Just When I Think I’ve Finally Figured Out the Mysteries of Breakfast…

My first stay at the Andaz Wall Street I was given three different and conflicting stories about the breakfast benefit:

  • My wife checked in ahead of me, I had told her that I wasn’t sure what the breakfast benefit was at this Andaz so she asked and emailed me right away. They told her that the benefit was applicable in the restaurant or room service, “$50 per person, so $100 for two.”
  • When I arrived at the hotel I was greeted by a staff member who made me a key and swapped credit cards on the room (I wanted my Hyatt card down), I asked to verify and was told the benefit was $50 per day for the both of us. I mentioned the conversation my wife had earlier, the staffer looked up who checked her in, called them, and they denied saying anything at all about the breakfast benefit.
  • Then the welcome letter, which was delivered the next day rather than at check-in, said “As a Diamond member you are entitled to full breakfast at Wall & Water during your stay.” There was no mention of room service or of an amount (and $50 wouldn’t be enough to cover the cold buffet for two).

In fact, they did none of these things, I was charged $11 on a $70-something bill, which made no sense based on the guidance provided but I didn’t pursue it further.

Then about six weeks ago I learned that room service was no longer an option for breakfast, and they were consistent in explaining the breakfast benefit as $50 per room per day. I went over that amount, but nothing was charged to me.

Back at the property once again, I asked the policy at checkin and was told “it’s kind of like $50.”

Great, how do I know what to expect if it’s kind of like $50?

I pressed further for an explanation and the gentleman checking me in explained that “we say $50 but actually take off up to $75.”

Okay, then, time to put that to the test! At breakfast I added a tip large enough to make the full big $76.

I wanted to see: would they give me a $50 credit rather than $75, since I had gone over $75? Would they take $75 off the bill and charge me $1?

None of those. At checkout, nothing was on the bill for breakfast. So the theory that they have a $75 per room per day credit for breakfast in the restaurant doesn’t quite hold, either. Unless it’s $75 but they don’t charge anything under say $5, or they just adjust down the tip to some standard amount when someone is taking advantage of a Diamond breakfast benefit?

That’s pure speculation on my part, but speculation is all that I have, since I have yet to crack the mystery breakfast code at the Andaz Wall Street.

Update: To clarify my point further: I love a good cook-to-order restaurant breakfast, and always prefer that over a club lounge option, especially when the restaurant has interesting offers and good ingredients. Andaz Wall Street is a good example of the genre, Hyatt Olive 8 is one of my favorites. It doesn’t match room service as the Diamond breakfast offering of course. That’s one of the (many) things that makes Andaz 5th Avenue one of my favorite favorite properties. But I really like the offering at the Wall Street property. Service in the restaurant is a bit slow. But I don’t think they’re less generous than they should be, I had great breakfast and wouldn’t have ordered more or differently if the stated credit was higher. It always just leaves me scratching my head when no one seems to know what the policy is.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I think the real answer is “we want you include breakfast, and don’t really want to limit your choices, but don’t want you to go completely overboard”.

  2. This cracks me up. I used to work in a hotel restaurant and a guest booking through AmEx Fine Hotels and Resorts was given a coupon for dinner for two. That’s all it says, dinner for two. So what does that mean? We, the front of house staff, don’t even know and could never provide an answer when asked. We’d been told so many conflicting things about what dinner for two is that I always just closed out the entire bill to the sales department of the hotel. Officially we had been told it includes “up to $200, excluding tax and gratuity,” “three courses and all non-alcoholic drinks, tax and gratuity included,” “anything the guests want,” or “all food, no beverages, no tax, no gratuity.” So maybe the individual that you deal with in the restaurant has a bit of power to just take care of the whole thing?

  3. In the past I was told and received $50 per person, with anything over that (tip included) added to my bill. This say one thing and charge another is BS, as is giving three different stories. Hopefully an isolated incident.

  4. Honestly, if they sort this out, does any of us think we’d like the solution. I have to say I like the vagueness and usually end up with nothing to pay, regardless of 1 or 2 people. Contrast with 48 Lex where they give you an exact amount, anything over, $1 or $50 gets charged and you cannot tip without going over.

