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Ian Schrager's Ambitious Gramercy Park Hotel

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Photo: Julian Broad

"You can rent it out for the evening and have a seated dinner for 200," says Schrager, noting that there will be no "scene" at the Roof Club.

"The visuals here are not the first priority, the service is," says Schrager, who describes that service as "not obsequious, but very, very attentive." Noting that the average room rate is in the $500-per-night vicinity, he adds, "This will compete with the top hotels in New York." Historically, service at Schrager's hotels has been the subject of considerable grumbling. But the hotelier is determined to change that, and each guest will be offered the services of a personal assistant. These assistants will "work hard to be more personal than the guests' own personal assistants," Schrager promises, and will supplement an "unparalleled concierge, bellman, and runner staff." Their "non-uniforms" are by New York fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez.

Now that the last picture has been hung, the last Do Not Disturb tassel approved and dangling from its doorknob, the hotelier plans to return to the drawing board, where several other projects currently await his attention. "If I don't work, I'm miserable," says Schrager, who is personally, as well as professionally, on the move. He has reserved for himself the 8,500-square-foot penthouse triplex at 40 Bond Street, a 28-unit condominium (with five town houses) in NoHo, set to be completed early next year, that he developed and built with Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

Schrager is also hard at it on another residential project, this time in Las Vegas, where he is working with esteemed developers the Fisher Brothers on the planning and design of some 10,000 apartments to be deployed over 40 buildings on a 100-acre site. "I'm going to do my thing out there," he says. "I'm not building some corporate monolith like MGM." In Miami and Miami Beach, Schrager recently purchased two hotels, which he plans to renovate and reopen. He has already dubbed one "a monastery on the beach" and has tapped Pawson for the project. And then there's One Madison Avenue in New York, the Clock Tower Building, where Schrager has acquired some 200,000 square feet of space that he will transform, with New York architects Polshek Partnership, into between 130 and 150 apartments and, perhaps, a 20-room hotel.

None of these projects bears even the slightest resemblance to the Gramercy Park Hotel, of course. As Schrager says, "There won't be another." But then, that was never a question.

Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y.; 212/920-3300; www.gramercyparkhotel.com; doubles from $525.


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