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The Mondrian's Garden Comes Up Early for Spring

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It's opening day at Soho's new Mondrian hotel, and even though snow dusted the city yesterday, the hotel already has a full-grown garden. The secluded grove surrounds the hotel's big tent, pitched by the Morgans Hotel Group on Crosby Street last November and now covered in a cape of black. That's the garden room of Imperial No. Nine, the enchanted eatery where chef Sam Talbot will be in charge starting March 1. It's all inspired by Jean Cocteau's La Belle et La Bête. A bit past Valentine's Day, but still romantic, no?

The glass-topped garden pavilion is fronted by a forest of trees. An arched, ivy-covered trellis with gas-lit copper lanterns lines the sidewalk. Down low are a set of gates, wrought in curlicues of steel, enticing lovers and others along a glass-enclosed promenade to the hotel entry, where big doors beckon in the distance.

We couldn't keep out, so we took a peek at what designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz has let loose inside. For Imperial No. Nine, the garden conservatory sprouts greens and glass; the more formal dining room is all about champagne and crystal. The hotel's lobby, a fantastical spot awaiting beauties and beasts of every sort, is bedecked in blue. Another Chinatown-inspired lounge promises fun and games, overseen by the inscrutable Mister H. Just remember to obey the signage.
· Official website: Mondrian Soho []
· Mondrian New York coverage [Curbed]