After a slow and somewhat rocky start, Marriott International's
Edition luxury lifestyle brand looks to finally be hitting its stride.
Launched amid much fanfare in 2007, the Edition concept was
born out of a collaboration between Marriott and Ian Schrager, the hospitality
veteran best known for co-founding the 1970s New York hot spot Studio 54.
Edition's splashy debut was poorly timed, however, with the
financial crisis of 2008 quickly putting a damper on expansion plans. Despite
targeting at least five development agreements by the end of its first year,
the flag had just two properties, in Istanbul and Honolulu, by 2011.
That same year, the brand's Honolulu outpost, the Waikiki
Edition, became embroiled in a high-profile legal tussle. The dispute, which
involved the property's owners alleging that Marriott and Schrager had failed
to provide adequate design and marketing support, ultimately resulted in the
owners ousting Marriott as operator and reflagging the hotel as the Modern
Following those early setbacks, however, Edition appears to
have undergone a reboot. The brand kicked off a renewed expansion drive in
2013, and although its Istanbul hotel later quietly left the fold, Edition's
portfolio now spans nine locations: two in New York and one each in London; Miami Beach; Barcelona; Shanghai and
Sanya, China; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Bodrum, Turkey.
The brand's latest hotel is the Times Square Edition, which
officially opened its doors earlier this month. Located within the 20 Times
Square development on Seventh Avenue, the property is the brand's second in the
city, following the 2015 opening of the New York Edition in the NoMad
The Times Square Edition has 452 guestrooms, including 27
suites and an 1,880-square-foot penthouse, and it houses several food and
beverage outlets. The property's culinary programming is being spearheaded by
John Fraser, who owns the Michelin-starred Nix restaurant in New York.
The hotel also offers a 3,000-square-foot nightlife and
entertainment venue known as the Paradise Club. According to Schrager, the
concept is a far cry from a traditional nightclub, with the space set to
showcase theatrical programming from Brooklyn-based collective House of Yes.
Performances will run the gamut from cabaret, circus acts, gospel music and
classical ballet to aerial stunts, magic and opera.
"Nightclubs have a short shelf life, so it doesn't
really pay to do them," Schrager said at a recent press event. "The
door policy and things like that, I don't think people want to really do that
anymore. But by adding a level of entertainment and art and visuals and making
it available to everybody, because the product being offered does its own
screening process automatically, I think that's the future of doing lifestyle
[concepts] at night."
Meanwhile, Edition has more expansion in the works. The flag's
10th hotel is slated to open in West Hollywood, Calif., on the corner of Sunset
Boulevard and North Doheny Drive later this year. The 190-room property will
feature 5,200 square feet of meetings space, a restaurant, a basement club and
a rooftop pool among other amenities.
"When we first launched, we figured Edition could grow
to around 100 hotels," said Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson. He
added that global gateway cities and well-established resort destinations
remain targets for the Edition brand. "Then the recession came and cooled
things a bit. But now, with nine hotels open, 18 in the pipeline and around 18
more [in talks], we do think the brand may have more room to grow than we
Sorenson added that Edition wouldn't be afraid to double
down in certain key markets, as it has done in New York.
"Some markets we may enter, like Washington, D.C.,
might be more of a one-location market," he said. "But in some big
markets like Beijing or Shanghai, there could definitely be room for more than