Review of the Andaz San Diego: Stylish, Needs Improvement

I checked into the hotel at nearly midnight. There were a couple of guests hovering around the front desk and there was a bit of a party scene as well.

One thing I’ve noticed about San Diego’s Gaslamp region is that it is a going out town — the women get dressed up to party, and the guys with them look like they rolled out of bed in what they’re wearing out (shorts, flip flops). They wouldn’t get into clubs anywhere else. I’ve tried to figure out the economics of it — is there a surplus of women relative to men, so they have to impress but the guys do not? — but I lack the data to develop a coherent theory.

The Andaz San Diego has a traditional front desk rather than roving check-in agents, but that desk is also where they serve the evening happy hour complimentary wine from.

They have coffee and pastries in the morning by the desk as well.

The agent checking me in recognized by Gold Passport Diamond status and mentioned that I had been upgraded to ‘a loft room, which is our Andaz Suite’. That’s great since I wasn’t using a confirmed upgrade instrument. She mentioned breakfast at the rooftop restaurant. I asked about room service, since I hadn’t checked on how this hotel handles breakfast before I arrived and she stumbled, “oh, yes of course, you can order your complimentary breakfast by room service too if you prefer.” I asked her what the allowance was and she didn’t know, she said she hadn’t ever seen a Diamond exceed it “so it must be more than $80.”

That’s simultaneously unhelpful and generous at the same time, I figured I would order extensively just to test it! And indeed I ran up a bill the next morning that was about $90 and it was taken off. A big breakfast bill wasn’t all that easy to do because room service pricing was relatively inexpensive, at least for a hotel of this category. Most items were in the low to mid teens. But the food was also pretty average.

I love the overall look of the hotel.

Even the hallway by the elevator and down towards the room is stylishly attractive.

The room was more of a junior suite — it had a separate living area and bedroom but the two weren’t walled off completely from each other.

The placement of the desk underneath the television in the living room was awkward, especially with little room between the desk and the table in front of the couch. It was necessary to get down on hands and knees to access a nearby power outlet as well.

The junior suite had a gorgeous bathroom, although the shower itself was a bit small. There was a cutout in the glass that served as a passthrough for a towel but it would be quite easy to get that wet given the positioning above knee level next to the toilet and at the front near the showerhead.

Non-alcoholic beverages in the minibar are of course free at an Andaz.

There were plenty of alcoholic drinks, too, all very good looking bottles, along with an in-room single cup coffee maker.

Andaz hotels provide complimentary snacks as well, in this case only a little basket of snacks was free along with several premium items next to those in a larger basket.

There are three major areas that I found unsatisfactory.

  • Housekeeping. They never once replenished toilet paper in the room over the course of a three-night stay. Pillows remained strewn about the living room (as I had left them – my bad, but usually housekeeping will straighten). And I came back one evening to find this spill that wasn’t there when I had left the room:

  • Noise from above. Footsteps are my pet peeve and I’m especially sensitive to them. I want my room to be quiet, not just isolated from any party scene but especially from noise emanating from adjoining rooms. There are hardwood floors in the room, I could hear every step from the room above me when I first got there at nearly midnight. The sound from above is a deal-breaker for me.

  • Valet parking. When I first arrived at the hotel I was told to go inside and check in, they would bring me my valet ticket. Check-in took awhile, but by the end no valet ticket. I had to go back outside to retrieve it from the two valets who were standing around chatting. When finally departing at the end of the stay I had an early flight. I called down for the car to be brought around at 5:25am. When I came outside at 5:40am the car wasn’t there and neither was the valet, they were getting someone else’s car who had apparently requested theirs even earlier. The valet wasn’t busy, just in no hurry.

You know you’re in the Gaslamp quarter when staying at the Andaz San Diego, because not only is the lobby hopping but next door is the Double Deuce which I’m told features a mechanical bull. To me, though, anything with that name is complete without some sort of homage to Patrick Swayze. Sadly from the outside I saw none.

