The list of projects is staggering. Lot 61, Bungalow 8, Bette Restaurant-the list goes on-all New York City fixtures, all successful beyond belief. The attention to detail required to mastermind each is equally impressive, literally taking up the 24/7 schedule of one of the world’s foremost entrepreneurs.
Hey, don’t blame Amy Sacco, with her “I don’t live to work, I work to live” attitude, for bringing an insomniac approach to The City That Never Sleeps.
Our interview is living proof that Sacco, whose success matches her mighty work ethic, truly eats, sleeps, and breathes her business projects. Unbeknownst to us, Sacco is conducting the interview from her car.
On her way to Las Vegas.
“There’s no method to my madness,” Sacco says, laughing. “It’s just what I do.” She matter-of-factly reminds us that her trip to Vegas is on no whim: “I’m the creative director of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.”
Indeed, while her successes abound in New York City, Sacco’s projects are developed beyond borders. In addition to her work with Las Vegas’ Hard Rock, Sacco recently opened a Bungalow 8 in London, and, though she is not at liberty to discuss, Sacco is constantly brought on board for up-and-coming projects with a multitude of companies, where her stylistic expertise and innovative brainstorming are highly regarded by business associates.
“I give projects some vision by bringing in some of the different genres of people that I know. I have a very cross-cultural, very trans-generational group of people that I work with, from hipsters to high-brow architects,” Sacco explains. “And, because I’ve worked with them, or they’ve been clients of mine throughout the years, I’m able to bring that to the table and kind of look ahead and do some forecasting on what I think will be the next thing to have.” In other words: She comes, she sees, and she most definitely conquers.
Sacco’s impact has been immediate and profound, as she’s set up a specific terminal for the airline, which runs from JFK International Airport in New York to London’s Stansted.
Take, for example, her latest endeavor at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which was recently acquired by Morgan’s Hotel Group in a $770 million deal. The youth, the power of the brand name, and, above all, the opportunity for improvement were all characteristics of the venture that piqued Sacco’s interest in the Hard Rock project. To hear Sacco speak of Hard Rock is akin to a proud mother reeling off a list of her child’s abilities.
“The general core of Hard Rock is that we are rock n’ roll, we are cool, it’s hip, it’s young, and it’s sexy, so [for me] it’s almost a walk in the park to come in and be able to get something that great to work with,” she says exuberantly. “But you also have to be careful not to take anything far away from what the core of the brand actually is. So, basically, what I’m doing is I’m a brand evaluator, and a brand enhancer, and I think that’s the strength of my company.”
When Sacco says “my company,” she is not referring to any sort of extensive staff or coalition. No, Sacco’s “company” is truly the Sacco “brand”-her unique understanding of various demographics, her on-point assessments of trends, and her ability to sort through thousands of opportunities presented to her and find the most important, groundbreaking ones on which to focus. It’s no small task, and surely something beyond the number-crunching ability of a “company.”
Which is why companies like Eos Airlines come-no pun intended-flying in.
Sacco, the creative director for Eos, had a natural reason to become involved with the ultra-exclusive airline: “because I have to fly between New York and London three times a month!” And Eos, obviously, had a natural reason to seek Sacco’s direction: her attention to detail.
“From the time you walk in, how you’re greeted, served, taken care of, how fast the service is, what kind of food you’re served, the way it looks, the way it feels, how you enjoy the plane-I think of new ways that are outside the box, because really it’s a first-class airline,” she says excitedly. And Sacco’s impact has been immediate and profound, as she’s set up a specific terminal for the airline, which runs from JFK International Airport in New York to London’s Stansted. Likewise, Sacco is working to expand the company’s roots, as “I’m desperate for them to at least fly to Los Angeles. I think they should have at least six flights a day there.”
Sacco has been similarly instrumental in spearheading District, where she is the lifestyle consultant for the downtown New York luxury condominium development, located at the corner of Ann, William, and Fulton Streets. For Sacco, wanting to be a part of something great is the true measure of a worthwhile business investment. Sacco is eagerly awaiting the chance to move into the swank building, where, she says, her condo will be ready “in July or August.
“Basically, what I’m doing there is I’m putting in the retail mix of what goes hand in hand with the way the condominium runs. Also, there will be a salon-spa service, a restaurant, which will be useful for the entire neighborhood,” she quips. The 163-unit building is almost sold out, with prices starting in the $600s, ranging to over $3.5 million for the penthouses. Designed by Karl Fischer Architects, with interior designs by Andrés Escobar, “the product is really great, just simple, elegant, well done, crisp, not too stark, not too modern. They’re comfortable-mine is awesome!”
Awesome is an understatement. Sacco’s three-bedroom penthouse epitomizes the District lifestyle, down to her plan for a terrace hot tub-perfect for a much-deserved soak after a long day’s work. “The first thing I put in my nightclubs is a disco ball; the first thing I want in my house is a hot tub,” she deadpans.
Sitting back and relaxing will have to wait, though. Sacco has been flying to and from London lately to check in on the smashing success that is the London expansion of her world-famous Bungalow 8, a Manhattan nightclub fixture among the hottest celebrities. With an invitation-only list of 1,000 members (ranging from socialites to actors), Bungalow 8 is just another example of Sacco’s masterful understanding of what people want.
“I was actually approached a long time ago by Ian Schrager [creator of Morgans Hotel Group] to do the space next door to where I actually am now, and it just worked out that, years later, things were changing in his company [Schrager left Morgans Hotel Group in 2005 to start Ian Schrager Company],” Sacco says about the opportunity. “I was in London for a friend’s birthday, and [Morgans Hotel Group] actually called me per chance when I was in London, and they asked me if I wanted to do it. I went back to take a look at the other space-which had not originally been available because it had a tenant for years-and I just took it because I always had wanted to.”
With Ben Pundole-whom Sacco had brought on board as a manager at Lot 61-as managing partner, Bungalow 8 opened in London to rave reviews, just in time for Fashion Week in October. Meanwhile, Sacco got busy penning a new book, about her favorite night-life accessory: the cocktail. While her nightclubs are too exclusive for most to ever step foot inside, Sacco’s new book allows mixed-beverage aficionados to enjoy a taste-literally-of what it might be like.
“Ultimate Cocktails,” a collection of illustrations, recipes, and stories on the world’s sexiest drinks, was released in Spring 2006, and gives readers the chance to sample the favorite mixes from the bars at Sacco’s world-famous clubs. And it is, to be sure, only appropriate that Sacco’s cocktail book is just as successful as her other ventures. Her sixth sense for style and sophistication has put Sacco-whether it is her work in nightclubs, hotels, or airlines-into a class all by herself: