Personality is everything

There’s nothing worse than a 40-something “soccer mom” lost in the land of young, beautiful, 20-something “clubbers”. Trust me. I speak from experience.

A little background:

My husband and I were in NYC this past weekend for a wedding, and decided to stay at the brand new Mondrian SOHO to check it out. It was right down the street from the reception, and I was intrigued by the look of the property, with its sleek modern decor and crisp blue and white color scheme. I used to work in Manhattan, many years ago, and was looking forward to the whole downtown experience.

What I learned was that looks aren’t everything. And I was reminded that there’s another VERY key factor to consider when looking at hotels.  Just as important as location and price is personality. The Mondrian is a lovely hotel, very cool and modern, in a great location for exploring SOHO, the Village, Little Italy, Chinatown and more. But it is aimed at a very distinct audience. And I am not it.

When we arrived, I was a bit thrown off that there were no signs or any external indication that this building was, in fact, a hotel. I couldn’t find a valet, or a doorman, or — once I ventured inside — a reception desk of any kind.  I eventually found my way upstairs to a second floor lobby, checked in, and found someone to park the car for us.  I am sure that it was all a deliberate effort to seem cool and exclusive, but I couldn’t help thinking that if I felt that lost and confused most of my clients would too.

Making our way down the dimly-lit and “moody” hallway, we entered an elevator that was so dark I literally could not read the buttons. I do not (yet) need reading glasses, but I had to practically put my nose against the panel to figure out what button to press. Once we reached our floor, another atmospherically-lit hallway led to our room. We opened the door….and were completely blinded by the floor-to-ceiling windows and white-on-white decor! A chorus of angels and Morgan Freeman in a white suit would not have been out of place.

Mondrian decor

Honestly, once my eyes recovered, I loved the room. It was small (like most NY hotel rooms) but it had a great view, windows that actually opened, all the modern “gadgets” (including an iPad for guests’ use), and a really comfy bed. If I could have just stayed in that room for the weekend it would have been great. Alas, we had to go out to the wedding and run the gauntlet of the “beautiful people” in the lobby coming and going from the restaurant and lounge. Even dressed for a wedding, we felt very out of place. Even more so the next morning when we were at the desk at 6am to check out and get back home for an early appointment, and were greeted by the clubbers straggling in and and saying “good night” to us!

The moral of the story? The Mondrian is a fantastic hotel for the RIGHT person.  Like the Mondrian, most hotels have a distinct personality, and travelers are wise to take this into account when choosing where to stay. Better yet — let a good travel consultant help you make that choice!

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You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)