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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, 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. Wow between the average food the dancing bulls over your head and the rest of the subpar service this sounds like a hotel to avoid at all costs. There are a number of excellent hotels in the San Diego area
    For most of the reasons you mention this is why I am not a big fan of trendy boutique hotels. And I love the genre otherwise when they hit their mark.
    While there are exceptions like Andaz Wall Street most of the brand in my experience is better than W but not better than other brands and properties.
    The only Andaz properties I like are Amsterdam and Wall Street. Even the 5th Ave NYC property take away their great pancakes I would never miss the place. My last suite was in very run down condition
    the hotel in the middle of my stay with no notice decided to drench the hallways with shampooing rugs that were soaked and stinky
    I’d take the Manchester or Mission Bay in a heart beat over Andaz and the list goes on for non Hyatt properties as well

  2. Interesting…my parents are in San Diego now for a few days and I had helped them book their hotels. Given their huge UR balance and my urging of them not to waste them on cash back, I had first sought Hyatts in SD and SF (where they are next) but both the Andaz in SD and the GH in SF were full. So they ended up paying cash for Marriott Gaslamp District and Marriott Union Square. They’ve said the Marriott is nice, but we all know in the points world Marriotts aren’t too highly desired. 😉

  3. The Andaz is still really The Ivy (its original name). It was built as a party hotel, in a partying neighborhood. Everything about it was designed to attract nightlife. Hyatt only moved in when the owners of The Ivy floundered financially. Hyatt may have toned down the volume a bit, but I still wouldn’t recommend the hotel to anyone looking for a quiet or normal stay.

    As for the women in San Diego, they are possibly more fit and attractive than anywhere else on the planet. And they’re dressing up to impress each other – like women everywhere. Us ratty looking guys just get to enjoy the visual competition they have with each other. Its certainly NOT a ratio thing as you wondered.

  4. did you notice the homeless beggars or feces on the streets ( or feces the mayor’s office) ?

  5. “One thing I’ve noticed about San Diego’s Gaslamp region is that it is a going out town — the women get dressed up to party, and the guys with them look like they rolled out of bed in what they’re wearing out (shorts, flip flops). They wouldn’t get into clubs anywhere else.”

    guys can get into any club with t-shirts, flip flops, and shorts in Cabo San Lucas

  6. You see all those pretty girls and you decide to eat $90 worth of food. No wonder you’re angry the fit guys who aren’t dressed nicely are with them.

  7. “And they’re dressing up to impress each other – like women everywhere.” I’d have to agree that this is spot on. To get an idea of this, Google “del mar races hat day” and check out the images.

    Before moving to the area 14 years ago I visited a friend who lived here. Got off the train and she took us straight to the Gaslamp district. It’s party central. Unfortunately the beggars who were prevalent then are still around now, but seem to be less aggressive now.

  8. We stayed in San Diego at the HIlton Bayfront and can attest to the young women wearing next to nothing in Gaslamp (very loud area). I loved the bathroom of the Andaz but that is strange some of the small things that housekeeping missed.

  9. Hey, Scott, I was not eating all of that food myself. But thanks for the kind words… not just today but over the past 10 weeks or so!

  10. @ BFrankley yup. I stay @ the Andaz on purpose because it is a party hotel. Hotel guests get vip admin to the club on the roof, so bonus there. 100% not the place to look for quiet. Heck, have you seen the Star Suite, King size BUNK BEDS!

  11. The best thing about this hotel is the rooftop pool.
    The worst thing about it is it’s always messy around the rooftop pool.
    Go there early evening and see how long trash and empty glasses will sit around from previous occupants combined with employees just standing around.It has some serious management issues.

  12. Be glad you were there on a week night. On the weekend, it’s a nightclub that happens to have a few hotel rooms. The beat from the club reverbrates thru all the rooms. Prince Harry partied on the rooftop, hooked up with a waitress, and ended up at a local Courtyard of all places.

    It has a suite with 2 stripper poles and 2 sets of king bunk beds. You rent security when you rent the suite. Yes, I’ve seen it. I am neither age appropriate nor party focused to stay at this hotel a second time.

  13. Second worse hotel stay of my career/life at this property. General Managers Rusty and Geoff got the crappy, easy issues settled (incorrect room charges) but couldn’t do anything to put the shine back on this lump of coal (how does a hotel claim to not know about the San Diego Marathon which in turn blocks the street to the hotel – no one with a car could get them except via valet, and then still had to go a block away to get in the car while police cited the valets for illegal stopping/parking…HOW? The GM’s mentioned above claim total ignorance that the event was occuring).

  14. I’ll cross this one off the list. For my money, the US Grant is the best hotel in downtown San Diego.

  15. Agreed with everyone else who says that this place is a disaster from Thursday to Saturday (or Sunday). Lucky that I’d stayed at another Andaz before I stayed here, or I’d never have tried another Andaz again. (And I *am* in the right demographic for the nightlife, but sometimes you have plans in the morning and need to sleep. Do not stay here when the club is open unless you intend to go to the club.)

  16. Noticed your photo of the bathroom amenities and realized that during the past three stays at three different locations there has no toothpaste in the room. This has been one of my favorite Hyatt bathroom amenities. What gives? New policy?

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