Don't book until you see the whites of their walls

Guests at Schrager hotels do despicable things like wear Prada down to breakfast
For years there have been rumours that Ian Schrager, the American who almost single-handedly invented the so-called "designer hotel", has had his eyes set on London. And for years nothing has happened. But now comes news that he is the mystery buyer of the famous Lumiere art-house cinema on St Martin's Lane, the office block that rises above it, as well as a neighbouring restaurant. Apparently Schrager plans to spend pounds 25 million turning this site into a hotel fit for the capital's hippest visitors; a venue to rival his New York establishments The Century, Morgans and The Royalton, the Delano in Miami, and the Mondrian in LA.

British style pundits are jumping with joy (but not too high in case they snap the heels of their Manolo Blahnik shoes) because Schrager is regarded as the world's most "directional" hotelier. Long before Ikea arrived on the scene he was frantically chucking out the chintz, and camping up his hotels with the minimalist chic of the French designer Philippe Starck. Schrager's hotels are also justly famous for their cool bars (the Whisky Bar in The Century is co-owned with Matt Dillon) and happening restaurants (Madonna is his business partner on the Blue Door at the Delano). Not surprisingly this dedication to creating hotels for the fashion crowd means that his US establishments are regularly packed out with stars, and those who think they're stars.

But before you start fretting about when you'll be able to squeeze a stay in to your frantic diary, there are some words of warning that you really need to read - and having stayed at the all-white Delano on Miami's South Beach, I feel well-placed to bring you up to speed on designer-hotel etiquette.

Top tip, and this is a lesson I learned the hard way, be prejudiced. It's time you realised once and for all that pretty people ain't bright. You need to remember this because Schrager employs wannabe models, actors and arty types to staff the public areas of his hotels (people with pimples are banished to the kitchens and laundry) and sometimes you get the feeling that perhaps waitressing isn't really much of a passion for these sticks on stilettos.

When I stayed at the Delano with my other half, we soon discovered that if you dared to ask any vaguely cute-looking waiter or waitress to bring you a drink, let alone a sandwich, then you had about a one-in-10 chance of ever getting it. Guests sitting around the pool laughed at us for even trying: "You'll never see that sandwich - we ordered yesterday and we still haven't eaten," they joked. I often thought that if the staff took off their sunglasses and spent a few cents on a pen and a pad, then we would have stood a better chance of receiving some nourishment. However, when someone plain came our way, we knew that we could give them the most complex of orders and relax in the knowledge that sustenance was on its way.

Another useful Schrager holiday suggestion is pack every decent outfit in your wardrobe. Guests at Schrager hotels do despicable things like wear Prada down to breakfast and turn up at the gym (you're probably beginning to realise that these are not establishments where you go to relax, but sartorial and body-fascist initiations of fire) in Armani jogging pants. Even the men, actually especially the men, refuse to go to the pool in the same swim suit twice. And be warned, the staff wear designer uniforms that will make you look like a scragbag if you don't pay constant attention to your attire.

If the Lumiere venture looks anything like The Century, Delano or Mondrian, don't imagine that you'll be able to relax once you get to your room. The all-white walls, sheets, and even floors, mean that if you drop a lone cookie crumb then the room looks trashed. Also, in these Arctic white rooms there's that frightening moment every morning - just as you're easing yourself into consciousness - when you open your eyes and think "I'm in hospital!".

After five days in a Schrager hotel, you'll have lost half-a-stone, made no new friends, and yearn for the wonderful world of Laura Ashley. Anyhow, enough of this. I've got a reservation to make.

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