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- The Mondrian New York Park Avenue is a five-star, boutique property designed in collaboration with Philippe Starck.
- I was swayed to stay for a night thanks to low rates and strong new COVID-19 policies, though not all amenities were available.
- I booked a Superior King for $139 plus a $35 resort fee and was upgraded to a Balcony King at no extra cost.
- Read more: Is it safe to stay in a hotel right now? An infectious disease doctor, a cleaning expert, and hotel reps all share what you should know before you check-in.
It's hard for a hotel to stand out in New York City, where there are so many exceptional offerings, but The Mondrian Park Avenue has a lot going for it, including its enviable Park Avenue location.
The 189-room hotel, which is part of hospitality brand sbe, is housed in a 20-story building that dates back to 1918. Opening to wide acclaim in 2017, the hotel enjoys a high level of design detail, including the deft touches of famed interior stylist Philippe Starck and striking artworks curated by his daughter, Ara Starck. The money spent transforming the property is apparent at every turn, sbe never being one to shy away from conspicuous displays of luxury.
Its plum location on Park Avenue in the NoMad neighborhood, coupled with its artistic bent, desirable restaurant, Cleo, and nightclub offerings, should certainly have the hotel bubbling up on any round-up of the best New York City hotels. These pedigrees alone make the hotel a serious competitor within Manhattan's luxury hotel market, but its current shockingly low prices make it a true standout, especially compared to luxurious New York mainstays such as The Langham or The Lowell.
The available rate at the time of booking was near-impossible to resist. Pre-pandemic prices clocked in at somewhere in the region of $300 per night for an entry-level room (up to $500 per night in high season). But I snagged an entry-level room for just $139 plus fees, which is virtually unheard of for a five-star stay in Manhattan. The COVID-era bargain prompted me to book a room for a holiday weekend night in late November.
Hotels have had to up their offerings to attract what little business there is, and the Mondrian is no exception. In addition to the low starting rate, the following perks were bundled in for free: a 2 p.m. check-in and check-out time, a $10 minibar credit, and a free continental breakfast. These came with regular amenity offerings such as complimentary yoga classes on the terrace, free use of a nearby gym, and a discount at neighboring Equinox Spa.
Sadly, the restaurant and club were closed, but I still felt that it was a great price. The value was further increased with a slight upgrade to a Balcony King on arrival, due to fewer guests currently staying at the hotel. I was happy to find the hotel's impressive outward appearance was backed up by practical safety measures and its new COVID-19 protocols were executed well.
My room was small with a slightly retro feel that may not appeal to all, but given the price, location, and the extras included in my stay, I would happily return in a heartbeat.
- The first impression
- The room
- On-site amenities
- What's nearby
- What others say
- What you need to know
- COVID-19 policies
- The bottom line
- Book The Mondrian Park Avenue starting at $139 per night
Keep reading to see why I was so impressed by the Mondrian Park Avenue.
The hotel's name obviously implies some kind of homage to the French artist Piet Mondrian, and subtle nods to his angular, geometric work are on display from the outset, glass and steel rectangles forming floor to ceiling exterior windows and delivering the designer's overture as you arrive.
I had seen photos of the striking lobby, and although I was disappointed that the large stone and wooden circle of seating had been removed, there was artistic flare enough to still be somewhat impressed. Large, colorful abstractions of organic shapes soared above me as I approached the desk, landing with a visual punch.
The desk had been nicely modified for COVID-era transactions, plastic screens erected along the front with notices about social distancing and hand sanitizer bottles for guests' use. As I was checked in, I selected my own key cards from a tray and held them on the machine to be charged, which thoughtfully minimized physical interactions.
The desk staff was on point with their manners and friendliness, something that's not always a guarantee in Manhattan hotels. As noted, I received a slight upgrade, which I was exceedingly pleased about, especially since I was given a 16th-floor room just above their much-touted 15th-floor terrace.
I was efficiently dispatched and rode the elevator, which had a note prompting social distancing and was decorated with life-sized drawings of charming, cartoonish crowds more reticent of Keith Haring than Mondrian.
My much-appreciated upgrade from Superior King to Balcony King came with just a slight increase in space, up to 275 square feet from 270 square feet. A Balcony Suite ups the floor space to 525 square feet and comes with a living space, but the price jumps to over $300 per night, and so it's a sizeable investment.
