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20 August 2007

Schrager and Marriott to create new boutique hotel group.


According to an article in this weekend's New York Times and by a blog by Marriott CEO Bill Marriott, the boutique hotel owner and luxury property developer Ian Schrager is set to partner with Marriott International.

"We're really excited about this because Ian obviously invented the boutique hotel concept and is certainly one of the most creative forces in the hotel industry today," said Marriott.

Schrager is to work with Marriott to design 100 boutique hotels for an as-yet-unnamed brand (we'd like this gig) in major cities across the United States, South America, Europe and Asia.

By tapping a range of renowned architects and designers, Schrager plans to give each property a distinct character (this is not unlike what he has done with the Gramercy Park Hotel and we hope he doesn't repeat what he did at the Hudson).

The hotels will be operated by Marriott and it hopes Schrager will lend what they describe as his "aesthetic ingenuity and cachet" with its own marketing and organizational muscle to gain entry into the boutique market, still regarded as the fastest-growing in the hotel industry.

DIFFUSION wonders whether the name, brand and experience will be distinctive enough to separate it from Marriott's other properties. Unlike Starwood's boutique W hotel group, which seem to have lost a lot of their shine and business, Schrager has continued to innovate with the properties like the recently opened Gramercy Park Hotel in New York.

Indeed, it seems was this hotel (see pic) that inspired Marriott to finally make the move into the boutique market.

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