We're kind of falling in love with Lloyd Grove's rambling, sprawled interviews with business celebrities on Portfolio.com. This week, he sits down with Ian Schrager, who is two years into his massive partnership with Bill Marriot, the hospitality king, to build 100 chic hotels worldwide. Below, we've selected some of our favorite moments with the man who brought you the Delano, the Hudson, the Royalton, the Shore Club, the new Gramercy Park Hotel, 40 Bond Street, and that little club he used to run in the late seventies
• On the destruction of his legendary Philippe Starck lobby in the Royalton Hotel by his Morgans successors, who replaced it with a dark-amber jewel box this year: Uh, you know, I think it's nice. Um, I can't second-guess what those guys had in mind. I had no emotional attachment to it, quite frankly. But I think from a business point of view, I would've done something different. But I don't know what criteria they were using and why they did it. And I think it was a very risky move But basically we liked to think that what we did was classic and timeless and would stay, even though it was incredibly provocative. I mean, I've never changed any of my other lobbies.
Ever since yesterday's little Gawker item about André Balazs selling three of his signature hotel properties (it turned out that it came from a Crain's story), we've been wondering what's up. Is our favorite hotelier and celebrity dater hard up for cash? Are delays and extra costs on his High Line–spanning Standard Hotel becoming a burden? Apparently not, according to Balazs himself. The Observer got him on the phone to talk about the transfers. "Quite frankly, we're a little surprised about Crain's much ado about nothing," Balazs said. "It was financing. You know, we recently refinanced a bunch of the other properties and restructured them to take advantage of the capital markets. And these are all now stabilized properties that it's just an opportune time to refinance them, meaning that they've been open long enough, and they're steady and mature hotels." So everything's okay? "It's a routine recapitalizing and restructuring [of] the underlying debt or equity. We do it all the time. We control the management and control the properties." Hm. We liked it better when all we had to think about was whether we liked his pretty lobbies.
Andre Balazs Explains Hotel Moves: 'We Do It All the Time' [NYO]
Hotelier selling assets in refinancing move [Crain's NY]
Diddy's longtime girlfriend Kim Porter has finally moved out (and on). Henry Kissinger is bummed he isn't portrayed in Frost/Nixon. Chris Tucker impersonates Bill Clinton, and the former president can't get enough. At Bergdorf Goodman last week, Beyoncé was barefoot and Katherine Heigl was hot. André Balasz has taken over the Chelsea Hotel and is setting his sights on the Pacific. White House in Hampton Bays paid Diddy $200,000 to host his Independence Day Party there. Ashlee Simpson might be at the Blackbook party in the Hamptons tomorrow. Gwyneth Paltrow, who's on crutches, blames running into furniture for her injury; Helen Hunt, also on crutches, won't say why.
Astoria: Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden opens at 3 p.m. today and next Friday for teacher appreciation days. The public is welcome, and the BBQ’s sure to be fired up. [Joey in Astoria]
Brooklyn Heights: A swimming pool in a floating barge off the waterfront will take its maiden voyage July 4 and feature a man-made beach and concession stands. [NYP]
Chelsea: Hotelier André Balazs may have a hand in restoring the Chelsea Hotel. [NYP]
East Village: You need to send a recent photo of yourself if you plan on applying for one of the many positions still open at Tailor. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Flatiron: Former CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer will step in as front man to country band “Honky Tonk Confidential” on June 27 at Hill Country barbecue. Songs he’s written include “Little Lulu and Sister Hot Stuff” and “TV Anchorman.” [NYP]
Lower East Side: A tipster reports that Kossar’s Bialys has unveiled plans to sell hand-cut sushi from kosher vendor Eden Wok. [Grub Street]
Midwood: Dom De Marco’s scarlet letter from the Department of Health has been covered in expressions of support in the wake of DiFara’s most recent close. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Times Square: Brighton Beach’s Ladder Co. 169 brought home victory last night at Gallagher’s Fire Department grilled-steak-off fund-raiser. [NYDN]
Dina Lohan, the "white Oprah," is in talks to do a reality show for E! in which she'll try to turn her two youngest kids into stars. And Lindsay's DUI arrest made it tough for underage girls to get into L.A. clubs after the MTV Movie Awards. Michael Moore has lost 30 pounds eating whole grains and sleeping more. Harvey Weinstein is an investor at Bungalow 8 doorman Armin Amiri's new club, Socialista. Angelina Jolie is spending time with her children at the expense of spending time with Brad Pitt. Gwyneth Paltrow and David Byrne are bad tippers. Cameron Diaz gave André Balazs a neck rub.
Speaking of parties and pools, last night was also the relaunch party for Kelly Klein's coffee-table book Pools, a volume of photographs of, well, swimming pools. It was held, naturally, at midtown's Hotel QT, where you can take a dip while drinking at the lobby bar. Some boldfacers came and promptly left (ahem, Anna Wintour and Calvin Klein) while other stuck around and talked about their most memorable pool moments. “I’ve actually jumped into this pool with a wig on," André Balazs, who owns the hotel, told us. "I had my birthday party here last year, where everybody got an Afro wig, because it looked like the kind of hair I used to have in high school." Olivia Chantecaille's top moment was pet-oriented. “I trained my dog to retrieve a bone from the bottom of the pool,” she told us, assuring us the pooch is fine playing fetch without oxygen. Aerin Lauder, meantime, was in mommy mode. “You know what, one of my kids went to the bathroom in the pool,” she said. “It was a pee-pee, so it was okay. But a sopping-wet diaper in a pool is a disgusting thing." And we were surprised no one else had Kelly Klein's answer. What was her craziest pool behavior? She lowered her voice, winked, and said, “Um, I bleeped. A lot.” —Genevieve LeonEarlier:At DVF Opening, It's Everybody Into the Pool!
Designer Vera Wang is suing another Vera Wang for copyright infringement. Bonnie Fuller is looking to branch into TV, and her NYU film-student son may be involved. Silly Billy, the clown from weird documentary Capturing the Friedmans, now goes the name by Dr. Blood. André Balazs and Naomi Campbell might be dating. An upcoming bio of Condi Rice claims she's accrued power personally but not professionally. The broker for Bob Guccione's East Side mansion (current asking price: $50 million) quit. Ellen Barkin reiterates that she regrets marrying Ron Perelman. Gisele will jump ship to H&M when her contract with Victoria's Secret expires. Court TV is going through a rebranding process.