We went inside the massive 367-room luxury hotel that wants to kill Airbnb

To compete with Airbnb, Ian Schrager’s PUBLIC Hotel in New York’s Lower East Side offers a modern luxury experience at rates as low as $US150/night. To reduce costs, PUBLIC operates with less staff than most hotels and uses technology to replace amenities like standard room service. Following is a transcript of the video.

The PUBLIC hotel offers “luxury for all.” PUBLIC is a 367-room hotel in New York City’s Lower East Side. Room rates start at just $US150/night, but to reduce costs, PUBLIC has less staff than a typical hotel.

PUBLIC was created by hotelier Ian Schrager, cofounder of legendary NYC nightclub Studio 54. The property was purchased in 2012 for $US50 million.

Ian Schrager (Founder, PUBLIC Hotel): You know, I don’t know why the industry is in denial about AirBnB. You can’t stop a good idea. You may delay it, you may slow it down, but it’s a new idea and at the end the new idea will prevail. And the only way to defeat the new idea, is with another new idea.

Guests check themselves in via kiosks. There’s no standard room service. Instead, food orders are placed on the main floor for pickup.

Ian Schrager: We tried to reduce the labour component as much as we could and tried to make the communication as easy as we possibly could through the use of technology, the intuitive technology. We only wanted to have technology if it made things easier or it made it cheaper.

PUBLIC offers several restaurants and bars, a basement club and arts venue, and a rooftop lounge.

Ian Schrager: Airbnb cannot provide a social, communal experience. They can’t. Hotels used to be more than a place to sleep. They should be a microcosm of the best that the city has to offer. We need to provide as hoteliers, those things Airbnb can’t provide.

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