US concepts
The American dream

From hip hotels to burger joints, we take a look at some of the US concepts taking the UK by storm


London Edition

Hip hotelier Ian Schrager returned to London for the first time in 15 years, with the opening of the London Edition in Fitzrovia in September. It’s the first hotel Schrager has opened in the capital since Sanderson and St Martins Lane a decade and a half ago.

“The London Edition is the next generation of lifestyle hotel; one that has incredibly exciting visuals, great, friendly, attractive and personalised service, exciting food and beverage concepts, and a unique vibe,” says Schrager. How did he create that unique atmosphere? “By just following my instincts and giving people what they want. It’s seeing things other people don’t see… connecting the dots.”

It’s the second Edition Hotel, a brand Schrager conceived in a partnership with Marriott International (the first opened in Istanbul in February 2011). Further Edition hotels are planned for Miami Beach in 2014; Abu Dhabi, New York, Gurgaon in India and Sanya in China in 2015; and Bangkok and Shanghai in 2016.

“I think of my hotels as an extension of me,” says Schrager. “They aspire to complete simplicity and purity, devoid of all artifice and contrivance.”

The 173-room London Edition was apparently inspired by the ‘traditional English country manor and the quintessential London private gentleman’s club’. The Georgian building was originally built in 1835 as five separate townhouses, which were combined to form the Berners Hotel in 1908. Some of the original Georgian features remain, while the interiors include Grade II listed examples of Belle Epoque architecture from the period when it was transformed into the Berners Hotel. Modern additions include the huge Ingo Mauer polished silver sphere light that hangs over the entrance, the Christian Liagre black metal furniture and the Salvador Dali-inspired floor lamps.

Schrager created the legendary Studio 54 nightclub in the 1970s with his late business partner Steve Rubell. They went on to launch the Palladium nightclub in the 1980s, before introducing the concept of the boutique hotel with the opening of Morgans Hotel in 1984. Schrager opened many other influential hotels, as well as his ‘urban resorts’ the Delano Hotel in Miami and Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.

As well as the Edition Hotels, Schrager is also working on a second hotel brand, PUBLIC, which offers innovative design at reasonable rates.

 



Schrager introduced the idea of making hotel lobbies a social space
 


The London Edition lobby
 
 


Berners Tavern is a dramatic space
 
 


The muted guest rooms
 
 


The muted guest rooms
 
 


The muted guest rooms
 
Rosewood Hotels

‘Ultra luxury’ hotel management company Rosewood Hotels, which is based in Dallas, US, has come to Europe for the first time with the opening of the Rosewood London.

The grade II listed Belle Epoque building in High Holborn, which previously housed the Chancery Court Hotel, underwent an £85m ($130m) renovation before opening as the Rosewood London in October.

The hotel has 262 guestrooms and 44 suites, the Mirror Room restaurant, a bar, a Sense spa and a fitness suite. The Holborn Delicatessen and the Holborn Dining Room are due to open in February 2014.

The rooms, event spaces and public areas have been designed by Tony Chi and Associates while the bar was designed by Martin Brudnizki. One of the hotel’s suites, the Grand Manor House Wing, is accessed by a private elevator, has its own street entrance, and even its own postcode.
The building’s original architectural features have been carefully restored, including the Grade II listed street frontage and dome, and the grand Pavonazzo marble staircase which rises up through all seven storeys of the hotel beneath the 166-foot cupola. Guests arrive at the hotel via a carriageway which leads to a courtyard.

According to Rosewood Hotels & Resorts president Radha Arora, the Rosewood London fits in perfectly with Rosewood’s ‘A Sense of Place®’ philosophy, meaning that the hotels in the portfolio should reflect and celebrate the location’s culture, history and geography. “Rosewood London is a milestone addition to our portfolio; not only as it’s in a major European capital, but because the legacy of the historic building itself is a true representation of our A Sense of Place philosophy,” he says. “We are delighted to introduce a classic and one-of-a-kind hotel to our Rosewood guests.”

