Where It's Chic To Sleep

Ian Schrager's edgy inns are leading a boutique-hotel boom. But is there room for so many players?

For a shy guy who never advertises and doesn't hang a sign on the door, Ian Schrager sure knows how to draw a crowd. At the recent opening bash for St. Martins Lane, his first London hotel, there were enough celebrities milling about, from Brad Pitt to Kate Moss, to pack a Hollywood premiere.

In the minimalist lobby, designer Philippe Starck's trademark, absurdist touch was at full volume: painted white with touches of fluorescent yellow, it featured an oversize, 8-ft.-tall vase filled with hydrangeas; gold-leaf stools shaped like molars; and a collection of giant chess pieces straight out of Alice in...

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