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Hotelier boss-dog Ian Schrager talks with HC on hotels, politics, and a side of disco
We're not very good at hiding when we have a crush on a hotel brand, so we'll fess up to being Public Chicago devotees. It was launched by hotelier-extraordinaire Ian Schrager on October 11, 2011 and is celebrating its one-year anniversary.
To mark the occassion, Schrager brought in his buddy, old-school Studio 54 DJ John "Jellybean" Benitez (you wouldn't know Madonna without him)to man the turntables and rock the crowd.
We were thrilled to be invited to a party where even Billy Zane couldn't stop grooving, but before we danced, we took a few minutes to ask Schrager about his latest hotel plans and what financial advice he'd give Chi-Town's own President Obama.
How would you like to test out the services of a J.Crew personal stylist? Specifically the ones at the Chicago outlet, over on North Michigan Ave?
Yes? Well, then it's your lucky day. Martini-loving Public Chicago has launched a new package called "Stay PUBLIC...J.Crew Style" that offer fashionista guests an integrated sartorial experience, including a free appointment with a J.Crew person stylist, a welcome gift, complimentary courier service back to the hotel, and/or free shipping to send your new duds straight home.
Rates for the package start at around $165/night. Which ain't no dollar sale, but for a decent room at a chic hotel plus the sagely advice of a certified J.Crew stylist, we've seen worse.
You've seen this photo of Public's re-imagined Pump Room, you know, the one that makes you want to go there NOW.
Ever wonder what Public Chicago used to look like in its former Ambassador East glory? We often do. Originally opened in October of 1926, the hotel has a long history of being the place to be well before it became Public. First a luxury haven for the upper echelon, the Ambassador later drew celebs in droves following the opening of the Pump Room in 1938. That interest definitely petered off in the years before Public opened (September 2011), but the point is that this hotel was once as hot as it is today.
Here's The Pump Room under the former Ambassador East umbrella. Yowza.
During a recent visit to Public, we dug around for more clues about the hotel’s past life and scored, getting our hands on a bunch of old images of the former Ambassador East. We couldn’t resist sharing so take a look and a gander down hotel memory lane. Of course, you won't miss Public's totally crushing design and might even start wondering what it means to be hot both then and now.
Just a mere 12 days ago we had hoped that the announcement of Hoxton Hotels expansion into NYC would light a fire under Ian Schrager's Public Hotels but now comes this bit of devastating news from the NY Post: the real estate deal for a Public Hotel at 855 Sixth Avenue is dead.
Apparently, the financials didn't work out between Schrager and Durst Fetner Residential. Yet before you put your dollar bills back into your pockets, Schrager did tell the Post that he is "in contract for another, undisclosed, site."
So Public New York is still happening, we just don't know where (Schrager did express interest in the Bowery nabe) and we don't know when, but we're guessing 2014 is still the estimated opening date. To be continued!
News about the recent sale of London's Hoxton Hotel to Ennismore Capital, an investment firm, had us all "meh" earlier this week as the sale won't affect anything at the hotel. It's just another change of hands behind the scenes, something which guests won't even notice during their stay.
But Ennismore Capital's intent to expand the brand is an exciting bit of news, particularly since they have New York City in their sights. This has us pumped for two reasons--one, we welcome more stylish and fun budget options in the Big Apple. Two, we're hoping the Hoxton expansion will light a fire under Ian Schrager's Public Hotels.
We wouldn't say the Hoxton and Public are the same types of hotels--Hoxton is more colorful and a bit louder than the subdued Public--but there are similarities like reasonable room rates, free WiFi, brown paper bag room service and flash $1/£1 sales.
$1 room or not, you can still lounge with coffee or a sexy cocktail in the Library at PUBLIC Chicago
Word is out today that another One Dollar Sale is coming from Ian Schrager’s bright white Chicago gem, PUBLIC Chicago. For those unfamiliar with the online hotel sale, it’s an amazing chance for would-be guests to book a room at PUBLIC for just one buck. For those who swung and missed at the last sale -- you know, the vast majority, including yours truly at HotelChatter – the one dollar offer might feel more like the ultimate tease as rooms ended up selling out in less than five minutes flat.
Still, we’re not about to give up. Real live people picked up all 270 available rooms in the last sale so we know it can be done. And since we really, really want to stay at the PUBLIC for a buck, no less, we’re gonna play it smart this time. Which is why we talked to a PUBLIC Chicago insider for some tips on how to get a leg up at the hotel’s next dollar sale.
Friends of PUBLIC, if there ever was a way, than this is how you score a $1 room at PUBLIC Chicago.
Hotel Deals / Hotel Promo Codes / Scottsdale Hotels / Rosewood Hotels / Public Hotels / Viceroy Hotels / Riviera Maya Hotels / Chicago Hotels / → All Tags
Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· HOTEL VALLEY HO: The desert is hot right now but the prices at this Scottsdale resort are dropping. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, rates on Sunday and Monday at Hotel Valley Ho are just $119; Tuesday-Thursday is $139, Friday is $149 and Saturday is $159. There's complimentary parking and no resort fee. Also, if you stay three nights, the fourth night is free. Pre-paying 21 days in advance will save you an extra 15 percent. We actually found a rate of $154 a night for the first weekend in June with an $50 resort credit. Book online at www.hotelvalleyho.com.