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts was founded in 1979 by Caroline Rose Hunt, the daughter of oil tycoon HL Hunt. Rosewood’s first hotel, The Mansion on Turtle Creek – a restored historic Texas mansion – opened in Dallas in 1980. Today, the group has 18 hotels and resorts in eight countries, including the Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York and Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Bermuda.

Rosewood launched its spa brand, Sense, in 2007, with the first spa opening in 2008 at Rosewood Mayakoba in Mexico.

The company plans to continue to roll out the Rosewood brand, with particular focus on Asia and Europe, doubling its current portfolio within five years. The next Rosewood is due to open in Beijing in early 2014.

 



Rosewood president Radha Arora
 


The bar was designed by Martin Brudnizki and features a wooden bar and a roaring fire
 
Balthazar

Although he’s actually originally from London, Keith McNally is such an entrenched part of the New York dining scene we thought we had to include him. More than 35 years after he moved to New York, where he made a name for himself as one of the city’s hippest restaurateurs, McNally returned to the UK to open Balthazar London with Richard Caring in February 2013.

Balthazar London is modelled on the original Balthazar, in Manhattan, New York, which McNally opened in 1997. It serves traditional French bistro food in the old Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, which has been converted into a Parisien-style brasserie by Method Architects and New York interior designers Grayling Design. Balthazar Boulangerie sits next door.

McNally moved to New York in 1975, where he worked as a bus boy and later a maitre d’ while looking for acting jobs (he started his career as a stage and film actor). In 1980, he opened his own restaurant, Odeon, with his then wife Lynn Wagenknecht.

McNally moved to France in the late 1980s to make his second feature film, Far From Berlin. In his own words, his interest in French food stemmed from “spending a few years as a deadbeat in Paris,” and when he returned to New York he opened the French-style bistro Cafe Luxembourg, where he gave River Cafe founder Rose Gray her first kitchen job.
He followed that up with caviar bar Pravda, then Balthazar in 1997, and has since opened Pastis, Schiller’s, Morandi, Minetta Tavern and Pulino’s, all in New York City.

In 2011, McNally decided to move back to London. He teamed up with Richard Caring, and they started building Balthazar restaurant and Balthazar Boulangerie in January 2012.

 



Keith McNally
 


Balthazar London is modelled closely on the original Balthazar in NYC.
 
 


Balthazar London is modelled closely on the original Balthazar in NYC. The food has been tweaked slightly for the UK market
 
 


Balthazar London is modelled closely on the original Balthazar in NYC. The food has been tweaked slightly for the UK market
 
Ace Hotels

Arguably America’s funkiest hotel brand hit British shores in September, when Ace Hotels opened its first European site in London’s Shoreditch.

The fifth hotel to open in the boutique chain, the 258-bed Shoreditch site comprises the usual Ace ingredients: vintage and re-purposed furniture, flea market curios, original artwork and retro touches, such as vinyl and turntables in the bedrooms. Revo radios with Ace-curated radio stations are standard and some of the better rooms even have acoustic Martin guitars as part of the furniture. The aim was to create rooms that feel like a friend’s Shoreditch apartment. 

The über cool brand has been curated and nurtured by Alex Calderwood. Prior to joining the hotel industry, Calderwood co-founded a chain of barber shops in Seattle, before being offered the lease on a 28-bed flophouse in the city.

Calderwood recognised there was a shortage of thoughtfully designed, authentic and affordable hotels and set out to create one. The Seattle hotel, which was a collaboration with designer Eric Hentz, launched in 1999, offering a hotel experience with style and shared bathrooms. It aimed to be a clean, minimalist haven for travelling artists, musicians and entrepreneurs.

Portland was launched in 2007 and included some of the details now synonymous with the brand. This was followed by a 170-bed hotel with a pool in Palm Springs and a hotel in New York in 2009. The American Trade Hotel in Panama opened in December 2013 and Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles opens in January.

All the hotels are quirky and eclectic, and each have their own identity, which is rooted in the history of the building and location.

In Shoreditch, the company collaborated with Olympic torch designers Universal Design Studio to create a property that reflects the area’s creative pedigree. Materials relevant to the area were chosen, such as dark engineering brick, cast bronze and galvanized steel. Artist Max Lamb was commissioned to design the bar cladding, bar stools and cocktail tables.

