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Andaz Liverpool Street - London - REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

Andaz Liverpool Street - London - REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

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Old Oct 1, 11, 12:27 pm
  #196  
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Stayed there last night on a Stay and Dine package. The artwork around the hotel for the Design Week was amazing. No upgrade offered - hotel was very quiet so not sure why.

Dinner in 1901 was excellent. The food overall was very good, the wine and the sommelier (Marie) excellent and the service first class.

We normally breakfast in Eastway but it was closed so had breakfast in 1901. On dear, nothing like the experience we had the night before - the service was slow and the food not terribly good. Such a shame they couldn't repeat the service we received at dinner.
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Old Oct 1, 11, 9:14 pm
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In the name of all's that's absurd... What happened, Andaz?

Three beautiful stays in the past. I love this place. I want to love this place. Victorian grandeur + gorgeous modern style + high-ceiling light-filled rooms + dreamy breakfasts + the very best bit of London for adventures. It feels perfect. It's one of the hotels that keeps me Diamond.

But stay number four, the other day....

Dinner at 1901, the hotel's flagship restaurant, with people I care about a lot. Special/unique occasion. The waiter drops the bill insistently onto the table midway through the first round of drinks, and wants me to pay. Friends (distinguished, elderly friends) feel hustled out. Staff reach in to grab their glasses. Friends leave. The staff just watch (turns out they gave the wrong table the bill). I won't get another chance to do this till 2012. I feel not happy. (And this place wants a Michelin star.)

I stay for a bit of dinner. I know the kitchen can do great things. I get unlucky. Greasy, burned scallops. Elderflower jelly that hadn't set properly. (No Jean-Georges - or even Blue Duck Tavern - this, that day.) Everything's out of focus.

The room's ready far later than the front-desk promises (second stay in a row that's happened). I wait around in the lobby, with other things to do.

No Diamond welcome amenity (I know it's miniature, here, but at least it's something).

Lobby bathrooms are in a horrible state, clearly uncleaned for hours.

I ask for the GM's email address at checkout. The agent first insists that breakfast isn't free for Diamonds. That takes a couple of minutes. Then it takes twenty minutes (yes, really) and four separate excuses, for that agent still not to find the GM's email address. I'm not believing this. I sure do have better things to do. Eventually, I send over another agent to help. Second agent looks mortified, but problem solved, 30 seconds.

Agent number 1 writes down the GM's email on a card. Gets his first name wrong, crosses it out. 'Well, I wasn't sure, he's got a funny name.' Yes, he did just say that about his boss. I remark on the time it took. Agent snaps aggressively at me: 'Well, I don't email him every day, you know.'

(One lovely Guest Services Manager tries to help, after the 1901 mess, the first night. The net result, though, as my rate already included a restaurant credit: a credit to my bill worth about one drink.)

I pay my bill in full, several hundred pounds, and leave. I feel like a schmuck. I think about One Aldwych, or the new Four Seasons, and start rearranging reservations in my head. Next Saturday will probably be the first to go elsewhere.

I write to the GM. The email address the front-desk agent gave me bounces back. Of course.

This was the hotel that was going to keep me Diamond, this year. Now it feels like the one which might make me give Diamond up. I've tried another address for the GM. I hope he can turn this around. I can excuse problems, but such wall-to-wall cluelessness seems - ridiculous. (Monday night, the cheapest King room goes for $700 with tax. That's Four Seasons territory, even in London. We're not talking about an airport Hyatt Place on a winter weekend. There are legitimate expectations.)

Seriously, Andaz - what happened that day?
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Old Oct 2, 11, 12:21 am
  #198  
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Sorry to hear that. I always stick with the Churchill where I have had 100% success rate overall. I’ve always heard highly mixed reviews on this property.
Hyatt has only an average rating for solving hotel issues once you leave the property sadly.
If the hotel doesn't have the right business culture you are stuck dealing through Hyatt.
At least in the full hotels over the years they seem to be responsive
Hyatt Place can be big troubles if a problem arises. Too many franchises and not enough Hyatt business culture/standards. While it’s a beautiful concept they have a long way to go to catch up to Hilton’s guarantee of satisfaction each and every time you stay.

If I were you I would bring it up to Hyatt Consumer Affairs
It’s worth a shot. Like you over the years I always try and solve it at the hotel level first.
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Old Oct 2, 11, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by 777 global mile hound View Post
Sorry to hear that. I always stick with the Churchill where I have had 100% success rate overall. Iíve always heard highly mixed reviews on this property.
Thanks so much for your comments - I think you're completely right, and really appreciate your thoughts.

