After four years in the making, Ian Schrager’s Public hotel has opened its stylish glass doors in New York City’s Lower East Side.
Occupying the bottom half of his newly built 15 Chrystie Street tower, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the 370-room property is Schrager’s 21st-century iteration of the boutique hotel concept he pioneered 25 years ago. This time, he has smartly geared towards democratising luxury, by eschewing the usual tropes such as bellhops and room service, to focus on the details that really matter – not least the affordable rates, which start at around $150 a night.
The building, which pulls double duty as a hotel below and residences above, has an intentional aesthetic break, with the hotel section featuring tilted floor-to-ceiling windows that tack on additional room square footage, while also maintaining guests’ privacy. Each of the elegant rooms are minimally dressed, with a sitting area and workspace (even in the most compact rooms) and intuitive touches, such as concealed reading lights and USB ports. The rest of the hotel is just as alluring: board-formed concrete pillars, plywood ceilings and custom-designed furniture by local design firm Bonetti/Kozerski Studio are just some of the elevated touches that embellish the public spaces.
Using ‘luxury for all’ as a guiding mantra, Schrager has pulled together a sweep of facilities open to everyone, including a restaurant and a grocery/coffee shop concept, both helmed by chef Jean Georges Vongerichten, that are, of course, reasonably priced; a public garden and boutique; and three bars: one in the lobby, one on the rooftop with panoramic views over the Manhattan skyline, and Diego, which hits a more intimate note with its gentleman’s club vibe and a mixology-focused cocktail menu. But in true Schrager style, the basement-located Public Arts, his first nightlife concept since Studio 54, offers a cultural assortment of film screenings, performances and comedy by day, before transforming into a late night dance club.
‘Public is a microcosm of everything the city has to offer,’ says Schrager. ‘It has the one thing Airbnb cannot offer: social and communal spaces. This is the future – people want good value for their money. Your whole night is complete without ever having to leave the place.’