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The celebrity owner of the Delano Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla., Ian Schrager, once said, “I want the experience of staying at one of my hotels to be more like seeing a great movie, reading a wonderful book, or watching a memorable play.” But if one high-powered guest who checked into Schrager’s chic Delano over New Year’s 2002 were to compare his stay to a movie, it might be John Belushi’s “Animal House.” The guest, Patrick Heiniger, president and CEO of Swiss watchmaker Rolex S.A., claims in a lawsuit that while he and his family were out dining on New Year’s Eve, the hotel management –without his permission — used his family’s luxury bungalows for a wild party that allegedly included a heavy dose of drugs and sex, while charging him for the rooms. The lawsuit also claims that after an outraged Heiniger checked out of the hotel the next day, a week before planned, the hotel still charged him for the final seven days of his reservation. Heiniger, who has headed Geneva-based Rolex since 1992, was so incensed that he hired David Boies’ law firm, Boies Schiller & Flexner, to sue the hotel. Last week, the lawsuit was filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court by Mark J. Heise, a partner at Boies Schiller in Miami, alleging breach of contract and invasion of privacy. The lawsuit seeks return of Heiniger’s hotel bill for the surprise New Year’s Eve bash and the unused portions of his reservation — which cost $8,000 a night — plus any other money the court deems appropriate. The case is before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jennifer D. Bailey. Heise declined to comment on the suit. Gerald McKelvey, a spokesman for New York City-based Ian Schrager Hotels, also declined to comment, saying the company hadn’t yet been served notice of the suit. Schrager, who owns a number of luxury hotels, including the Mondrian in Los Angeles and Morgans in New York City, recently bought a minority share of the Shore Club in Miami Beach. He is known for creating unique hotels that cater to the rich and trendy. Schrager previously made his reputation with hot nightclubs such as Studio 54 in Manhattan. Schrager’s company Internet site says of him: “Schrager’s role when developing a new hotel is more that of social scientist than conventional businessman.” But Heiniger’s lawsuit claims that the Delano management ignored some key conventions of the hotel business. According to the complaint, on Dec. 26, Heiniger and several family members checked into posh Bungalows 4 and 5 and Room 1401 for a two-week stay. From the start, Heiniger alleges, the hotel’s service fell woefully short. “The level of service of a luxury hotel was seriously lacking, ranging from a failure to provide daily room cleaning to an insufficient number of lounge chairs at the beach.” But such inconveniences pale in comparison to what Heiniger alleges happened next. According to his complaint, he and family and friends went to the pricey Miami Beach restaurant the Forge on New Year’s Eve. “After opening wine but before they had the opportunity to begin eating,” Heiniger claims, he received a shocking phone call from a friend at the Delano, informing him that the family’s bungalows looked like a debauched, late 1970s scene from Schrager’s Studio 54. “Upon arriving at Bungalows 4 and 5, it was complete chaos,” according to the complaint. “People were mingling in front of each bungalow and dozens of people were inside — getting drunk, doing drugs, lounging in the beds, laying in the bathtub, clearing out the minibar and stealing items belonging to Mr. Heiniger and his guests.” “There was junk strewn everywhere,” the lawsuit says, “from alcohol bottles to used condoms, and the flooring and walls were filthy.” To make matters worse, Heiniger alleges, as the revelers attempted to flee, they knocked his fianc�e’s elderly mother to the floor, causing “grave bodily injury to her.” Not only did Delano Hotel employees refuse to call police, he claims, but the “Delano’s agents began yelling and threatening Mr. Heiniger, his family and guests.” The hotel eventually sent a team of maids to clean up the mess. But that wasn’t nearly enough, Heiniger says: “The bungalows were so badly trashed by the intruders that new mattresses had to be brought in.” The next morning, Heiniger alleges, he was unable to find out how the partiers accessed his two bungalows or who authorized it. “Despite repeated phone calls, no manager ever contacted the plaintiff. … No one at the Delano explained the situation,” he alleges. The Rolex CEO was further enraged when, after he hastily checked out of the hotel on New Year’s Day — a full week before his planned departure — the hotel not only charged him for the “New Year’s Eve Disaster,” as he calls it, but for rest of the reserved week as well. “As a result of [the Delano's] material breach as an innkeeper to provide safe and secure luxury accommodations, the Delano was not entitled to collect charges from Dec. 31, 2001 through Jan. 6, 2002,” the complaint reads. Perhaps the lawsuit could have been avoided if Heiniger had studied Schrager’s Web site before reserving at the Delano. Here’s what it says about the experience of staying in a Schrager hotel: “It is the collision of styles and ideas — the ability to embrace a bit of chaos and a fearlessness in challenging convention that creates energy and produces a layered and sophisticated environment.” Judging from the Swiss watchmaker’s complaint, that is an understatement.

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