Inside the Madrid EDITION, Ian Schrager’s New Masterpiece

Plus, an interview with the visionary hotelier himself.

For a long time now, hotels have been more than a place to hang your hat at night while traveling. They are melting pots for the world’s best restaurants, spas, architectural feats, and beyond. 

But if hotels and hospitality as a whole are so able to evolve, to adapt to even the strangest of times (read: right now), what’s next? 

A look at Ian Schrager’s new masterpiece, the Madrid EDITION, gives us a better idea. The world-famous hotelier, who first came to prominence as the Co-Founder and Co-Owner of New York’s iconic Studio 54, is credited with making boutique and lifestyle hotels a global norm. His new Madrilenian hotspot is but a continuation of the several decades Schrager has spent pushing us to reimagine hotels as we know them. 

“You’re supposed to make your way to a hotel, and it unfolds in front of you,” he says over Zoom. “It unfolds in the same way a good book, a good movie, or a good theatrical play does. It reveals itself, different personalities and all. And when it comes together, the sum of all the individual parts, they fit in to make a composition. A story.”

The Madrid EDITION stays true to this. In a building designed by British Architect John Pawson, guests first ascend a spiraling staircase—sure to be the most photographed staircase in Madrid—into a sprawling lobby, flooded with soothing shades of white and beige mingling around bursts of bright blue (such as that of the lobby’s pool table). From there, various paths can lead you to one of the hotel’s two restaurants, three bars, downstairs nightclub and show space, or to the rooftop pool for a cocktail during sunset over the city’s skyscape. 

Even with all of the above, the hotel as a whole feels understated and elegant. There is an undeniable energy and yet it does not clash with the hotel’s serene architecture and impeccable interior design. 

“You can do something new and adventurous and provocative, so long as people feel comfortable with it,” Schrager says, speaking on the above balance. “When you get to that magic spot, wherever that is—I can’t tell you how to get there with a map—that’s when the magic happens.”

But where is the most visionary man in hospitality heading next? It all has to do with personalization. 

“I’m very interested in the fact that the distinction between the places where we live, the places where we work, and hotels, those distinctions are all changing,” he says. “You kind of have to make a hotel room suitable for somebody’s particular needs.”

He describes, for example, being able to turn a second bedroom in a hotel room into an office, or you turn a bedroom into a living room. Essentially, you are able to adapt your stay to best fit your individual situation. 

“I think this idea of convertibility and optionality with hotels is something that we’re exploring, and it’s the next thing that’s gonna happen.”

And as for why he chose Madrid for his latest project, only four years after opening the Barcelona EDITION? 

“Madrid has great traditions, great artists…but the thing that I like most about it is the people. There is a real elegance, a real modesty about them.” 

The Madrid EDITION’s best nook is the Punch Room, a speak-easy feeling bar tucked away in the lobby’s corner. There, guests are surrounded by dark oak wall panels and gorgeous hanging tapestries for a late night cocktail in harmony with that night’s live music. The room is so insular and cozy, it’s hard to remember whatever’s going on in the world outside of it. 

And that, as far as V feel, is the best thing a hotel can accomplish.

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