· PUBLIC CHICAGO: Nearly a year after opening, the Public is keeping rates low even as summer draws near. The hotel's Memorial Day Bash has superior queen rooms going for $190 a night with lunch for two daily from Public Express served in your room or packed up to enjoy along the beach. (Just a short bike ride away.) We just checked and rooms are still avail at $190 for Friday and Saturday. You could splurge for a king at $215 a night. Book online at PublicHotels.com.
· VICEROY RIVIERA MAYA: Formerly the Tides, this Viceroy resort is offering a fourth night free when you stay three. The "Forever Summer" rate also includes daily breakfast for two, tequila and ceviche tasting and two after-sun spa treatments. Rates for mid-June were going for $453 a night for a newly redone luxury villa. Rates in the high season are typically $600 a night.
It’s now six months since Public Chicago opened (and three since we named it Best Hotel Opening of 2011!). It wowed us on first impressions, so we were interested, during a visit to Chicago a couple of weeks ago, how it had progressed. Even better than before? Let itself go? We were hoping for the former, rather than the latter.
First impressions were excellent, with charming check in staff and being escorted to our room by a bell man who was the spitting image of Ryan Gosling. Our room - we snagged a corner - was lovely, still white, still bright. Even the fluffy white sheepskin desk chair was spotless. Top marks to the bedroom.
The bathroom, however, wasn’t quite so impressive. Finding an ominous dark mark in the toilet pan when we arrived was hurlworthy enough; watching it sit there for two days was too much. The shower surprised us too – one of those raspy ones which makes up for its lack of water by punching way too much air through with it, so it’s painful on the skin. Unpleasant, unadjustable as far as we could see, and very surprising. Also, stingy toiletry collection of just soap, shampoo and conditioner. We had to request lotion from reception, and mourned the lack of body wash.
It’s not often a hotel minibar can tempt us with something we actually want to buy, which is why the minibar at Public Chicago made us smile during our stay the other week.
As we showed you back when the hotel opened, the minibar contains a Public-branded pack of postcards of film stars, like Dustin Hoffman as a bell man for the Ambassador East.
This time, we took the $10 plunge and opened the pack, tempted by a picture of Elizabeth Taylor. But if you’re looking for postcards that trumpet their origins, as we were, prepare to be disappointed – the hotel’s name is on a sticker on the pack, and nowhere on the cards.
Having said that, not only do you get a neat little clutch of glam black and white pics of the stars of yore – they’re all pictures of said stars at the Pump Room, or the Ambassador East. The same photos as you’ll find by the
Ppublic bathrooms downstairs below the lobby.
Hotel Trends / Hotel Hype / Hotel News / Public Hotels / Even Hotels / Commune Hotels / Edition Hotels / → All Tags
With this morning's announcement of IHG's newest hotel brand, Even Hotels, we started to look at the names of a few other new hotels that have come about in recent years and there's something kinda innnereesting about them. Take a look:
· Even Hotels: The new fitness-conscious brand from InterContinental Hotels. The first Even Hotel will be announced shortly and will open in early 2013.
· Commune Hotels: The new parent company of JDV and Thompson Hotels. Previously, a temporary name of JT Hospitality was being used. Commune plans to announce a new brand later this year.
· Public Hotels: Ian Schrager's new affordable chic hotel brand. The first location opened in Chicago last September (and quickly became one of our fave stays.) A New York location is expected next year.
· Edition Hotels: The brainchild of Schrager and Marriott Hotels opened first in Waikiki but was shut down last year. Another Edition is now open in Istanbul with South Beach, London, New York and Bangkok hotels all coming online "soon."
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Manhattan Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Edition Hotels / Public Hotels / Hotel Construction / King and Grove Hotels / → All Tags
New York, New York—so great they named it twice. But, hey, don't just take our word for it (we live here, so we're a little biased). Talk to all the hotel developers who are buying up hotels left and right. Because of them, New York City alone accounted for 20% of hotel transactions across the entire country in 2011, announced The Real Deal.
In some ways, we already knew this. Well. We didn't know the exact numbers ($3.5 billion in sales, to be exact), but we did know that there were some major hoteliers sniffing out the next NYC locations for their brands. At a glance: Public New York is on its way, Edition New York has already found a location, and two other Marriotts (a Courtyard and a Springhill Suites) will be popping up in Herald Square.
Further downtown, Andre Balazs' Standard empire is steadily expanding eastward. And let's not forget about King & Grove, who recently burst onto the scene with two well-established NYC properties firmly under their belt.
Hotel Booking Sites / Public Hotels / Hotel Sales / Room Rates Gimmicks / Chicago Hotels / Hotel Woes / → All Tags
OK. It happened. The Public Chicago's $1 sale came and went in the blink of an eye, and by the end of it (five minutes later), we were left still clutching our measly dollar, and cursing the hotel gods above. But it eases our conscience—slightly—to know we weren't the only ones duped into thinking we were actually going to score a $1 hotel room yesterday.
So what was going on? Well, just like with any place that gets inundated with too many customers all at once (eBay, Ticketmaster, Missoni for Target), some people simply got lost in the shuffle. Of course, some actually did end up scoring reservations. And hooray for them. But understandably, we were a little curious to know how—three times in a row—one minute we managed to snag a room, and the next, it was gone. So we spoke with a Public Chicago manager to find out her take on the whole melee. See below to read her response!