  5. For me, the fact that $50 for breakfast is considered anything other than ludicrous, should be addressed. Not whether you have to pay anything extra… 🙂

  6. I have seen people ‘abusing’ the breakfast benefit. 4 people ordering 2 bottles of champagne and 8 orders off the menu + buffet. I’m not sure if the champagne was charged for but it did not make make that impression. Talk about value of the Diamond breakfast benefit 🙂

    I think they just want to limit people binging on breakfast items. Not a bad strategy…

  7. They probably just take it off manually when you checkout so that’s why there’s no obvious fixed limit.

  8. I was confused about the breakfast benefit at the Andaz Wall Street, too, and really didn’t get clarity from staff. We tried to keep it around $50 which isn’t entirely easy, and no breakfast charges every showed up on our bill. By the way, the menu and prices shift in strange ways between weekends and weekdays, mostly around $1-3.

    I like the property and the location – there’s plenty of interesting sights and restaurants within walking distance, and most of the major subway lines. I do wish they’d have coffee makers in the rooms so that I can a first cup of coffee without having to get dressed and go downstairs.

  9. @Carl – coffee maker in the room would help but at least the coffee downstairs is decent (I always order an americano rather than drip). Room service doesn’t even start until 630 so you can’t get any delivered..

  10. I don’t know what kind of breakfast they’re serving. But that is insane. It had better come with filet mignon. $50 doesnt cover two people for breakfast? Good god eat less…no?

  11. Hi Gary,
    I just checked out of the Andaz Wall street today. We had breakfast only once of the three days there. We had three people eating and was $112 with the Tip and tax. At checkout I was charged $12. But when I asked how much credit for breakfast I was entitled, he said $50. So I’m guessing it is $50 per person per day, and he didn’t take the charge off manually. Only $12 showed up.

  12. You had to see Andaz 5th Ave explain the Diamond breakfast benefit
    Hilarious if not truely sad well sir you get a 25 per cent discount off anything you order (roll eyes)
    Later I was told 25 dollars max per person to be consistent with other Andaz properties
    In the end I complained to a manager who simply made sure that my pancakes and fresh fruit were complimentary
    Will somebody pleassssssssssse make up their minds?I’mm afraid if we demand an explanation the breakfast might get stingier
    Oh well perhaps America’s best unsolved mystery?
    Or at least Andaz 😉

  13. Gary, you don’t make any mention of being with your wife on the second trip, so it sounds like you managed to spend $76 on breakfast for one person–how on earth is that possible?!

  14. Dear Loyal Diamond Members,

    We can understand the confusion with the breakfast amenity dedicated to our valuable Diamond members. As the newest GM at Andaz hotels, I’d like to expand upon what our current policy is and what we think we can do from here on out to make it a bit clearer. The Diamond member status according to Hyatt.com includes the following:

    · Exclusive access to the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge featuring complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy daily complimentary breakfast in hotels without club lounges.

    Many of hotels offer complimentary continental breakfast in the Club Lounge, or a lovely and well-stocked buffet breakfast. Hotels that offer the buffet for Diamond members’ set the price of the breakfast to what the buffet costs. It’s a fixed cost. At Andaz Wall Street we wanted to offer our continental buffet option, but also offer a la carte menu options at our popular Wall & Water restaurant.

    That being said, we needed to set a number limit in our billing systems. Our intent at Andaz Wall Street is to provide a complimentary breakfast for each registered guest in the occupied room (up to 4 ppl as that is the maximum occupancy). Our system is set to adjust enough costs for a generous American breakfast, including gratuity and taxes; $30.00pp. However, unless a guest has spent an unreasonable amount, we cover all breakfast costs.

    We apologize for the confusion. We were trying to be more flexible and add a little more padding for guests that go a bit over on what a fixed price might be set at. We will be revisiting the meal charge parameters and we will also be providing clearer message points for our hosts as to eliminate any confusion moving forward. I hope this helps clear things up a bit, and again, we apologize if we’ve confused some of our most valued guests. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any further issues, or just to say hi. It would be a pleasure to meet you in person the next time you visit Andaz Wall Street (hopefully, you’re home away from home in NYC).

    Kind regards,
    Jeffrey Miller

  15. @GM Jeffrey Miller — I love love love the breakfast. And I appreciate the generosity and flexibility of going above and beyond the program-required minimums. Thank you! And please don’t change that!! Just looking for a little bit better explanation of what’s going on since it always seemed like I got a different answer from staff, and that the answers always varied from what happened in practice (e.g. since I was also once charged $12 despite not doing more than the standard breakfast). Much appreciated, and thank you truly for stopping by!

  16. I am certainly evaluating the caps and will clarify with the team on the ranges. The team usually sees the charge cleared prior to checkout therefore, it is not on their radar but a good refresh is in order.

    All the best,

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