof and Lobby Bar – each have their own unique vibe and personality so depending on the time, guests might end up hitting all three on the same night or just one, depending on their mood. Lushly landscaped gardens, multiple communal workspaces, and private event rooms, both indoor and outdoor atop the building with 60-degree unobstructed views of the city, the spaces provide the ultimate in socialising, entertaining, working and even just people watching.
Public Arts 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 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!
“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.