So I got an email back from the GM this morning - pretty much instantly. Which, being Sunday morning, I'm going to go ahead and be impressed by. He seems to be taking things very seriously, and be genuinely eager to help. I want them to turn this around, so I think I'll give them another try. (But needless to say, Andaz, this is your Final Warning....)

Then there's the review I wanted to write. About what a special place this hotel can be.

(So what do I think of this hotel? I guess it's caught between my last post - written just after I left, feeling incredibly upset - and this one, the sum of my previous three stays, the times I'd had many perfect moments at the Andaz.)

So few city hotels truly give you a sense of place. This one does. The red-brick Victorian architecture - the stained-glass and huge bay windows. The soaring dining-room with its nineteenth-century columns. The hotel-written city guide in the room - one of the best introductions to East London I know. (And this is from a Londoner, lately transplanted to NY.) The way the hotel is integrated into the community: design festivals, odd art, fashion shoots in the hidden, glided, marbled, glorious-yet-creepy Masonic temple on the first floor.

Dreamy weekend breakfasts in Eastway. One of the closest things to a genuine NY brunch you can get in London. Serious pancakes. I thoroughly approve. (And Diamonds can order room-service breakfast at no extra charge.)

When the rooms are good, they're really good. On the upper floors, the ceilings are low, the windows small. (The top floor has cute little port-hole windows - they're kind of adorable.) On the lower floors, though, the ceilings are vast, the rooms full of light. This is one hotel where you really want to specify a lower floor. My favourite room is 226, a big sprawling corner King, looking two ways down Liverpool Street. (So many drunk hipsters on the weekend... The only unsavory bit about this part of town.) The windows, just recently, have been triple-glazed - so noise should be much less of a problem than in the past.

Some of the most exciting restaurants in London, a few minutes' walk away: Galvin La Chapelle, Les Trois Garcons, Pizza East... And a glimpse of East London as it used to be at Brick Lane Beigel Bake (+ 24-hour hot salt beef). On weekends, the streets around Brick Lane are full of gorgeous art stalls, vintage shops, London at its creative offbeat best (if you're here on Sundays, you must wander round the Sunday Upmarket - the hotel should be able to direct you).

It's certainly far from perfect - that I've discovered. But it's got so much going for it. It's beautiful, unique - and, when it works, enchanting. It isn't there yet, that's for sure - but I want this place to work.
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Old Oct 2, 11, 9:31 am
  #200  
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Congratulations on communicating directly with the property.
I am really glad to hear management was responsive to you.
They are very lucky to have a forgiving supportive guest.
Other guests most likely would not be as forgiving.

The concerns I have had personally about this hotel is
Bed Comfort (not a fan of the typically hard platform beds in Andaz)
The bathrooms in this property seem odd not luxurious enough for the pricing and category of hotel (observed from website photos)
And the ability to access a great well equipped fitness center.

If you do have some comments on any of the bed I would be interested
Other than those focal points you put the hotel in the most flattering light I've heard in sometime.
Not even their marketing efforts caught my attention as much
The other concern I have is Andaz in general seems to be consistently less generous overall with upgrades compared to other Hyatt full service hotels.
Reliable information has shown me reasonable proof of this.

Having said that IMO Andaz is the most exciting brand ever to launch within Hyatt historically since the Park Hyatt brand. I see it as the ultimate boutique hotel brand clearly done right minus the bed
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Old Oct 2, 11, 11:11 am
  #201  
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Originally Posted by 777 global mile hound View Post
....Having said that IMO Andaz is the most exciting brand ever to launch within Hyatt historically since the Park Hyatt brand. I see it as the ultimate boutique hotel brand clearly done right minus the bed
It's good someone feels that way, because that's what they need to stay in business. Having stayed at four of them (including Liverpool St), I feel that the concept may be exciting but the execution is totally flawed. As I've expressed my concerns amply elsewhere in this forum, I'll leave it at that!
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Old Oct 2, 11, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
It's good someone feels that way, because that's what they need to stay in business. Having stayed at four of them (including Liverpool St), I feel that the concept may be exciting but the execution is totally flawed. As I've expressed my concerns amply elsewhere in this forum, I'll leave it at that!
+1 - Couldn't agree more.
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Old Oct 2, 11, 12:25 pm
  #203  
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
It's good someone feels that way, because that's what they need to stay in business. Having stayed at four of them (including Liverpool St), I feel that the concept may be exciting but the execution is totally flawed. As I've expressed my concerns amply elsewhere in this forum, I'll leave it at that!
Agree
And its far from my first choice
I didn't say there aren't concerns to be adressed
It's the concept I admire a hip and trendy and vibe with quality furnishings.
I clearly prefer Andaz to most W properties.Gold Passport recognition too has some influence.Yes Andaz is still a work in progess.Hyatt has some really good folks at the hotel level and behind the scenes working with Andaz.I see real hope for this brand as it continues to grow.

