Hotel Online Special Report

  Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck Create Sanderson, Their Most Radical and Subversive Hotel to Date
NEW YORK - April 18, 2000--Continuing to lead the charge against the status quo, hotelier Ian Schrager has once again set off in a completely new direction. Close on the heels of the great success of St Martins Lane, his first London hotel, he has again teamed with Philippe Starck to create Sanderson, their most radical and subversive hotel to date. 

Opening Tuesday, April 25 Sanderson is the first hotel of the Next Wave - a new archetype is born, and the bar for the entire industry is raised higher still.  In a world where style is knocked off and mass-marketed at the speed of light, Schrager is keeping alive those most endangered of artistic species: experimentation, risk-taking, innovation and originality. Sanderson is all about charm, poetry, excess, glamour and elegance. It is an ironic combination - a balancing act - between extravagance and simplicity.

It is a hotel that gives you not only what you need, but what you want - what you desire.  In Sanderson, Schrager has created a dynamic dreamscape - a lavish �Urban Spa� that is the first of its kind. Sanderson is a breakthrough hotel in the truest sense - a marked departure not only from the conventional hotel, but even more on the edge than Schrager�s previous groundbreaking hotels. Echoing the mood of today, it marks a return to extravagance and light-hearted fun, to a time when glamour held sway and opulence reigned supreme. Unlike the over-the-top ostentation of the 80�s, however, this is a �New Luxury� that is smart, pared down and tempered with a healthy dose of wit and irony. Simply put, Sanderson is a hotel with modern sex appeal.

All of Schrager�s hotels are like worlds unto themselves - they are separate realities - but never more so than with Sanderson. Set within one of the world�s most sophisticated and cosmopolitan cities, Sanderson is an �Oasis� - an antidote to minimalism and the rigors of urban living with spa-like qualities artfully integrated throughout. Ravishingly beautiful and surreal, where proportions are played with, where humorous Technicolor touches abound, where beautiful objects are placed in front of, between and just beyond layer upon layer of diaphanous curtains, where the separation between reality and fantasy has been purposely blurred, a dreamy and theatrical otherworld is created before your eyes. Reminiscent of a film by Cocteau or Resnais, the hotel is a bit like a movie set, and the script is the stuff of dreams.  

Because of the building�s landmark status, Sanderson presented a unique opportunity.  Instead of feeling confined or hamstrung by the need to integrate so many of the existing architectural elements into the overall design plan, Schrager and Starck embraced the challenge, and the hotel is clearly the richer for it. The classic 60�s murals and mosaics, when juxtaposed with a giant, out of proportion Louis XV armoire, a handcarved African chair or an etched Venetian mirror, add a new dimension of theatricality to the space. The result is a more layered and sophisticated environment that is totally original, unlike anything before it and impossible to categorize or define.

As you glide through the front doors and are immediately met by Salvador Dali�s curvaceous red lips sofa set against flowing sheer white curtains - you know that you have been utterly transported - that the dream has begun.

From the 18th-century silver silk opera curtains that dramatically drape the �Indoor/Outdoor Lobby,� to the front desk of large screen video monitors playing an ever-changing series of images by video artists from around the world, to a Louis XIV style sofa that seems conventional but for being covered in bright blue silk and stretched to a length of 35 feet - it is all part of the fun, the quirky, the surprising and fantastic fantasy.

Perhaps the most unexpected of all of Sanderson�s many pleasures is its interior
�Courtyard Garden� - a lushly landscaped private park that is open to the sky - providing a spectacular sanctuary that is unique in London. All the hotel�s major elements radiate from this central garden, and, because it is surrounded by floor to ceiling glass walls, it can be appreciated from any point within the Indoor/Outdoor Lobby. With its enormous flowering magnolia tree, fountains, mosaics, reflecting pool, and scores of potted trees and flowering plants - it serves as the hotel�s ultimate �piazza� - a serene and lovely place to meet, eat, drink, socialize or just relax. A sylvan gem set amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, the Courtyard Garden never fails to surprise and delight all who enter. 

If the Courtyard Garden is Sanderson�s heart, then the enchanting new Agua Bathhouse is most assuredly its soul. A sybarite�s delight, the Bathhouse is like entering a cloud you may never want to leave. Its design is pure magic - all white, and light and ethereal. Its purpose is simple - to provide pampering, spiritual relief, and a sense of tranquility while catering to your health, beauty, well-being and fitness. 

Conceived by Rita Norona Schrager, a former ballerina with the New York City Ballet, and Leila Fazel, a former dancer with the Dance Theater of Harlem, Agua combines ancient eastern and holistic traditions with modern technology to create an environment that is nurturing and restful. Like waking from a great dream, you emerge feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and better than when you started.  

