By Julie Earle-Levine
HE has been called the ‘King of Cool’, an arbiter of great vision and taste, ‘master of the ultra-hip hotel’ and a swashbuckling developer, but ask Ian Schrager, dapper in an Hermes pinstripe suit, where this style comes from and he shifts uncomfortably.
“I am not sure where this style comes from. I am not even certain I have good taste,” says Schrager, in a raspy
Few would agree. Many would assert that Schrager not only has impeccable taste but that he creates it. Schrager, whose tanned skin and broad smile defy his 61-years, has spent nearly half his life creating spaces for the rich and famous to flock to, including boutique hotels in
When it comes to stunning buildings,
Schrager has been doing business in his mobile office – a black Mercedes - then walks in to greet me. He shakes my hand but is looking at the wall where he has spied a light fixture is not as it should be and demands to know why. I ask him if he is a perfectionist and he says. “Ha. Perfectionist is an understatement.” He might try 30 or 40 shades of white before he picks the right one. He can recognize if a bouquet, which he has decided must be a precise size and colour, is missing stems. “I don’t have to count them.” A potential buyer at the building recognizes Schrager and seizes the moment, asking, if the gleaming, wavy white walls in the foyer are plastic. Schrager’s face tightens, but the man who some say will simply walk away if he doesn’t like what he is hearing, just replies: “It is Corian marble.”
Schrager says he is actually very shy and does not like to be photographed. But once he warms up, he is charming, his conversation a steady stream of topics. Boutique hotels, Lifestyle apartments, concierges who will cater to how we live. His ideas stem from his roots in the nightclub business where he developed the production skills for acting on creative ideas. “Out of necessity I had to do these big productions and parties and the success or failure of what I did was really predicated on how exciting and magical you could make the space.” This thought process translates to hotels and to residences. “You get an idea, you try and realize it, you build it. It is exactly the same.” He is an avid reader of magazines and hunts the streets of
After leaving the Morgans Hotel Group in 2005, he developed his namesake, Ian Schrager company. His new focus is on “managing one’s life’ or rather, having someone else manage it for you. Schrager was at his weekend house in the
Schrager predicts there will be demand across the board for this kind of living, not just by the super wealthy and that it makes 40 Bond a standout. At the time of writing there were just three of the building’s 27 apartments still for sale. They cost $3 to $10 million. He insists the building’s appeal is not just the design, rather the services that come with it.
Schrager has plenty of other projects on his plate. Recently, he signed a deal with Marriott where he will develop 100 boutique hotels for a new brand that will be launched in major cities across the US, South America, Europe and Asia. He is working on a hotel in Miami, plus another high end hotel in that city as well as a sizeable project (a hotel and residences) on Manhattan’s 10th avenue with developer and friend Aby Rosen He is also looking to close a transaction in Las Vegas and would like to do some more hotels in LA, New York and in London. “Over the next five to seven years I’d like to get to ten or twelve private label hotels and sell it or go public with it. That is the strategy.”
Clearly, Schrager shows no signs of slowing, but his approach is different these days. He works hard to strike a balance with work and family. And he’s spending time on his own immediate environment, 40 Bond. For now his new home is an empty shell, and he doesn’t want to share the specifics other than to say it will be very simple, with most materials from