The Shoreditch hotel features an English modernist brasserie, Hoi Polloi, and the lobby is home to a flower shop, Hattie Fox, and a coffee shop, Square Mile Roasters.

Tragically, on 14 November, Alex Calderwood was found dead at the Shoreditch hotel, six weeks after its launch. Aged 47, Calderwood’s death was sudden and unexpected.

The industry has lost an original and visionary individual, who undoubtedly would have continued to surprise and delight.

Kelly Sawdon, executive vice president of Ace Hotel, said of him: “Alex loved and embraced change. He had an insatiable appetite for culture and people and always wanted to remain innovative and fresh. He loved collaborating because he saw it as an opportunity to tweak his ideas.

“He loved new things and new ideas and surrounded himself with people who felt the same way. When discussing changes within the Atelier Ace recently he said, ‘You don’t know what is on the other side but that is the excitement of life ... It will be different and great.’ He was one of a kind and will be greatly missed.”

 



Alex Calderwood died on 14 Nov
 


London-based Universal Design Studio designed the hotel’s funky, minimalist interior
 
Shake Shack

Shake Shack crossed the pond to open its first ever UK burger joint in Covent Garden in London in the summer.

Shake Shack started life as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, New York in 2001, created by New York restaurateur Danny Meyer to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation. The popular cart opened for three summers in the park, until in 2004, Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group opened a permanent kiosk in the park, serving burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, shakes, beer and wine.

Despite the popularity of the first restaurant, Danny Meyer and the founders resisted opening another Shake Shack for several years, arguing that the DNA of his company was based on doing one of a kind restaurants. In 2010 he finally opened a second and third Shake Shack in the Theatre District and the Upper East Side in New York, and a further restaurant on Miami Beach. Today they have 21 restaurants in the US, and 13 outside of the US – 10 in the Middle East, two in Istanbul, Turkey, and the new Covent Garden restaurant. The next Shake Shack is due to open in Moscow at the start of 2014.

“It’s the modern version of the old American roadside burger stands, which started in the 1950s and 1960s and which were community gathering places,” says Randy Garutti CEO of Shake Shack. “Over time, though, America really ruined fast food – it just became about how fast and efficient it could be, and about using the lowest quality ingredients.

“We’re a fine dining restaurant company – we’ve been running New York’s favourite restaurants for 28 years – so we took that understanding and applied it to burgers, fries and shakes.”

Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group runs a range of New York restaurants including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, The Modern, North End Grill and Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at MoMA.

Shake Shack in Covent Garden opened in May 2013, serving Aberdeen Angus burgers, fries, cumberland sausage hot dogs, St John bakery brownies, and the company’s famous frozen custard.

There are no plans at present to open more Shake Shacks in the UK. “Our goal is to make this Shake Shack great,” says Garutti. “If that happens, we believe there is a lot of opportunity in the UK, throughout the UK.”

 



Shake Shack crossed the pond to open its first ever UK burger joint in Covent Garden in London in the summer
 


Danny Meyer (right) and Randy Garutti (left) in Covent Garden
 
Five Guys

Run by Jerry and Janie Murrell and their five sons, the Five Guys chain started as a burger restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, which opened in 1986. Today there are more than 1,000 Five Guys restaurants, and the chain counts Barack Obama as one of its fans.

Five Guys teamed up with Carphone Warehouse founder Charles Dunstone, who co-owns the UK franchise, to bring the chain to Covent Garden, London in July 2013. A second store opened in Reading just two months later, followed by a third in Islington, London in November. The Murrells and Dunstone have big plans for the UK, with 10 new outlets planned every three months across the country.

The UK represents Five Guys’ first foray outside the US. The company now has more than 1,000 restaurants and more than 1,500 in development.

The Murrell family started offering franchise opportunities in Virginia in 2002, before offering them to the rest of the US in 2003.

