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Condé Nast Traveller

Stroke of Genius

By Sophie Campbell

Word of Mouth :What’s hot in New York. With its collection of paintings and sumptuous looks, New York’s revamped Gramercy Park Hotel bears the master’s touch.

‘This hotel has always been very bohemian, but in a classy, cultured way,’ says Ian Schrager of New York’s famed Gramercy Park Hotel. ‘Think of Humphrey Bogart or Peggy Guggenheim: artistic, creative people, true New Yorkers. I wanted to keep that DNA alive.’ To help him revitalize this latest addition to his empire, Schrager enlisted New York City’s ultimate latter-day bohemian, Julian Schnabel, to direct the interior design of all 185 rooms (created from what were previously 350 shoe boxes). He commissioned giant works by Schnabel to join the Warhols, Twomblys and Basquiats in the soaring lobby and adjacent Jade and Rose bars. ‘I want it to feel like an artist’s home, not a gallery. I want people to walk around with a cocktail in their hand, the way they would at the house of a friend who has a mad, frantic aesthetic.’ To ensure a permanent collection of admirers, Schrager has incorporated 50 Gramercy Park North, an adjacent building containing 23 sleek, John Pawson-designed apartments, which is due to be completed in October. With their white-oak floors and 20ft. floor-to-ceiling windows, these apartments come with all the amenities of the hotel next door (including evening turn-down, should you so desire). Their clean lines and natural light contrast spectacularly with the rich, sensuous interiors of the hotel, inspired by the paintings of Raphael, the lush colours of the Renaissance and the 19th-century mansions of Andalucía. Both hotel guests and residents get a key to Gramercy Park across the street, the only private park in the city. ‘I just wanted to allow a hotel that belongs to all of New York to continue breathing, and bring it up to date,’ says Schrager.

And coming up he has two more openings at the hotel: this month’s launch of restaurateur Alan Yau’s first US venture, Park Chinois, and the November opening of the famed rooftop bar where Bogart first married in 1926, which is being turned into a salon-style private club with a landscaped garden.

GRAMERCY PARK HOTEL, 2 Lexington Avenue, NY 10010 (00 1 212 920 3300: www.gramercyparkhotel.com): doubles from $600. 50 Gramercy Park North, available apartments start from $9 million