Hip, hot, cool, cutting-edge are the sorts of overexcited words inevitably chosen to describe the 10 entries in the high-profile portfolio of high-profile hotels that high-profile hotelier Ian Schrager has built over the past 23 years. But with the reopening of the venerable Gramercy Park Hotel at 2 Lexington Avenue in New York, such breathless words no longer apply. This time around, words that better describe Schrager's $210 million renovation of the formerly 506-room hotel are different, the very antithesis of all that heart-racing hyperbole.

Evocative, eccentric, eclectic, personal are the words best suited to characterize the now 185-room hotel, which announces its departure from Schrager's familiar modern aesthetic at the street, where the hotelier played it polite, installing a new limestone façade at the building's two-story base. Indeed, in the scheme he opted for at the Gramercy, Schrager turns his back on virtually everything he has done to date. Good-bye, Philippe Starck, Schrager's designer of choice for eight of his 10 hotels. And good-bye to everything that ultraprolific Paris-based enfant terrible of design stands for—slick, tongue-in-cheek wit, irony, surrealism, whimsy, and jet-set modernism. Hello, Julian Schnabel, the artist and old friend Schrager entrusted to reinvent the Gramercy Park Hotel's brave new old-world aesthetic...meaning hello flamboyant gestures and grand allusions and chic sensuality; hello regal, overscale furniture and bronze fittings and lush carpets and massive fireplaces and enough red silk velvet to outfit a turn-of-the-20th-century bordello in Paris.

"It's not just a hotel, it's an experience we're selling here," says Schrager. "We wanted to capture the kind of spontaneity you find in an artist's studio or an artist's home...not a gallery, not a museum, but a kind of singular, eclectic vision.... Bohemian. Very bohemian. And edgy."

Get the full story at Travel+Leisure