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Ian Schrager, the Studio 54 co-founder credited with inventing the boutique hotel category via his Morgans Hotel Group (the Royalton in Manhattan and Delano in Miami), has returned to the Sunset Strip. The latest outpost of his ultra-posh, Marriott-backed Edition brand opens Nov. 12 where Rat Pack hangout Scandia once stood — nearly a quarter-century after the debut of Schrager’s nearby Mondrian catalyzed the neighborhood’s gentrification in the first place.
“The Edition is catapulting the area up to luxury,” explains Schrager, 73, who notes that the rates for its 190 rooms (starting at $495) and prices for its 20 condos (upward of $3,000 per square foot) are in line with Beverly Hills hotels.
His go-to minimalist architect, John Pawson, drew inspiration for The West Hollywood Edition from Louis Kahn’s 1960 Salk Institute in La Jolla. “I wasn’t interested in doing something that was the thing of this decade or the next decade,” says Schrager. The property features art by Agnes Martin and Sterling Ruby, as well as a veggie-focused restaurant, Ardor, from Michelin-starred chef John Fraser, and — unsurprisingly from the man responsible for Skybar, the lodestar of 1990s al fresco L.A. nightlife — cocktails and 360-degree views are available on the rooftop. Says Schrager, “I’m trying to hit the zeitgeist.”
While Schrager notes that he’s “looked extensively” at opening a hotel in downtown L.A., especially the white-hot Arts District, he believes the boutique market is soft in that area and he’s satisfied with his focus farther west. “To me, as someone who doesn’t live in California,” he muses, “when I come I still want to see movie stars and the ocean.”
As for the larger market, Schrager admits his imitators can bedevil him. “I don’t think copying is the sincerest form of flattery; it’s appropriating someone’s work!” he contends, comparing the difference between his own output and those of some competitors: “It’s like Royal Crown Cola and Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is the real thing.”
A version of this story appears in the Oct. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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