Review: Hotel Andaz Wallstreet

15. Feb 2016
by Dag Christian Holm

General Info and Location

There isn’t a single major worldwide hotel chain (e.g. Marriott, Hilton, Starwood) that hasn’t tried to cash in on the lifestyle/millennial/modern traveller that is looking for a little more in their accommodation than just a bed and maybe some loyalty points. As tired as some of the typical elements have already become (artisanal cocktail anyone?), it’s hard to deny that on average, we have all benefited. Greater choice, yes, but above all higher standards – even at the traditional mainstay brands. In the case of Hyatt, I have generally liked what it has done in this space with its “lifestyle” brand Andaz. Andaz Shanghai and Tokyo in particular stand out as hotels that serve up an interesting mix of design, ambiance, and service that felt upscale and trendy in a contemporary but relaxed way. When I recently needed a last-minute hotel for an overnight on Manhattan, and Andaz Wall Street popped up as one of the most affordable options, it was an easy choice. Andaz Wall Street has 253 rooms and is located on the corner of Wall Street and Water Street, all the way downtown in Manhattan’s financial district. It’s a block or so from the Seaport historic district and within a short stroll of the 9/11 memorial site and the new World Trade Center. I paid $240 (excl. tax) for an Andaz Deluxe Double room including breakfast. This was on a Saturday night; rates can be significantly higher on weekdays when its main clientele of business travellers shows up.

The Room

Traveling with a friend, we opted for an Andaz Deluxe Double. When we booked online, only ADA-accessible rooms showed, but we received a regular double when we checked in.

Stepping into our ninth-floor room, there was a wardrobe to the right, which had plenty of space for clothing and a suitcase, as well as a complimentary (non-alcoholic) minibar and a laptop-sized safe. Straight ahead was the bathroom, while the rest of the room opened up to the left. I liked the hardwood floors, high ceilings, and the comfortable beds, which were dressed in clean white sheets. Overall, the room felt a little bare and somewhat IKEA-esque with the light-blond wood of the furniture.

My main issue with the room was its bathroom. A major pet peeve of mine is the now ubiquitous peekaboo bathrooms that offer little privacy, particularly in rooms with two beds. I find it unfathomable why a hotel would have a room with two beds (i.e. suitable for people that share a room but are not a couple) that offers no bathroom privacy. This Andaz suffers from the same problem. There is a frosted glass panel between the room and bathroom, which is somewhat passable – but be aware that your silhouette and what you are up to in the shower is very clearly visible to whoever is in the room. More disturbing is the absolutely insufficient bathroom door. Another frosted glass panel, it does not close at all, leaving gaps on all sides – if you like your privacy, you won’t find a lot of it here.

Aside from these design flaws, the general state of the room was not much beyond “ok”. The faucet of the single vanity was incredibly loose; clearly previous guests had tried to move what was a fixed faucet with force. The phone on the bedside table didn’t work (something I found out when we were woken at 1.15am by the hotel calling the room, read below for more on that), which I discovered the next morning was the result of it not being connected to anything. No cable, no nothing, which I would have thought would have been difficult to miss for housekeeping. An unused pillow case was left draped over a bedside lamp (you can actually spot it in the photo, which I took before we noticed it).

Eating and Drinking

We only had breakfast in the hotel as it was included in our room rate, which was somewhat disappointing. For a brand that wants to be different and has the modern traveller in mind, it was a very average, one-in-a-million hotel breakfast. Pastries, mediocre scrambled eggs, and a few other things – I would have liked to have seen something a bit more creative and healthier.

Other Facilities

There is a 24-hour fitness center, which I did not use. Fitting for a business hotel, there are various meeting facilities as well.

Internet Connection

WiFi is complimentary and worked throughout our (short) stay – all it needed was room number and last name to connect.

Service and Status Benefits

I was somewhat disappointed by the service. Staff was friendly, but everything felt a bit lacklustre and not particularly professional. There was a marked difference between staff members: some were friendly and looked well put together, others looked like they had already had a bit of a long/wild weekend and were so dishevelled we weren’t sure whether they worked at the hotel at all. As for that 1.15am wakeup, we went to sleep around 11pm having had a long day of traveling behind us. The phone ringing a few hours later, I tried to pick up the one on the bedside table, which didn’t work, and then had to get up to answer the one on the desk. It was maintenance, asking about a reported issue with the room. I told them that no, we had not reported anything, and that they had just woken us. I received an apology, and when I mentioned it the next morning before breakfast at the front desk, I received another apology with the explanation that “someone must have given the wrong room number”. Slightly odd in an age where most hotel telephony systems now show which room is calling. I was told at checkout that the hotel manager would email me to apologise as well, but that never materialised. I don’t have any status with Hyatt so cannot comment on recognition for frequent guests.

Verdict

Overall, a bit of a let-down. The hard product didn’t convince me, most importantly with its annoying bathroom design. But the average upkeep and the unconvincing service really coloured our stay – it wasn’t expensive by Manhattan standards, but I wouldn’t want to have spent any more than we did on our stay.

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