 



Five Guys sells premium burgers
 


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Leisure Management
2014 issue 1

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Leisure Management - The American dream

US concepts

The American dream


From hip hotels to burger joints, we take a look at some of the US concepts taking the UK by storm

London Edition

Hip hotelier Ian Schrager returned to London for the first time in 15 years, with the opening of the London Edition in Fitzrovia in September. It’s the first hotel Schrager has opened in the capital since Sanderson and St Martins Lane a decade and a half ago.

“The London Edition is the next generation of lifestyle hotel; one that has incredibly exciting visuals, great, friendly, attractive and personalised service, exciting food and beverage concepts, and a unique vibe,” says Schrager. How did he create that unique atmosphere? “By just following my instincts and giving people what they want. It’s seeing things other people don’t see… connecting the dots.”

It’s the second Edition Hotel, a brand Schrager conceived in a partnership with Marriott International (the first opened in Istanbul in February 2011). Further Edition hotels are planned for Miami Beach in 2014; Abu Dhabi, New York, Gurgaon in India and Sanya in China in 2015; and Bangkok and Shanghai in 2016.

“I think of my hotels as an extension of me,” says Schrager. “They aspire to complete simplicity and purity, devoid of all artifice and contrivance.”

The 173-room London Edition was apparently inspired by the ‘traditional English country manor and the quintessential London private gentleman’s club’. The Georgian building was originally built in 1835 as five separate townhouses, which were combined to form the Berners Hotel in 1908. Some of the original Georgian features remain, while the interiors include Grade II listed examples of Belle Epoque architecture from the period when it was transformed into the Berners Hotel. Modern additions include the huge Ingo Mauer polished silver sphere light that hangs over the entrance, the Christian Liagre black metal furniture and the Salvador Dali-inspired floor lamps.

Schrager created the legendary Studio 54 nightclub in the 1970s with his late business partner Steve Rubell. They went on to launch the Palladium nightclub in the 1980s, before introducing the concept of the boutique hotel with the opening of Morgans Hotel in 1984. Schrager opened many other influential hotels, as well as his ‘urban resorts’ the Delano Hotel in Miami and Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.

As well as the Edition Hotels, Schrager is also working on a second hotel brand, PUBLIC, which offers innovative design at reasonable rates.

 



Schrager introduced the idea of making hotel lobbies a social space
 


The London Edition lobby
 
 


Berners Tavern is a dramatic space
 
 


The muted guest rooms
 
 


The muted guest rooms
 
 


The muted guest rooms
 
Rosewood Hotels

‘Ultra luxury’ hotel management company Rosewood Hotels, which is based in Dallas, US, has come to Europe for the first time with the opening of the Rosewood London.

The grade II listed Belle Epoque building in High Holborn, which previously housed the Chancery Court Hotel, underwent an £85m ($130m) renovation before opening as the Rosewood London in October.

The hotel has 262 guestrooms and 44 suites, the Mirror Room restaurant, a bar, a Sense spa and a fitness suite. The Holborn Delicatessen and the Holborn Dining Room are due to open in February 2014.

The rooms, event spaces and public areas have been designed by Tony Chi and Associates while the bar was designed by Martin Brudnizki. One of the hotel’s suites, the Grand Manor House Wing, is accessed by a private elevator, has its own street entrance, and even its own postcode.
The building’s original architectural features have been carefully restored, including the Grade II listed street frontage and dome, and the grand Pavonazzo marble staircase which rises up through all seven storeys of the hotel beneath the 166-foot cupola. Guests arrive at the hotel via a carriageway which leads to a courtyard.

According to Rosewood Hotels & Resorts president Radha Arora, the Rosewood London fits in perfectly with Rosewood’s ‘A Sense of Place®’ philosophy, meaning that the hotels in the portfolio should reflect and celebrate the location’s culture, history and geography. “Rosewood London is a milestone addition to our portfolio; not only as it’s in a major European capital, but because the legacy of the historic building itself is a true representation of our A Sense of Place philosophy,” he says. “We are delighted to introduce a classic and one-of-a-kind hotel to our Rosewood guests.”

