Marriott backs new Ian Schrager concept

Marriott is partnering with Ian Schrager to create a new
brand of as many as 100 hotels that will combine the personal, intimate,
individualized and unique lodging experience that Mr. Schrager created with
Marriott’s operational expertise on a global scale.According to J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and CEO of Marriott
International, the marriage of the premier lodging company worldwide with
the pioneer of the lifestyle boutique hotel is an attempt by both to push
the boundaries, break new ground and take the hotel industry to a new
level. “Nobody has done what Ian has been able to do with his hotels time
and again, and he is the perfect partner to help us create and launch a
new, modern genre of hotel,” said Mr. Marriott. “These hotels will be an
excellent complement to the Marriott portfolio of brands and allow us to
use our global platform and ability to execute to create something
completely new, different and original- the first truly global branded
boutique lifestyle hotel on a large scale. We expect the brand to set the
standard for decades to come.”
  The brand, the brainchild of the new partners, responds to new cultural
and social imperatives that Mr. Schrager says have emerged. This brand will
reflect these changing lifestyles and cater to a vast underserved market of
guests expecting and in turn demanding a unique experience not merely a
place to sleep. “Together Marriott and I have a new vision and plan to
radically rethink and catapult the lifestyle boutique hotel into the
present by capturing the spirit of the times,” said Mr. Schrager.
  “People today are sophisticated and they understand good design,
quality, originality and commitment to excellence. They will not accept
something derivative and they want the ethos and soul of a hotel to be
authentic and have character. They also expect and deserve impeccable,
modern and gracious personalized service that is at the same time luxurious
yet down to earth. It is the ultimate balancing act of these apparent
contradictions to create a hotel that is simultaneously specific and
customized yet universal. We intend to make this type of lodging widely
accessible and available for the first time in the key lodging destinations
across the globe and to everybody around the world who wants it.”
  The hotels will be located in gateway cities throughout North and South
America, Europe and Asia. The initial list of markets to be explored
includes New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego,
Boston, and Las Vegas in the U.S.; London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt,
Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Rome in Europe; and Beijing, Shanghai,
Singapore, Bangkok, Seoul and Tokyo in Asia. With an average size of
150-200 rooms, each of the hotels will reflect the best of the cultural and
social milieu of its location and of the time. A diverse set of
world-renowned architects and designers will be recruited to create
one-of-a-kind buildings spanning the complete range of project types, from
new construction, to conversions, to dramatic renovations. The partners
expect these hotels to be not just the most aesthetically pleasing in their
markets but to be the most environmentally responsible as well.
  According to Mr. Schrager, the brand’s unifying aesthetic will be in
its approach and attitude to the modern lifestyle rather than its
appearance, with design and architecture derived from the scale, location
and feel of the individual properties. “The brand will be about an
attitude, about a feeling rather than a look,” he said. “Sophisticated
public spaces, finishes, design and details will serve the experience not
drive it.”
  The partners will divide responsibilities for rolling out the brand,
with Mr. Schrager leading the effort on concept, design, marketing,
branding and food and beverage. Marriott will oversee the development
process, and operate and manage the completed hotels. In particular,
Marriott will use its relationships in the development community to
identify appropriate potential development partners and owners in various
markets. The partners expect to have at least five firm development deals
signed under the new brand by the end of 2007 and 100 hotels open or in the
pipeline within a decade.
  “The scale of this brand requires the reach, resources and expertise of
a global player like Marriott, while the innovation necessary calls for the
experience and originality of the category’s most accomplished
entrepreneur, Ian Schrager,” said Mr. Marriott.