Luxury today, says hotelier Ian Schrager, “is totally different than what my parents thought luxury was” – that’s why, apparently, his latest hotel wasn’t another showy celeb-magnet but rather a “high-brow hostel” (PUBLIC, New York). Hotel brands with a similarly stylish-yet-scaled-back ethos are rolling out worldwide, from German “disruptor” chain Ruby (next openings: Shanghai and Frankfurt) to Ormond Hotels launching The Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur this October.
The key equation: Insta-worthy design plus lively social spaces, minus superfluous amenities, equals an inclusive price point. Look at self-billed “experiment in essentialism” Sister City, Manhattan, which scraps lobby space and check-in staff (instead, guests use self-service kiosks and an alley entrance), but lavishes hand-stamped Noguchi lanterns and a bespoke soundtrack on its “intimate, efficient rooms”. After all, who needs a giant desk, 24-hour concierge and room service when you have a laptop, free Wi-Fi and Deliveroo?