Only the New York properties have really impressed me and they too have improvements to work on.Would stay happily at either New York property for brief stays.There are reasons I have no plans to stay at the London property presently or West Hollywood where I have been a guest a handful of times both after and prior to the grand opening.

Im not looking at the flawed locations.I'm looking at the concept.
I'm also counting on Hyatt to getting it right as they grow.
Andaz Amsterdam is something I am really hoping they will get right.
Its a city that begs for the Hyatt way of doing business.
Look forward to celebrating its arrival on or soon after it's grand opening
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Old Oct 2, 11, 1:05 pm
  #204  
 
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Originally Posted by 777 global mile hound View Post
The concerns I have had personally about this hotel is
Bed Comfort (not a fan of the typically hard platform beds in Andaz)
The bathrooms in this property seem odd not luxurious enough for the pricing and category of hotel (observed from website photos)
And the ability to access a great well equipped fitness center.

If you do have some comments on any of the bed I would be interested
Again, thank you indeed... It's very kind of you to respond so thoughtfully.

The bed... by the standards of US Hyatts, it is somewhat hard - and is indeed, I believe, a platform bed.

The bathrooms... you're right, they have their quirks. The hotel was originally refurbished by Terence Conran as the Great Eastern, around 2000 - and when Andaz took it over, they kept the bathrooms pretty much the way they were, in terms of size/layout/fixtures. That means the shower stall, while separate from the bath, is miniature - ok in 1999, extremely borderline in 2011. However, for me... the bathrooms work quite well... the high-quality fixtures, good lighting, and good bath products that don't make it into the pictures make the experience more of a high-end one than the photos suggest. And the black and white subway tile, highly polished, is quite attractive (but maybe that's the New Yorker in me...)

Regarding upgrades, perhaps I've been lucky... I've always got large king-bedded rooms on my stays. With Andaz, I find that the people doing the room allocation often aren't so attuned to Diamond status or benefits - so I always put a 'Diamond Member - please allocate low-floor king room, preferably room xxx if available' in the comments section of the reservations for London. Tends to do the trick.

(Diamond suite upgrades, however, are likely to get you little more than the Large King room - the suite I had came with a generously-proportioned bedroom and an hilarious miniature living-room with just a desk and a couch in it. The living room wasn't much wider than the couch. There are a range of layouts, of course, but be prepared to ask to see lots of rooms if you book into the basic suite type and want a 'proper' suite.)

It's always worth talking to a Guest Services Manager about shifting rooms if you aren't happy with yours. As is often the case in UK high-end hotels (+ as a transplanted Brit, I can say this...), front-line staff can be a little klutzy, but managers are generally far more responsive. I recommend going straight to the duty manager, if you encounter any problems. They're generally eager to help.
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Old Oct 2, 11, 2:06 pm
  #205  
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Originally Posted by limelight View Post
Again, thank you indeed... It's very kind of you to respond so thoughtfully.

The bed... by the standards of US Hyatts, it is somewhat hard - and is indeed, I believe, a platform bed.

The bathrooms... you're right, they have their quirks. The hotel was originally refurbished by Terence Conran as the Great Eastern, around 2000 - and when Andaz took it over, they kept the bathrooms pretty much the way they were, in terms of size/layout/fixtures. That means the shower stall, while separate from the bath, is miniature - ok in 1999, extremely borderline in 2011. However, for me... the bathrooms work quite well... the high-quality fixtures, good lighting, and good bath products that don't make it into the pictures make the experience more of a high-end one than the photos suggest. And the black and white subway tile, highly polished, is quite attractive (but maybe that's the New Yorker in me...)

Regarding upgrades, perhaps I've been lucky... I've always got large king-bedded rooms on my stays. With Andaz, I find that the people doing the room allocation often aren't so attuned to Diamond status or benefits - so I always put a 'Diamond Member - please allocate low-floor king room, preferably room xxx if available' in the comments section of the reservations for London. Tends to do the trick.

