Mondrian Soho, Soho, Manhattan, New York, NY, United States ***

Q: What is it? A: A design-y hotel belonging to the Morgans Hotel Group located in downtown Manhattan. Rooms are nice. Staff members are (often) nice. But some little quite unnecessary flaws bring down the number of stars.

Mondrian Soho, New York – garden, entrance in daylight
The entrance from 9 Crosby Street in daylight. There’s another entrance on 150 Lafayette Street. If you have a lot of luggage, you may just as well ask your cabbie to take you there as it’s way more convenient.

Mondrian Soho, New York – bedroom
It’s the bedroom. It’s fine. It has a view. It comes with the touch of indoor design wizard Benjamin Noriega Ortiz. But the sharp corners of that bed platform. Oh, those sharp corners… They sure did hurt. Ouch.

Mondrian Soho, New York – living room
This huge couch is a luxury not often seen in hotel rooms. It’s an OK idea if your roommate doesn’t want to watch the same TV-show as you. But it’s rather a sad thought; two people watching different programmes in different areas of a hotel room.

Mondrian Soho, New York – writer's desk
Honestly, what is it with hotels and iPads? As soon as they want to give me the impression of being a hi-tech place, they do it with a Cupertino twist. That piece of glass… I will only touch it if I must. What’s wrong with written info in a binder?

Mondrian Soho, New York – minibar, glasses
Where all budgets go bust. We will complain over extra baggage fees, or take a red-eye flight in order to save a sawbuck, and swear loudly over having to pay for WiFi… but we will gladly buy a miniature packet of gummy bears for eight dollars.

Mondrian Soho, New York – garden, entrance
This garden is a little fenced courtyard on the Crosby Street-side of the hotel, nicely lit up at night. Inside, you’ll find the not-so-pleasant bars (read below!) and the lobby. Front desk is located on the 1st floor.

Mondrian Soho, New York – lobby
The lobby, inspired by John Cocteau’s ”La Belle et Le Bête”. Yes, that’s the 1946 version of ”Beauty and the Beast”. There are other Morgans Hotel Group lobbies that has the same vibe, like for instance Sanderson in London.

Honestly, I couldn’t see Mondrian coming to Manhattan…
In my book the Mondrian brand is a tad too bright and sunny to fit in Manhattan. But according to the Morgans Hotel Group, ”Mondrian is a place to see-and-be-seen. Here we believe in the perfect moment, where confidence reigns and perpetual possibility awaits. Intense, current, and playful…” Apparently, little details such as location doesn’t bother them. OK then. so will this place where glamour and fantasy prevail fit the bill? First impression is great. Employee of the Month at the Mondrian should be Vladimir, a bell-boy with a personality who obviously likes his job. A little glamour? Yes, perhaps.

It’s essentially 270 guestrooms wrapped in glass…
…sandwiched between two brick buildings in Soho. Benjamin Noriega Ortiz – who did Lenny Kravitz’ house in Miami as well as serving as Sean Puff Daddy/Diddy/P Diddy/Didgeridoo Coombs’ personal decorator – created the interior. The entire hotel is like a Miles Davis record; kind of blue. The (blue) oversized furniture and (blue) funky lamps in the lobby instantly remind me of the Philippe Starck-designed Sanderson. And just like the Sanderson, rooms are more on the functional side and way less spectacular than the public spaces. Mirrors, comfy beds and floor-to-cieling windows are the things that stand out. And one thing I’ll never get used to is the in-room iPad from which you’re supposed to order room service or just browse newspapers. What’s wrong with binders? I guess there’s a reason my iPad is collecting dust.

Not all staff members are Vladimirs…
One odd design solution: You’ll find front desk on the 1st floor. My guess is that the entrance level is the scene where you want to be seen and not the place for stuff like hotel bills to be settled. Front desk staff were super-friendly and very helpful. Five stars! But I can’t but question the concierge’s motif for choosing Burger & Barrel for lunch; a so-called ‘gastropub’ where they’d heard nothing about a reservation from Mondrian Soho. However, the major disappointment of this hotel were the folks manning the Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar. Being ignored for 15 minutes and not being allowed to order in a bar with… less than a dozen guests? Well, dear Mondrian management, that leaves a rather serious mark in my book, written in red, underlined so many times that the pencil will pierce the paper. Leaving was the only sensible thing to do. And, for the record, I was definitely in a bar mood that night, so they lost way an unhealthy piece of business. It puzzles me that this can happen in a gratuity-based economy. Next time I’ll bring my old friend Lenny Kravitz. Maybe he can help.

How many Mondrians do this world need?
London, Doha, the Bahamas and Istanbul… those are the next locations for new Mondrians. But do we need more of this? Well, location is awsum and rooms and public spaces are spectacular or better than average. But the experience is wobbly; within hours I experienced superb, sub-par and unacceptable service. Which in turn means that the price tag feels way too high. I’ll gladly book myself in here soon again, to see if they are improving. Or maybe I will not. Rumour has it that there are litigations between owners and operators, which may force the Morgans Hotel Group out of the Mondrian Soho altogether. That would be too bad because it’s not a too bad a hotel. It just has a few flaws that could be fixed quite easily. Taking guests orders in the bar is not exactly like inventing a new type of rocket fuel – or is it?

Mondrian Soho
9 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10013
United States


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