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts was founded in 1979 by Caroline Rose Hunt, the daughter of oil tycoon HL Hunt. Rosewood’s first hotel, The Mansion on Turtle Creek – a restored historic Texas mansion – opened in Dallas in 1980. Today, the group has 18 hotels and resorts in eight countries, including the Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York and Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Bermuda.

Rosewood launched its spa brand, Sense, in 2007, with the first spa opening in 2008 at Rosewood Mayakoba in Mexico.

The company plans to continue to roll out the Rosewood brand, with particular focus on Asia and Europe, doubling its current portfolio within five years. The next Rosewood is due to open in Beijing in early 2014.

 



Rosewood president Radha Arora
 


The bar was designed by Martin Brudnizki and features a wooden bar and a roaring fire
 
Balthazar

Although he’s actually originally from London, Keith McNally is such an entrenched part of the New York dining scene we thought we had to include him. More than 35 years after he moved to New York, where he made a name for himself as one of the city’s hippest restaurateurs, McNally returned to the UK to open Balthazar London with Richard Caring in February 2013.

Balthazar London is modelled on the original Balthazar, in Manhattan, New York, which McNally opened in 1997. It serves traditional French bistro food in the old Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, which has been converted into a Parisien-style brasserie by Method Architects and New York interior designers Grayling Design. Balthazar Boulangerie sits next door.

McNally moved to New York in 1975, where he worked as a bus boy and later a maitre d’ while looking for acting jobs (he started his career as a stage and film actor). In 1980, he opened his own restaurant, Odeon, with his then wife Lynn Wagenknecht.

McNally moved to France in the late 1980s to make his second feature film, Far From Berlin. In his own words, his interest in French food stemmed from “spending a few years as a deadbeat in Paris,” and when he returned to New York he opened the French-style bistro Cafe Luxembourg, where he gave River Cafe founder Rose Gray her first kitchen job.
He followed that up with caviar bar Pravda, then Balthazar in 1997, and has since opened Pastis, Schiller’s, Morandi, Minetta Tavern and Pulino’s, all in New York City.

In 2011, McNally decided to move back to London. He teamed up with Richard Caring, and they started building Balthazar restaurant and Balthazar Boulangerie in January 2012.

 



Keith McNally
 


Balthazar London is modelled closely on the original Balthazar in NYC.
 
 


Balthazar London is modelled closely on the original Balthazar in NYC. The food has been tweaked slightly for the UK market
 
 


Balthazar London is modelled closely on the original Balthazar in NYC. The food has been tweaked slightly for the UK market
 
Ace Hotels

Arguably America’s funkiest hotel brand hit British shores in September, when Ace Hotels opened its first European site in London’s Shoreditch.

The fifth hotel to open in the boutique chain, the 258-bed Shoreditch site comprises the usual Ace ingredients: vintage and re-purposed furniture, flea market curios, original artwork and retro touches, such as vinyl and turntables in the bedrooms. Revo radios with Ace-curated radio stations are standard and some of the better rooms even have acoustic Martin guitars as part of the furniture. The aim was to create rooms that feel like a friend’s Shoreditch apartment. 

The über cool brand has been curated and nurtured by Alex Calderwood. Prior to joining the hotel industry, Calderwood co-founded a chain of barber shops in Seattle, before being offered the lease on a 28-bed flophouse in the city.

Calderwood recognised there was a shortage of thoughtfully designed, authentic and affordable hotels and set out to create one. The Seattle hotel, which was a collaboration with designer Eric Hentz, launched in 1999, offering a hotel experience with style and shared bathrooms. It aimed to be a clean, minimalist haven for travelling artists, musicians and entrepreneurs.

Portland was launched in 2007 and included some of the details now synonymous with the brand. This was followed by a 170-bed hotel with a pool in Palm Springs and a hotel in New York in 2009. The American Trade Hotel in Panama opened in December 2013 and Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles opens in January.

All the hotels are quirky and eclectic, and each have their own identity, which is rooted in the history of the building and location.

In Shoreditch, the company collaborated with Olympic torch designers Universal Design Studio to create a property that reflects the area’s creative pedigree. Materials relevant to the area were chosen, such as dark engineering brick, cast bronze and galvanized steel. Artist Max Lamb was commissioned to design the bar cladding, bar stools and cocktail tables.