(Diamond suite upgrades, however, are likely to get you little more than the Large King room - the suite I had came with a generously-proportioned bedroom and an hilarious miniature living-room with just a desk and a couch in it. The living room wasn't much wider than the couch. There are a range of layouts, of course, but be prepared to ask to see lots of rooms if you book into the basic suite type and want a 'proper' suite.)

It's always worth talking to a Guest Services Manager about shifting rooms if you aren't happy with yours. As is often the case in UK high-end hotels (+ as a transplanted Brit, I can say this...), front-line staff can be a little klutzy, but managers are generally far more responsive. I recommend going straight to the duty manager, if you encounter any problems. They're generally eager to help.
From one New Yorker to another (up to 5 years ago)
I would venture to say the Andaz bed is hard compared to most world wide hotel bed standards from my thousands of room nights across the globe over 20 plus years Pack a feather top with you

Great observations on your part and smart advice.
So many folks I hear from give up on a hotel never to come back because they are afraid to speak up past the front desk agent that frequently lacks any empowerment except to check you in.
It's a big mistake. Not only can one vastly improve a stay experience by doing so but a great hotel Hyatt or otherwise will make notations in your account by keeping your personal preferences on hand for future stays.

The bathrooms at the Andaz New York properties are I hope the standard of luxury that Andaz will keep going forward with to Amsterdam and other cities.If I were by myself it wouldn't matter all that much to me personally.
Appreciate your interesting feedback regarding how Andaz Liverpool came about.
Inside word is Andaz upgrades are tight fisted in most Andaz properties except for a guest room which in most cases can be highly adequate.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 3:06 am
  #206  
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Andaz Liverpool St is hit and miss. I've had great suites using an e-cert, been upgrade to Large King rooms, and at other times the most claustrophobic rooms with sloping ceilings (those portholes windows are cute, but I'm not on a cruise ship).

I find the staff lack initiative, or perhaps the authorisation to adequately handle diamond members when issues arise.
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Old Oct 7, 11, 2:10 am
  #207  
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Had a mail from the GM last night thanking me for my comments and apologising for my poor experience
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Old Oct 8, 11, 4:00 pm
  #208  
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We just spent 6 nights at Liverpool Street. Our experience was lovely, and we had nothing but great things to say about the staff. I suppose the free Diamond breakfast, which extended to room service and the almost ridiculous meals we had for free each day, could be swaying my views. The minibar was far more generous here than at the NY 5th Avenue property, and we had no problems getting more waters, cookies, etc. Housekeeping was on top of everything and we enjoyed a fine turndown service each evening. We did use the gym which I found more than adequate. I loved the super-long bathtub!

What I really liked here was the overall presentation. Hyatt has created a new brand, and has kept it classy instead of trendy. It's not hokey like Starwood's W brand. The staff was well dressed, professional, and very quick at taking care of any request. We can't wait to return!
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Old Oct 9, 11, 3:36 pm
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Had dinner at 1901 last night. Was decent. They had a 3 course 23 pound offer going on. Starters were ok, mains were decent and dessert was great. One of our mains came out under cooked so they comped one entire 3 course. The manager was great. I forget his name but took his card. Would dine again. The place was a bit empty for a Sat night, but it has a lot of potential.
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Old Oct 9, 11, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by shinbal View Post
We just spent 6 nights at Liverpool Street. Our experience was lovely, and we had nothing but great things to say about the staff. I suppose the free Diamond breakfast, which extended to room service and the almost ridiculous meals we had for free each day, could be swaying my views. The minibar was far more generous here than at the NY 5th Avenue property, and we had no problems getting more waters, cookies, etc. Housekeeping was on top of everything and we enjoyed a fine turndown service each evening. We did use the gym which I found more than adequate. I loved the super-long bathtub!

What I really liked here was the overall presentation. Hyatt has created a new brand, and has kept it classy instead of trendy. It's not hokey like Starwood's W brand. The staff was well dressed, professional, and very quick at taking care of any request. We can't wait to return!
I have a five night stay at the Andaz Liverpool coming up in February, 2012. I'm relatively new to Gold Passport but have achieved Platinum status. This will be my first experience at an Andaz property. I'm curious if you have any tips to help make my stay successful. Five nights are a long time if there are problems!

I'm actually a fan of W Hotels (and Starwood properties in general), but some of the design elements can be somewhat extreme. I view Andaz as more tasteful and restrained, though I may change my mind once I'm there.
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