Continuing the Schrager tradition of marrying cutting-edge style with the highest commitment to excellence in service and amenities, Sanderson has much to boast about in its new restaurant by Jeffrey Chodorow. Spoon+ at Sanderson is the ultimate expression of culinary freedom and sophistication. The original �mix and match� menu allows almost limitless possibilities and variations, orchestrated by one of the world�s greatest chefs, Alain Ducasse. 

This breakthrough dining concept has been created with an emphasis on health and nutrition to permit patrons to, in effect, customize their own menu based upon what is important to them (low cholesterol, low fat, high protein, no carbohydrates, etc.) without sacrificing the pleasures of what dining out is all about. Combining the most traditional cooking methods with the most modern, including induction, steam, spit roasting, grilling, poaching, and wok, Spoon+ at Sanderson balances a respect for health with true gourmet cuisine.  

Almost as varied as the menu�s choices are the number of settings in which to enjoy them - from the exquisite dining room, to the open-air private Courtyard Garden, to the �Long Bar,� an 80-foot long glowing onyx bar, to the privacy of your room.  

The Guestrooms are quite possibly the most radical interpretation of a hotel room that has ever been attempted. There are no interior walls - instead the bathroom and dressing room are encased in a glowing floor-to-ceiling glass box. This box is wrapped in layers of luxurious silk curtains of varying opacity - all electronically controlled by the guest - allowing for privacy and variety when desired. Daring and drop-dead gorgeous, the rooms are infused with a frank sensuality and unparalleled softness.

Romantic, yet in a totally modern way - a silver leafed 19th century sleigh bed floats in the middle of the room, atop a rug that was inspired by a letter written by Voltaire and beneath a soothing landscape painting that is hung on the ceiling instead of the wall, all the better to help you drift off to a dream world of your own making. There is a tactile quality to all of the surfaces, whether the cool glass walls of the bathroom, the soft, silken hand of the bed linens, the sheer filminess of the curtains, or the thick wool carpet underfoot - there is simply an irresistible urge to touch everything. The rooms have a boudoir-like sensibility, an almost illicit quality that derives from their unabashed sense of luxury. In short, the rooms at Sanderson are extremely sexy.

�We are passionate about continuing to reinvent the hotel, coming up with breakthrough concepts and going off into uncharted territory,� says Ian Schrager, who with Steve Rubell opened the legendary Studio 54 in New York in the �70�s, and pioneered the Boutique Hotel in the 80�s. �Sanderson represents the first hotel of the Next Wave - a hotel for modern people that crave something original, different and magical. The words �spa,� �health,� and �wellness� get tossed around a lot these days, but when we thought about doing a true �Urban Spa� in London, we were serious about not merely paying lip service to this concept. We wanted to do something that�s never been done before - to create a completely integrated environment - one devoted to your physical, emotional and spiritual health - in an exquisitely beautiful setting, and all in the middle of one of the most cosmopolitan cities on earth. Whether in your room, the restaurant, Courtyard Garden or the Agua Bathhouse - the feeling evoked is one of genuine sanctuary...Come to London for the cure.�

In addition to St Martins Lane and Sanderson in London, Mr. Schrager will open Hudson in September 2000 on New York City�s stylish and world famous 57th Street. This magnificent landmark property, a former television studio, contains 1,000 rooms with rates starting at $95 USD per night, a truly spectacular public space that has ceiling heights of 40 feet, extensive fitness, recreational and spa facilities and a private outdoor garden park. This one of a kind gathering place embodies, refines and takes further the concept of �Cheap Chic� - first introduced by Schrager in 1990.

Sanderson is one of an expanding number of properties owned and operated by Ian Schrager Hotels (ISH), for which Mr. Schrager serves as chairman and chief executive officer.  ISH now owns and operates Paramount, Morgans and Royalton in New York, Delano in Miami, Mondrian in Los Angeles and St Martins Lane and Sanderson in London. The company is currently in the process of developing the Hudson and Empire in New York, as well as Astor Place in Greenwich Village - the company�s first original building designed from the ground up in a unique collaboration by the world-renowned architects Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron (their first project in New York) - as well as the Clift in San Francisco, Santa Barbara�s Miramar, and a hotel, apartment and urban entertainment complex in Buenos Aires. As well, ISH is currently working on a number of other property transactions in various stages of completion. With ISH, Ian Schrager will continue to vigorously pursue his strategy of developing multiple unique properties at various price points in international gateway cities in the United States, Europe, South America and around the world.

Dan Klores Associates, Inc.
Nathalie Moar/LizaBurnett
Also See: Millennium Partners and Ian Schrager Hotels to Re-develop The St. Moritz Hotel / Nov 1999 
Paramount Hotel: The Second Act - Ian Schrager Takes His 'Urban Oasis' to Another Level / April 1998 

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