You have to hand it to The Standard: The hotel brand is approaching its 25th anniversary in 2024 and still manages to pack its hotels and litany of rooftop nightlife spots with guests and gawkers dying to be on the “it list.”
Those fan-favorite “Sex and the City” episodes shot at the now-shuttered The Standard, Hollywood — and its infamous living art installation, “The Box,” in the lobby — are nearly a quarter-century old. That said, the line remains out the door and down the block at New York City’s The Standard, High Line, where admission to the rooftop bar Le Bain is the modern equivalent of a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
But the team at Standard International — The Standard’s parent company that also operates brands like Bunkhouse and Peri — isn’t just relying on future growth to stem from 25 years of momentous cool factor. The company on Tuesday revealed a new brand, The StandardX, aimed at being a “rebellious younger sibling” to The Standard that should provide a somewhat streamlined offering as well as a more affordable nightly rate.
The first hotel, The StandardX, Melbourne, is slated to open in Australia’s second-largest city in February. A youthful brand that doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of The Standard might seem like an easy way for Standard International to quickly grow in cities that wouldn’t necessarily be the right fit for the more established brand. However, Standard International CEO Amber Asher indicated the new brand is more about curated growth in distinct, cultural neighborhoods around the world.
“[The StandardX hotels] will be in neighborhoods that we think fit this new brand,” Asher said in an interview with TPG ahead of the brand launch. “We’re not creating the brand just to grow it. We’re creating the brand for the opportunity to be in a neighborhood and to explore things in a different way.”
What to expect at The StandardX
The StandardX gets its name largely from its brand mission: to still offer the “X Factor” of The Standard despite being a more distilled concept.
Guest rooms are more minimalist than what you’d find at The Standard; they start at around 226 square feet and go up to around 538 square feet, Asher said. At The StandardX, Melbourne, room categories range from Cozy King to Suite Spot.
By comparison, an entry-level room at The Standard, High Line, starts at 250 square feet and goes up to the 875-square-foot Empire One-Bedroom Suite. Anytime you hear about smaller rooms with smart, minimalist design, competing brands like Marriott’s Moxy or Ennismore’s The Hoxton might come to mind. Both brands typically have entry-level guest rooms that clock in below 200 square feet, making The StandardX a roomier option for travelers.
The Standard might have a mix of renowned nightlife, destination restaurants and neighborhood eateries to round out the food and beverage program at that brand’s hotel lineup. Meanwhile, The StandardX will focus on culinary offerings more oriented toward the local neighborhood.
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Guest room decor at the 125-room Melbourne property is unfussy, and renderings show a roomy, upholstered bed as the focal point. But guests can still expect amenities like 24-hour room service and concierge service. Further, guests can experience heightened design in public areas like the hotel’s rooftop — accessible only to hotel guests — or the loft-style lobby, complete with a fireplace and work from local artists like Sarah Smalltown.
In Melbourne’s Fitzroy neighborhood, the upcoming The StandardX hotel aims to meld with the enclave known for punk rock nightlife, record stores and writer hangouts. While Melbourne might have birthed Kylie Minogue (who would almost certainly have a good time here), one can’t help but feel as though The StandardX might be more of a fit for some of the city’s other famous residents or natives like Troye Sivan and Ruby Rose.
“We think about it as a neighborhood that’s beloved by locals but one that maybe the international traveler wouldn’t have on their radar,” Asher said of neighborhoods that would be a perfect fit for future The StandardX hotels. “It would be that kind of neighborhood you want to discover and that locals would understand and know all the cool parts of it. We’re trying to bring people into those neighborhoods.”
Asher specifically pointed to areas like Brooklyn, East Austin in Texas, Shoreditch in London or Old Town Bangkok as strong fits for The StandardX. Cities that might not be able to handle nightly rates of The Standard could also be good contenders for The StandardX.
Introductory rates for The StandardX, Melbourne begin at 259 Australian dollars ($168) per night.
“It’ll be a more affordable option, but you’ll still be getting the essence of The Standard,” Asher said.
Not losing sight of The Standard
Just because The StandardX is the shiny new brand doesn’t mean Standard International is moving focus away from the brand that made it famous. The Standard is still expected to comprise about 75% of the combined The Standard and The StandardX portfolio, Asher said.
There are currently 10 Standard hotels in the development pipeline, with upcoming openings slated for Singapore, Lisbon, Brussels and Dublin. Asher indicated significant growth is also expected in Latin America.
“That’s always going to be our sweet spot of what we do,” Asher said.