USA Mondrian Soho, New York

Description: Mondrian Soho 9 Crosby Street, New York City

Mondrian Soho 9 Crosby Street, New York City

Mondrian Soho opened in March 2011 on cobbled Crosby Street and is the tallest building in the ‘hood: a 28- floor glass block (literally, it backs onto Lafayette Street), fronted by a glasshouse restaurant and accessed through a glass tunnel covered in ivy. How it got planning permission is anyone’s guess, but the building certainly makes the most of its superior height with floor- to- ceiling windows in all 270 rooms and suites. The views from the upper floors are nothing short of flying- with- Superman fabulous; those above the 10th have enormous, no- fronted picture windows in the shower cubicles. The décor in the public spaces in dressing- up- box theatrical, with attention- seeking chairs, fluffy- feather lampshades, oversized chandeliers and a great deal of vivid- blue carper in the corridors. The bedrooms are pretty white boxes with (yet more) blue carpet, steel desks and white beds topped with blue- and- white, vaguely toile de Jouy cushions; the white- marble bathrooms are very small  with no hand basin (it is in the bedroom, on top of the mini- bar). When the restaurant, Imperia No. Nine, opened under handsome TV chef Sam Talbot it was panned by the New York Times and cold- shouldered by the New Yorker, non of which seems to have deted its popularity with the mostly out- of- town crowd who frequented it. Talbot has since left, as has night club impresario Armin Amiri, who ran the intimate Mister H lounge bar, which has its own entrance (and door policy). Based on decibel levels and bums- on- seats, both venues appear to be doing very well without them

Description: Hotel USA Mondrian Soho, New York

Hotel USA Mondrian Soho, New York

When to go

January for the sales in the surrounding SoHo boutiques.

Room to book

One of the corner rooms with wraparound windows, the higher the better. There are two penthouse suites on the 25th floor: 2509 (on south- east corner of building).

00 1 212 389 1000; Doubles from $ 395

Public, Chicago

Description: Public hotel, Chicago

Public hotel, Chicago

Ian Schrager made his name with a nightclub (studio 54) and then made his fortune with hotels that thought they were fortune with hotels that thought they were nightclubs (Royalton, Paramount, Hudson etc.) as the name suggests, Public takes a more democratic approach to things: less attitude, fewer velvet ropes. The first property in a brand being launched by Schrager, Public stands on a quiet street in the residential Gold Coast neighbourhood, a 10- minute stroll from downtown. Formerly the Ambassador East hotel, it has been deftly spruced up. The 285 bedrooms are comfortable though surprisingly neutral; public spaces are striking. Only the bathrooms disappoint, can be packed at the weekend but is relaxed and welcoming, and is designed to encourage lounging and conversation. The most dramatic change has been the total renovation of the Pump Room restaurant. A long- time haunt of celebrities from Barrymore and Bacall to Jagger and Newton- Jonh, it was one of the grand old dining spots of the city. It is a footnote in pop history: Phil Collins recorded No Jacket Required after he was turned away for not meeting the dress code. Now the gallery of black- and- white photographs lining the entrance is the only reminder of the starry past and anyone, regardless of attire, is welcome to dine. The restaurant has been brought into the 21st century with an affordable menu desived by Jean- Georges Vongerichten, and the cocktails are excellent.

Bed room, Public hotel, Chicago

When to go

Early summer, to take advantage of the proximity of North Avenue Beach, on of the city’s best, which is just a few blocks away.

Room to book

Any superior king rooms on the ninth floor or above (so you are higher then the neightbours) with a downtown view. 00 1 312 787 3700; Doubles from US$ 130

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago

Chicago is rightfully proud of its architecture and when the Aqua was completed in 2009 it was one of the more dazzling additions to the famous skyline. The façade of glass and contoured concrete gives the illusion that the building- which is the city’s 12th talest, and the world’s tallest building designed by a fermale architec (Jeanne Gang)- is rippling in the breeze from Lake Michigan. North America’s first Radisson Blu opened here last year and is a 334- room property occupying the first 18 floors of the Towner, catering to everyone from businessmen to bridal parties. The simple elegance of the exterior is not quite matched by the lobby’s gold wall to bar tables that appear to have candles inside them, there is a bit too much sparkling going on. But you cannot fault it for facilities- pool, running track, a huge gym shared with private residences in the tower- nor location. In just a couple of minutes you can be shopping on Michigan Avenue, strolling Millennium Park or exploring the collection at the Art Institute. Staff are friendly, and the bar and Italian restaurant, Filini, both generate just the right amount of buzz each evening. When booking, be sure to take the hightest room you can. The views of the lake and the city are breathtaking, especially at dusk and dawn.

Description: Radisson Blu public spaces. The lobby's bar

Radisson Blu public spaces, the lobby's bar

When to go

Early September, when the heat has eased and you can still catch the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at the Art Institute.

Room to book

Avoid frumpier ‘Mansion House’ rooms in favour of the ‘Naturally Cool’. Rooms  ending- 04 are corner rooms  with balconies.

00 1 312 565 5258; Double from US$ 208

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