The Shoreditch hotel features an English modernist brasserie, Hoi Polloi, and the lobby is home to a flower shop, Hattie Fox, and a coffee shop, Square Mile Roasters.

Tragically, on 14 November, Alex Calderwood was found dead at the Shoreditch hotel, six weeks after its launch. Aged 47, Calderwood’s death was sudden and unexpected.

The industry has lost an original and visionary individual, who undoubtedly would have continued to surprise and delight.

Kelly Sawdon, executive vice president of Ace Hotel, said of him: “Alex loved and embraced change. He had an insatiable appetite for culture and people and always wanted to remain innovative and fresh. He loved collaborating because he saw it as an opportunity to tweak his ideas.

“He loved new things and new ideas and surrounded himself with people who felt the same way. When discussing changes within the Atelier Ace recently he said, ‘You don’t know what is on the other side but that is the excitement of life ... It will be different and great.’ He was one of a kind and will be greatly missed.”

 



Alex Calderwood died on 14 Nov
 


London-based Universal Design Studio designed the hotel’s funky, minimalist interior
 
Shake Shack

Shake Shack crossed the pond to open its first ever UK burger joint in Covent Garden in London in the summer.

Shake Shack started life as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, New York in 2001, created by New York restaurateur Danny Meyer to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation. The popular cart opened for three summers in the park, until in 2004, Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group opened a permanent kiosk in the park, serving burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, shakes, beer and wine.

Despite the popularity of the first restaurant, Danny Meyer and the founders resisted opening another Shake Shack for several years, arguing that the DNA of his company was based on doing one of a kind restaurants. In 2010 he finally opened a second and third Shake Shack in the Theatre District and the Upper East Side in New York, and a further restaurant on Miami Beach. Today they have 21 restaurants in the US, and 13 outside of the US – 10 in the Middle East, two in Istanbul, Turkey, and the new Covent Garden restaurant. The next Shake Shack is due to open in Moscow at the start of 2014.

“It’s the modern version of the old American roadside burger stands, which started in the 1950s and 1960s and which were community gathering places,” says Randy Garutti CEO of Shake Shack. “Over time, though, America really ruined fast food – it just became about how fast and efficient it could be, and about using the lowest quality ingredients.

“We’re a fine dining restaurant company – we’ve been running New York’s favourite restaurants for 28 years – so we took that understanding and applied it to burgers, fries and shakes.”

Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group runs a range of New York restaurants including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, The Modern, North End Grill and Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at MoMA.

Shake Shack in Covent Garden opened in May 2013, serving Aberdeen Angus burgers, fries, cumberland sausage hot dogs, St John bakery brownies, and the company’s famous frozen custard.

There are no plans at present to open more Shake Shacks in the UK. “Our goal is to make this Shake Shack great,” says Garutti. “If that happens, we believe there is a lot of opportunity in the UK, throughout the UK.”

 



Shake Shack crossed the pond to open its first ever UK burger joint in Covent Garden in London in the summer
 


Danny Meyer (right) and Randy Garutti (left) in Covent Garden
 
Five Guys

Run by Jerry and Janie Murrell and their five sons, the Five Guys chain started as a burger restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, which opened in 1986. Today there are more than 1,000 Five Guys restaurants, and the chain counts Barack Obama as one of its fans.

Five Guys teamed up with Carphone Warehouse founder Charles Dunstone, who co-owns the UK franchise, to bring the chain to Covent Garden, London in July 2013. A second store opened in Reading just two months later, followed by a third in Islington, London in November. The Murrells and Dunstone have big plans for the UK, with 10 new outlets planned every three months across the country.

The UK represents Five Guys’ first foray outside the US. The company now has more than 1,000 restaurants and more than 1,500 in development.

The Murrell family started offering franchise opportunities in Virginia in 2002, before offering them to the rest of the US in 2003.

 



Five Guys sells premium burgers

Originally published in Leisure Management 2014 issue 1

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