Ian Schrager On Marriott

Ian Schrager, the designer who essentially created the boutique hotel concept, is teaming up with Marriott International to launch a boutique brand on a mass scale. It is an odd pairing, to be sure. Schrager was behind the wild disco club Studio 54 and later went to prison for tax evasion. Bill Marriott is deeply religious and his only brushes with the law come from watching bad guys go down during shoot 'em up movies, which he loves.

What both men have in common is that they are control freaks. Mr. Marriott, as he's known around the office, has final say over just about everything that goes into his hotels. And what about Schrager? In a lengthy profile of him in yesterday's New York Times, Anna Wintour, who edits Vogue magazine, told the paper that "Ian is a perfectionist and a control freak. Everyone is terrified to even move a chair without his permission."

And judging by some of the things he told the Times, he's also pretty open about speaking his mind, even if it may rankle his new partner.

About hearing that Mr. Marriott wanted to tour his new hotel, Schrager said: "I mean, it's Marriott! They are like Wal-Mart. No matter what you think of the brand, you have to respect it."

About the limitations of working with Marriott: "The properties might not be as quirky or individualized as I might make them if I were doing this alone."

About his view of himself in the world of hotels: "Right now, the impact that I have had on the market is not commensurate with the number of my ideas that have influenced the industry."

About being unhappy over the inclusion of a Marriott guest room photo in promotional material for the new brand: "I told them, 'If you want to use this picture, that's fine, go ahead.' But then I said to them, 'Understand, this is not the kind of thing I'll be doing.' "

Stay tuned.

--Michael Rosenwald

By Dan Beyers  |  August 20, 2007; 4:59 PM ET  | Category:  Marriott International Corp.
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