Renaissance Man? 18/8 Man…probably. Character – definitely! – Scott

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The club kingpin-turned-hotelier on first love, room service and where to go when St. Barts just won’t do

     

IT’S EASY TO SEE why Ian Schrager’s name is synonymous with disco-era excess: He co-founded the nightclubs Studio 54 and Palladium, the nocturnal homes of Andy Warhol, Madonna and countless European jet-setters. With his best friend and business partner Steve Rubell, Mr. Schrager ruled New York’s night life of the late 1970s, though his reign was cut short in 1979 when he was convicted of tax evasion. Mr. Schrager spent 13 months in jail before reinventing himself as a hotelier, creating nine boutique properties, including Morgans in New York and the Mondrian in Los Angeles. At 66, the Brooklyn-born businessman is pioneering two new ventures: Public, a line of accessibly priced boutique hotels, and Edition Hotels, a more upscale group of properties he is developing with Marriott. To celebrate Public Chicago’s first anniversary, next week Mr. Schrager is throwing a gigantic Studio 54-themed party at the hotel, with some of the club’s original bouncers and DJs. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Tania, a former ballerina, and their five children (four teenage daughters from previous marriages, as well as their 2-year-old son). He continues to indulge his workaholic tendencies, but says he is happiest playing on the floor with his son.

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Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote and Paloma Picasso at Studio 54

I’m not into nostalgia, and I only look back to find lessons. I try to make as much distance between Studio 54 and myself as I possibly can, but I decided to put nightclubs in all of my new hotels, so it’s the next generation of Studio 54. I’m trying to recreate and capture the energy and magic of Studio 54, but without all of the indulgences.

When I travel, I just take what I need and I run. I always have my briefcase stuffed with work, even when I go on a holiday. It’s a black old-fashioned one from T. Anthony. I used to have a camel-colored one, but it got beat up pretty quickly.

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