My regular hotel in New York has become the Andaz 5th Avenue but this past weekend I stayed at the Andaz Wall Street for the first time, in part because I’ve really wanted to try it out to experience the difference since so many Diamond members rave about it, and in part because the 5th Avenue property was pricing quite high and I didn’t want to burn the requisite points for that room.
The Wall Street Andaz is frequently favored because they treat Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members well with room upgrades. At the 5th Avenue Andaz I’ve been fortunate to either be in an XL King View room or using a confirmed suite upgrade, many members report that the 5th Avenue property is fairly tight-fisted with upgrades but that the Wall Street property is much more generous.
Indeed, though the hotel was sold out (I was on a Diamond Guaranteed Reservation rate), I was upgraded to an XL King Room which amounts to a junior suite that’s really large by Manhattan standards.
And unlike the 5th Avenue Andaz, where two weeks ago I was refused 2pm checkout, it was proactively offered to me at check-in here. (Though at noon on our way out, housekeeping still called to ask when we’d be leaving.) I was also asked my choice of newspaper, I asked for the New York Times. The first morning I received both the Times and the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. Then the next morning, the Sunday New York Times.
There’s been some confusion about the Diamond breakfast benefit at this hotel, I’ve heard several different versions of what they provide from folks staying here in the past. And now I understand why. I received three different versions of the story myself during my stay:
- 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).
Despite the nice room upgrade, the stay started off a bit rocky. In addition to the confusion over the breakfast benefit, the room itself is already starting to show its wear despite being a still-new hotel. The room had hardwood floors but the wood flooring is popping up in several places.. bowed and not sealed correctly.. so it bounces when you walk on it which makes noise. The bowl sink in the bathroom was stained at the bottom as well.
While I was in the cab over the airport, my wife ordered up burgers from room service since neither of us had eaten anything and it was already fairly late. She ordered them with bacon, but there was no bacon. I don’t recall whether there was an extra charge for it on the bill or not.
Still, the brioche buns for the burgers were excellent and I prefer the fries that the burgers are served with to the chips that the 5th Avenue property sends up with their burgers.
The only downsides to the room, aside from the hardwood that’s beginning to come loose, of course the bathroom doesn’t have enough light, there’s also no way to use both the rainshower head and the handheld showerhead in the shower at the same time (which to me defeats the purpose of dual showerheads). And the bed seems harder to me than at beds at 5th Avenue, too hard for my liking.
Of course, these are minor niggles for an overall very nice property and especially a nice property for New York and the price point. I was certainly on balance happy with my stay.
Here’s the bedroom, hallway, and living room:
And the bathroom:
Here’s the sink I was talking about:
The drinks in the minibar:
And the view from the room:
Breakfast at Wall and Water was high quality, coffee was strong and orange juice fresh squeezed. Service was lackadaisical when the restaurant was slow on Saturday, and it was really tough to get anyone’s attention when it was busy on Sunday. Replacement utensils took 10 minutes on Saturday, were never offered on Sunday, and getting coffee refills was a challenge.
The foie gras, brioche French toast, and fried egg appetizer off the hot menu really was outstanding.
Even at checkout though I didn’t get a great handle on what exactly the breakfast benefit was. The first morning I had two pots of coffee delivered for $15 and $7 each, and then had breakfast on my own in the restaurant while my wife was out for $33 including tax and tip. So $55 total spent. What was on my bill was the first $15 coffee delivery, coded as a late night snack because I ordered it at 5:35 a.m (which they took off in its entirety). Then the second morning we both went to the restaurant for brunch and were billed just over $70. At checkout our bill reflected $11. So about $60 came off from that one charge. I admit, I remain stumped, although I haven’t reached out to anyone at the hotel for a real explanation of what the intended benefit actually is just yet.
While I took advantage of the breakfast benefit, I skipped the evening reception, just way too busy in a small space, quite loud, it didn’t seem like I would enjoy it.
In the end, this was a good hotel for New York. I’m not usually a fan of New York hotels, they’re naturally expensive but usually offering small rooms and with poor service. I’ve had rooms at the W on Lexington where I had to angle my arm underneath the sink in the bathroom in order to use the toilet, rooms where there were paperthin walls at the Grand Hyatt, the Intercontinental Barclay is pretty good for suites as a Royal Ambassador but otherwise non-descript, prior to my allegiance to the Andaz 5th Avenue the favored property was probably the Parker Meridien (if only for its convenient Burger Joint in the lobby).
The Andaz value proposition is better — rates at Wall Street on the weekend are generally sub-$250, you get a large room for New York and then generous upgrades as a Diamond, the brand offers complimentary non-alcoholic minibar and free internet for everyone, and of course the rather confusing Diamond breakfast benefit. I do much prefer the 5th Avenue property, but would make my decision between the two based on location more than anything else. If I had to be in the financial district I’d definitely return, despite my preference for the location near the New York Public library.