Despite the small interiors, I found the Balcony King to be perfectly comfortable, though the proportions could be more balanced in my opinion. 275 feet isn't a huge amount of space to play with, though it's not terrible for a Manhattan hotel room. However, the bedroom felt slightly small compared to the spacious bathroom, which included unused space that could have been better served as part of the bedroom. There's nothing to change that decision now, though, and it was a minor inconvenience for me as a solo traveler.
The interior design was impressive and kept with the artistic theme, though the details were redolent of a luxury hotel in the 1990s. I found it rather appealing, though some might be tempted to call it dated despite the hotel being rather new.
Angular glass and steel materials were softened by muted earth tones, such as the dark brown carpet with a unique wood grain pattern, but there were still pops of color that kept it from being stuffy.
The comfy King Bed took up the majority of the space and featured a mirrored headboard with abstract works of art lined up above it. The bed was flanked by a small work table and an open closet that worked as a midcentury modern, modular storage unit.
The feature piece of furniture was a large bar-type table. It was topped with a resin, Mondrian-style map of Manhattan, and some of the squares were colored in with the artist's trademark primary colors. The unit, on closer inspection, housed the small minibar with drinks and snacks, as well as a safe. It reminded me of a stylized flight attendant's cabinet.
A comfy robe was a welcome amenity found hanging in the open closet, the only other notable touch being a knowingly 1980s-looking white telephone that added to the overall retro feel.
The room did not have any COVID-related signage and didn't look to have anything removed from the room. However, everything seemed very clean and well sanitized.
The bathroom was initially hidden behind a large, sliding, mirrored door, but stepping into it felt like boarding a spaceship. White was overwhelmingly the palate of the bathroom, and it had the design of a wet room, with tiling throughout and irregular-shaped, twin white porcelain sinks.
The large walk-in shower was similarly futuristic and had two rain showerheads. Again, the amount of space was pleasant, but it felt a little excessive compared to the bedroom. I did like the rough-hewn marble countertop in the bathroom, a touch that reinforced the luxe design elements of the hotel. It also came stocked with high-end bath products by Ciel.
The standing-room-only balcony was tiny, but it was still a nice addition that provided a way to take in a lovely city view.
The comfort of the bed coupled with the noise insulation made for a tranquil ambience, and I could not hear any traffic or other sounds from the street below. I slept very soundly, and beforehand took advantage of the Chromecast feature of the in-room TV by streaming a show from my phone to the large screen, which was a real boon. The Wi-Fi was also fast and reliable throughout my stay.
Housekeeping was available by request only, though I didn't need anything cleaned or restocked since I was only staying for one night.
As previously noted, an entry-level Superior King and my slightly larger Balcony King would be more than fine for a solo traveler, especially if you plan to mainly spend your time sight-seeing. But for a couple traveling with luggage, these rooms may feel like a squeeze and you may want to consider paying to upgrade to a suite, although $180 extra is quite a jump.
A mid-tier room like my upgrade currently runs about $35 more per night. Given that the balcony was not one that guests could sit out on and there was not much additional square footage added, I would hesitate before upgrading myself. However, if you're planning to do a longer stay, you might benefit from the option to open a door to the outdoors, and during COVID, some guests might further appreciate that option.
Overall, I felt my room was an exceptional value, especially given the extras of the check-in and check-out time, the minbar credit, and the breakfast voucher.
The hotel opened with some impressive facilities, however, there is a $35 nightly fee added on to the room price. While this might be worth it during non-pandemic times, I was disappointed that many of the amenities weren't available to me and that I had to pay the resort fee anyway.
The hotel's signature restaurant, Cleo, is helmed by Chef Danny Elmaleh and serves a well-reviewed menu of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine. The hotel also houses a discreet and exclusive subterranean nightclub, Yours Truly, a popular spot for in-the-know New York socialites.
Sadly neither of these places were open when I visited due to COVID restrictions. A further blow was delivered as I learned that the terrace, Fifteen Stories, was also closed, but only due to it being a holiday weekend. It's currently usually open for distanced drinks and light bites. I could see the terrace from my balcony and it looked very pleasant, decked out with plants and cute wooden benches.
I did have a cursory interest in the free stretching and yoga class that would have taken place at 8 a.m. the morning of my departure, but this was similarly a victim of the holiday schedule. I also didn't have the opportunity to take advantage of the 15% discount at the nearby Equinox Spa or the free access to the exercise facilities of New York Sports Club. These seem like attractive perks for regular times, but are less alluring during a pandemic.
