The marriage between Ian Schrager and Marriott Hotels is at first blush an odd one. I have known Ian since the bad old days of single Daffers when I had the best times in the 70s in the Big Apple in his Studo 54 which he owned with Steve Rubelll and made it into the best and most celebrated night club in the world. His ability to deliver a venue that attracted and excited the public was established. Recently he has been working with the mass Marriot chain . Not many always know that one hotel group can own a hotel and another can manage it. Ian started with the Edition range in Istanbul and the London Edition is the latest. It’s situated in the old Berners Hotel, a fusty old place.
Years ago I went there to console a friend with had a cot death only to find an undertakers convention held there. I never had the inclination to revisit until last Saturday.
A few years ago Ollie and I went to the Cape for Xmas for a week at the Mount Nelson. We liked our tour guide Nelly a lot and kept in touch. So when she was over for a few days to look up her family in Chorley Wood we insisted she stayed. I took her out on the town, Ollie having,some sort of Masonic function too secretive to tell me about. At least its not a mistress I thought as he packed a bag with some odd leather pinny and his book of dirges. So Nelly and I hit the town and finished up at the bar of the London Edition.
I was immediately impressed how well we were greeted by Tabby a smiling helpful young woman. She said there were 2 bars,the one in the lobby and the other in the restaurant called Berners Tavern. It was typically Schrager to identify the importance of a first class greeter. Tabby directed us to the only available space in the lobby bar in front of 2 computers but we felt we were in a library so she lead us to the other bar. This was in a large high room full of paintings There were single women but it did not have a pick up feel or worsesome of the up market hotel bars i have reviewed which are little better than brothels!! Nelly said her glass of prosecco might have been fuller but I was impressed by the size of my double stolichnaya vodka correctly served with a twist of lime not lemon. Nelly who is a chatty sort was soon in conversation with the bar staff . One of whom recommended his own cocktail which must had had methane in it as it sent Nelly’s head a spinning. 6 drinks came to £77 which did not surprise me.
After the ever helpful Tabby gave us the lowdown. There were many touches of Ian in the features: he had painted red lips on the little angels in the ceiling; he was hoping to develop the function room in the style of Studio 54. I pressed £10 in Tabby’s paw as gratuitous attention on a busy night merits reward. As we left at 11 a huge American filled the revolving door and I wondered if he was one of those visiting NFL players. One problem that the hotel may experience is location. It describes itself in Fitzrovia but its really Oxford St in that neutral old rag trade area between Fitzrovia in the north and Soho to the south. . It also has direct competition with the Sanderson opposite though both may raise the profile of Berners Street. Nonetheless I can see it joining the ranks of the Soho Hotel, Dean Street Town House, St Martins and Charlottes Street as a chic boutique hotel where the in crowd will visit and just as importantly the hotel residents will hang out. That is why the Marriott and Ian Schrager are in business together. I wish them luck.