Indeed initial reports about Schrager's acquisition of Ambassador East mentioned it would be a "cheap and chic" hotel for the jetset set. But this had us thinking of the coffin-rooms at The Hudson Hotel in New York, another Schrager hotel. Fortunately, Schrager says the rooms will be bigger here but the concept will be the same.
The idea there was great style, great design and make it accessible to everyone. That's an idea that I love and there's a part of the market that is wide open. We really want to do a very stylish, simple, modern classic hotel that is really accessible to everybody.
Since we were on the line with the man responsible for creating the boutique hotel trend (Schrager and his partner Steve Rubell created the first boutique experience with The Morgans Hotel in 1984), we had to ask him what he thought of the recent warping of the boutique concept. These days, every hotel is striving for a boutique feel, even the branded chain hotels with 500 to 1,000 rooms inside.
What's happening now is what has always happened to [the hotel industry.] Thirty years ago, all the hotels looked alike. What Steve and I tried to do was something alternative to that. We made it more stylish, made it for people of our generation, fun, with a great food and beverage concept. But now, even though all the hotels have all increased their design, they still all look alike. It's a vicious cycle.
But now he's in a fresh new city with a new-old hotel, so what new things is he going to bring to the Ambassador East?
The same things that have always interested me. The hotel is going to be special, unique and different from what's out there.
With a blanket statement like that, we're going to have to keep detailed notes on just how this will be done.
Renovations on the hotel are set to begin in about nine months or sooner, and they will include the hotel's famed but faded restaurant and lounge, The Pump Room. At this point Schrager has no plans to rename the hotel or the restaurant but we're hoping he keeps Pump Room. It's so old that it's new again! (Ambassador East sounds less cool so we think that could go.)
In the meantime, you can stay at the hotel before it gets Schrager-ized for about $161 a night. Expect those rates to go up slightly after he gets done with it in 2011/12.
Since Ian Schrager regularly reads HotelChatter and with nine months before the Ambassador East renovations begin, now is the time to give your input as to what you would like to see when 'sexy property' opens in 2011. Spill your ideas in comments below.