With the restaurant closed, I did wonder how the marketed free breakfast would arrive. It turned out that the front desk issued a voucher for $10, to be used at a cafe down the block called Blank Slate.
This was only a small inconvenience, though I did have to pay a couple dollars out of pocket on top of the $10 voucher to cover the cost of my coffee and breakfast sandwich. This will be the system until the restaurant reopens, and although I felt that the hotel could have been more upfront about this, I appreciated that they are at least trying to honor the breakfast offer in a creative way.
The hotel is in the NoMad (Madison Square North) neighborhood of Manhattan. Madison Square Park itself and the 28th Street Metro station are within easy walking distance.
It's a relatively quiet spot for Manhattan, especially during the weekend, although guests can easily walk to more bustling areas such as the dining scene of Koreatown, the shopping at Times Square, or the views from the observatory deck at the Empire State Building. Most of Manhattan is very accessible either by foot or by public transportation from the hotel. The Flatiron Building, Gramercy Park, and Union Square Park are also all within easy reach.
The Mondrian New York Park Avenue receives a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor and is ranked 170 out of 509 hotels in New York City with just over 700 reviews.
Guests rave about the politeness and professionalism of the staff, and reading the comments, the hotel seems to have garnered an impressive amount of repeat customers. This comment sums up the typical praise: "I love the clean and sleek rooms and big bathrooms, not to mention the beautiful view of the Empire State Building. So rare in NYC: the staff are always accommodating."
Some guests do find the size of the entry-level rooms slightly disappointing, though, and recommend upgrading to some of the larger options if traveling as a couple with lots of luggage.
Who stays here: Interior design and art fans are attracted to the Philippe Starck name and his trademark sleek minimalism. Those looking for an upscale stay at a bargain also book rooms.
We like: The hotel's location is a huge selling point. It's coveted Park Avenue address makes it easy to explore Manhattan by foot.
We love (don't miss this feature!): The large, futuristic bathrooms with their ultra-white tiling and walk-in shower units that feel very decadent.
We think you should know: The entry-level rooms can feel tight and don't have much storage space, so pack light or consider paying to upgrade.
We'd do this differently next time: Come back when the terrace bar Fifteen Stories is open, to sip a cocktail while looking out over the city.
- All common spaces and guest rooms throughout the hotel are cleaned to the highest standards by specially trained, professional housekeepers, using EPA-registered disinfect chemicals.
- Various wellness amenities, including a mask, gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes, are provided in each room. Hand sanitizer stations have also been placed in key areas throughout the hotel for your convenience.
- Housekeeping service will be performed while you are out of your room or by request.
- In-room dining will be served via contactless delivery and pick-up.
- At times, Team Members may ask for a temperature check when you enter the building.
- Masks will be worn by all employees. Any employee showing signs of illness will be sent home and closely monitored.
- Contactless checkout is available via email, text message, telephone, or television. Keys may be left in-room or in a checkout box in the lobby, and an invoice will be provided to the email on your reservation.
I generally felt that the hotel was doing a very good job of implementing social distancing and hygienic protocols, and I felt safe at all times. However, I did not receive any PPE in the room, contrary to their stated policy.
My rate of $139 was an incredible deal for a Friday night stay at a luxury hotel on Park Avenue, especially since many similar New York hotels have decided against dropping their rates during the pandemic. The value was further bolstered by various extras currently being offered, including late check-out times, and a minibar and breakfast credit.
Unfortunately due to COVID-19, many of the hotel's most alluring amenities and facilities aren't open. Further adding to the disappointment is the fact that you still have to pay a $35 nightly fee, despite much of what that fee usually covers not being available right now. I was disappointed not to be able to experience the hotel restaurant, Cleo, as I'd heard such good things about the menu, and though I was less interested in the nightclub, it would have been fun to stick my head in and see how the city's glitterati live.
That said, even with the resort fee, the hotel is one of the best deals in the city and you'd be hard-pressed to find a similarly luxurious hotel for the same price anywhere else in Manhattan. The levels of customer service were impressive, mixing friendliness with professionalism.
There's a slightly retro feel to the interiors, but it's done with a knowing wink. Rooms are also small and those traveling with a lot of luggage may find the entry-level rooms to be a serious squeeze, but that's to be expected in New York.