What do you get when you cross a cutting-edge hotelier with one of the most widely recognized hotel brands in the world? Just ask Dan Flannery, managing director of EDITION Hotels. The brand, which opened the doors of its first property in October, is the result of a partnership between Marriott International and Ian Schrager, the man behind such iconic hotspots as the Delano in Miami, the Mondrian in Los Angeles and, yes, New York’s famous Studio 54 nightclub. And, Flannery says, the result is a hotel product unlike anything else on the market.
“EDITION is about taking Ian Schrager’s personal vision, passion and creative direction to create a special, one-of-a-kind experience,” he explains. “Additionally, Marriott is bringing world-class training and resources from the Ritz-Carlton and the strength of Marriott systems to deliver the best and most personalized modern service available.”
The result, he says, is an unprecedented combination of chic, on-trend ambiance and luxury. EDITION Hotels are designed to appeal to both the leisure and business travel markets, providing state-of-the-art technology in office-like working environments alongside a design aesthetic that will appeal to sophisticated travelers seeking the next big thing. The ultimate goal: to make cutting-edge, high-end, boutique-style experiences accessible to a broad range of clients in key lodging destinations around the world.
It’s no small feat. But, Flannery says, the demand is there. “Ian Schrager and Marriott both believe there is a significant opportunity to create a global lifestyle hotel brand that combines distinctive and compelling design, with a higher level of service delivery than what exists currently,” he says. “It is not about a specific demographic. We believe EDITION will appeal to a certain guest who appreciates a unique, original design and experience…. Certainly, we will compete with other lifestyle hotels, but we also believe there is a significant opportunity to appeal to guests who are staying in full-service and luxury category brands, but desire something different—as long as they don’t have to sacrifice great modern luxury service.”
luxury meets design Launched in October, the first of the new brand’s properties is the Waikiki EDITION in Oahu, Hawaii. Clients staying here will notice the property’s unique design elements right away: an entrance through a garden dotted with palm trees and Hawaiian plant life; a reception desk custom-made from plywood using techniques typically used in Hawaiian surfboard construction; and a wall-to-wall installation of over 100 broken surfboards collected from the surfing community’s biggest names, put together by artist and former pro surfer Herbie Fletcher.
And that’s just the lobby. Venturing deeper into the 353-room property, clients find an outdoor area that’s a central point for socializing both during the day and night. The two pools and private inland beach at the heart of the resort are surrounded by more tropical gardens, and also feature an outdoor movie theater, giving guests both traditional and unusual ways to stay entertained.
Schrager’s emphasis on entertainment is also evident in amenities like Morimoto Waikiki, a restaurant featuring the cuisine of famed Japanese chef Masaharu Morimoto. The restaurant combines Morimoto’s celebrity appeal with hot trends in dining like the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients and dishes fusing Western and Japanese flavors and cooking styles. The resort also features one-of-a-kind boot camp programs designed to whip clients into shape for surfing or simply breaking out that bikini on the beach. Specialized trainers work one-on-one with hotel guests, creating individual fitness programs designed to improve surfing skills, tone muscles and trim waistlines. Naturally, there’s also the Crazybox nightclub, designed to feel like a raw New York City space with rusted steel doors, a concrete stairwell and lighting that features antique light bulbs. With lighting and sound designed by the specialists who put together Michael Jackson’s final concert in London, the club is expected to be the hottest new thing on the Waikiki strip.
The Waikiki EDITION is just the first of a handful of hotels and resorts due to roll out in destinations from Mexico City to Barcelona to Bangkok over the coming years. Next up: the Istanbul EDITION, a smaller property with 77 guestrooms, a 20,000-sq.-ft. spa, Cipriani restaurant, and a screening room for first-run movies. It’s unusual amenities like these that keep Flannery optimistic about EDITION’s future.