The New York Edition overlooking Madison Square Park — Photo courtesy of Edition Hotels
Ian Schrager was once the antithesis of big-box hospitality; his visions for dynamic spaces evolved alongside – and occasionally ahead of – popular culture. He helped define the glitz and grandeur of the 70's with Studio 54, bridged nightlife with installation and founded concepts like “boutique lifestyle hotel” and the “social lobby.”
His partnerships with renowned artists and designer Philippe Starck lead to provocative projects that were often splashed with fantasy – a prime example being the Wonderland-like Delano Hotel in Miami Beach.
Schrager’s recent work reflects a matured, “home away from home” approach. His current creative era is being carved out with Marriott International, as he helped launch and conceptualize its newest brand, Edition Hotels.
Edition aims to embody a “new luxury” experience; one that reflects refinement without pretension, offering approachability with an air of exclusivity. Edition Hotels merge Schrager’s knack for details and Marriott’s commitment to service.
Edition guests can make their way to a Michelin-starred chef’s restaurant after claiming a free night through their Marriott rewards without anyone shooting a side-eye about it. Room service is offered 24 hours, so a late night craving for an aged steak tartare isn’t seen as an over-the-top inconvenience – it's just a phone call away.
The duo's New York Edition opened in May 2015, reinventing the Flatiron District’s former Metropolitan Life Insurance Company headquarters. The historic 41-story clock tower edifice has overlooked Madison Square Park since 1909.
Much like its property predecessors in Miami Beach and London, Schrager's New York design stays true to the city’s roots and encompassing casing, but ties the global locations together with congruent sensory experiences.
The New York Edition lobby and bar — Photo courtesy of Edition Hotels
The New York Edition's lobby and rooms embrace streamlined sophistication. Schrager selected oatmeals and taupes to coat the communal spaces, brightened by white-curtained, floor to ceiling windows by day and glowed by amber backlights and a wall-to-wall blackened steel fireplace by night.
The golden bar – similarly seen inside the London Edition – and its ornate mirror give glimmers into Schrager’s showy beginnings. Stepping up and down the lobby’s stunning spiral staircase feels like curling through the insides of a structural snail shell.
The superior room — Photo courtesy of Edition Hotels
The rooms are similarly subdued; they are sensible and livable, but not snoozy. Dark oak wood panels and lighter oak floors create an inviting interior contrast. The spaces are cozied by these homey hues and refreshed by white linens and seating – much like those seen at the Miami Beach Edition.
A soft and plush brown faux fur throw adds a touch of luxe while fresh flowers or shrubs provide moments of life. Some rooms feature the building’s original concave ceilings while others oversee the building’s exterior arches.
The New York Edition is a grown-ups’ getaway; there are no double bed rooms and no real kid-friendly spaces. The crowd – both locally and touristically – is trendy, artsy or business-minded, seen sipping cheekily-named bar drinks (Beauty & the Besant seemingly nods British women’s activist, Annie Besant) or shuffling in for a power lunch.
The property’s food program is in the hands of Chef Jason Atherton, the celebrated British culinarian who also oversees the London Edition’s eatable options. His immensely popular and critically lauded second-floor restaurant, The Clocktower, marks his US debut (in partnership with Starr Restaurants), which imports his across-the-pond fare and marries it with New York’s dining classics.
Patrons can order a full English feast for breakfast or spiced lamb, roasted dover or steak for dinner. As its name subtly implies, and much like the lower lobby, the restaurant changes identities throughout the day as it welcomes new lifestyle sects hour by hour.
The Clocktower restaurant, manned by Jason Atherton — Photo courtesy of Edition Hotels
The Clocktower’s design is wonderfully rich, winking with whimsy and maintaining its Gilded Age architecture. The restaurant's five thematic rooms feature tightly framed photography of famous actors, artists and musicians. The vignettes act as a visual library, prompting cultural conversations and across-the-room pointing.
The restaurant maintained the headquarters’ original mahogany walls, giving The Clocktower a sturdy, masculine feel that is met with saturated velvet blue and green seating. The billiards room pops with purple, adding a royal air to the parlor-like space that is adjacent to the half-moon, 24-karat gold leaf layered bar.
Schrager’s next New York haunt won’t be unveiled until 2018 when Edition Hotels opens their Times Square outpost. It is rumored that Schrager will toss out the Editions' repeating neutrals for a black and white color scheme, signaling yet another phase in the hotelier’s lifelong career metamorphosis.