24-hour Room Service: Mondrian SoHo, New York City

Manhattan high-rise with a party vibe

The Mondrian SoHo is a hotel for rich people who still wear trainers. Spotless vintage trainers, perhaps, but trainers nonetheless. Happily, everyone else is allowed to stay here, too. The third in the Mondrian line of hip hotels after Los Angeles and Miami, and the fourth Morgan's Group establishment in New York City, this is, however, the first of the firm's ventures to open up in happening Lower Manhattan.

Its Crosby Street location makes the Mondrian a direct competitor for the recently opened Crosby Street Hotel, a couple of blocks north. But it's more brash than its rival, a boutique on a blockbuster scale, with what you'd have to reluctantly describe as "a party vibe".

The lobby seems busy with an entertainment industry crowd: band managers, models, film producers. Alicia Keys supposedly lives nearby in Lenny Kravitz's old apartment; the roof garden is visible from the upper floors. As is most of the rest of Downtown: with 25 storeys of fritted glass, the newly built Mondrian is now the neighbourhood's tallest (and shiniest) building.

The clean white lines of the interior are offset by eclectic custom-designed furniture, all of which feels positively Californian – not surprising, perhaps, since it was designed by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, the man responsible for the Mondrian Los Angeles. His work for the SoHo site was inspired by Jean Cocteau's 1946 film La Belle et La Bête: the candlelit, topiary-lined entrance tunnel leading to the front door, for instance, and the recurring rose motif that features throughout the building.

Imperial No. Nine, the in-house restaurant, is a destination in itself. The dashing chef Sam Talbot is a minor celebrity thanks to a stint on Top Chef, the US equivalent of Masterchef: The Professionals, and has been running a well-respected restaurant on Long Island until now. His "sustainable seafood" menu at Imperial No. Nine leads with a selection of delicious small plates, while breakfast includes eggs slow-poached for 45 minutes to create, he claims, "the perfect egg". (If it's not perfect, it's pretty darn good.)

Music is a major presence throughout the hotel, perhaps a reflection of its clientele: it's piped into the lobby, the darkened lifts and the restaurant. You may have to raise your voice to conduct a dinner conversation (Imperial No. Nine doubles as a trendy bar), but the waiters seem content to take orders whatever the volume. Whoever compiles the playlists of alternative guitar music has impeccable taste.

Location

SoHo is where New York's most beautiful people waft along the streets between Broadway and Lafayette, their sky-high heels miraculously untroubled by the cobbles. It's at the heart of Downtown and no more than a swift subway ride across the river to Brooklyn. Stick nearby, though, and you'll find Crosby Street clogged with furniture stores, a high-end flea market and designer clothing outlets. Almost next door to the Mondrian is Saturday's Surf, a surf and clothing shop that doubles as a café. Just round the corner is the hipster department store Opening Ceremony, and the hotel is just a short stroll from the shopping and coffee-drinking cluster of Prince and Spring Streets.

McNally Jackson, one of New York's finest independent bookstores, is on Prince Street. And casting its crooked shadow across the Bowery is contemporary art gallery the New Museum – worth the walk if only to see its stacked-white boxes exterior, which rivals the uptown Guggenheim for eccentric institutional architecture. Its Japanese architects were the recipients of last year's Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Nightlife is never far away in Lower Manhattan. The casually super-cool Café Select is around the corner on Lafayette, just opposite the faux-secret Mexican restaurant (and celebrity hotpsot) La Esquina – which also serves fabulous Mexican street food to its less famous lunch crowd. If you'd rather stay within the Mondrian's confines, you could pass a lively evening at the downstairs bar, Mister H: a blood-red prohibition-speakeasy-cum-opium-den straight out of 1920s Chinatown, it's a far cry from the chilled reserve of the rest of the hotel.

Comfort

The décor is sparing, but far from spartan. Each of the hotel's 270 guestrooms follows the same restrained blue, white and silver colour scheme. Many are cut in two: both the bedroom and the sitting room with its chrome desk and hearty couch come with a large flatscreen television. Four large suites with their own terraces are topped by the vast 25th-floor penthouse.

Even when the rooms aren't especially spacious, they feel it, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Depending on your room's orientation (and the floor number), you could have a spectacular view of the Empire State Building, or across the West Side to the Hudson river and New Jersey beyond – and that's just from the shower. Alicia Keys could probably see you soaping yourself if she had some decent binoculars. Still, that's a small price to pay.

Not quite so small is the $10-a-day fee (£6.70) for a Wi-Fi connection, but you can swipe some of the complimentary Malin+Goetz toiletries from your bathroom to make up for that.

The writer flew to New York as a guest of Virgin Atlantic (0844 2092 770; virginatlantic.com). Return fares from Heathrow to New York start at £368.

Mondrian SoHo9 Crosby Street,New York City, US (001 212 389 1000; mondriansoho.com)

Rooms 5 stars
Value 4 stars
Service 4 stars

Double rooms start at $309 (£190), room only; discounts for booking one month ahead.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on