Why the Andaz 5th Avenue is My Favorite Hotel in New York

I’ve written several times about the Andaz 5th Avenue in New York. It’s been my ‘go to’ in the city for over four years.

For instance: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The basic idea is:

  • It’s a nice hotel, with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and some snacks.
  • The rooms are generally large, especially for New York
  • They have a lot of suites
  • They treat Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members well — while there are a ton of different kinds of suites, and on my most recent stay I had one of the lesser ones, I’ve only not had a suite once there (on my first stay)
  • They allow Diamond members to take complimentary breakfast via room service. And the food is really good.

They put all of this together at a price point I generally see in the $300s. That’s a lot of money, in fact it’s towards the high end of what I’ve ever spent on a room. But it’s not all that bad for New York, you get a lot for the money by New York standards.

The location is directly across from the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue, which often works well for me location-wise too.

And the rooms are really attractive, especially the bathrooms.

The minibar is always a plus, only the alcohol is at a charge.

And the lemon poppyseed pancakes? Still very good.

I met the hotel’s General Manager Cornelia Samara at the launch party for Wendy Perrin’s new website last year, and looked her up while I was on property. I asked about some recent changes on property, and what was in the works.

Four changes since I last wrote about the property:

  • The biggest improvement came at the beginning of the year. I’ve never had a problem sleeping here, but I’m not disturbed by light. One of the most common complaints about the hotel was the blackout curtains, that they weren’t wide enough and let light creep in. They’ve widened those, so folks that avoided the property over blackout curtains can now return.

  • They have a new chef, Chef Santoro who now offers a chef’s table at the restaurant. He joins the property from the Park Hyatt in DC where he was chef de cuisine.

  • The chairs at the desk now have wheels, which is a little thing but anyone who has worked at the desk will likely appreciate that.

  • They’ve upgraded power by the bedsides to allow charging personal electronic devices.

Upcoming changes:

  • The hotel is looking at finishing the rooftop and doing something with it – although they’re not sure what. A bar would be nice, but they don’t want the lobby traffic that would come with a rooftop bar. A reception space is another possibility.

  • The hotel should go through a soft renovation of rooms around January – February 2017. That will include carpet and furniture. They’re evaluating whether to enclose the shower, the lack of a shower door has never been a problem for me and I don’t get the bathroom floor wet but apparently it’s something many guests have asked for. (In contrast, my suggestion would be a door separating the toilet room from the rest of the bathroom.) They’re also looking at adding a second wardrobe to large king rooms.

The changes planned aren’t anything drastic, the hotel just doesn’t need it, they hit a really great sweet spot for price and value in the city in my opinion — especially for Gold Passport Diamond members.

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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Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Have stayed there 3 times and look forward to doing again next month when I’m down for meetings.

  2. Hey Garry,

    Any update on the hyatt Centrics? I want to stay in South beach but I am not sure what the diamond bens are are I may just stay at regency … thoughts?

  3. Thanks for the heads up about the blackout shades…that really seemed to bother folks? we are booked 5 days in late September …planning on an NFL game in the Meadowlands and some exploring and visiting our NY childhood memories. Seems like a great located hotel near the MTA to get around and see the city.
    Booked 5 free nights using Hyatt points and some points transferred from Chase…all on advice, reviews, and how to info. from you and other BA bloggers …We will leave right before the Pope hits town to address the UN!

  4. I must say that your love for this hotel baffles me. I have stayed at this hotel a number of times and tried to warm up to it, to no avail. The rooms are stylish in a form-over-function sort of way that does not work for business travel, and the food and service are mediocre. The Bar Downstairs is excellent, but I don’t need to stay at the Andaz to enjoy it. When I travel for work, I want a quiet, clean, comfortable room that allows me to work, organize my stuff in a convenient way, get some healthy food and exercise when I need it, and get help with unforeseen circumstances from front desk/concierge staff. Andaz 5th Avenue seems to struggle with delivering a lot of those.

    Desk and desk chair: These are key elements for work travel. As with the weirdly-angular couch, the desk chair is at bar lounge chair height, making it very uncomfortable for most adults to sit comfortably to work. Wheels on the chair don’t fix the need-to-crouch problem. On top of that, I have yet to stay in a room that has the track lighting above the desk actually aligned with the desk work space, so I’m always asking for a desk lamp (which they don’t have — they’ll send up a dim mood light).

    Closet/storage: I like to take things out of my luggage when I travel, but the Andaz has those silly glass cubes with limited hangers, no drawers, and cramped access in the hallway. Why? It doesn’t even look stylish. An extra wardrobe in some of the rooms isn’t going to fix the basic design problem with the other rooms.

    Bathroom: Not clean, and too dark. The finish surfaces are generally rough and darkly colored, so one doesn’t notice immediately that there is toothpaste splattered all over the wood and god knows what else. Not easily wiped down. There also not enough light in the bathroom.

    Maintenance and housekeeping: Apart from the gross bathroom walls, I have had ripped window shades (the light came in at a different place!), matted hair in the shower, hair in the bed, and a strangely-stained toilet.

    Food/room service: The restaurant and room service food was trying too hard with the Brooklyn hipster shtick. I travel a lot and would like to have some healthy options, not just organic pork belly this, artisanal bacon that. Let’s hope the change in chef alters this. Room service is usually abrupt (slamming down trays), with slow service and mixed-up orders.

    Gym: The gym is pretty well equipped, but the subterranean fluorescent vibe is sort of nausea-inducing. Does it have to be so depressing? Also, it’s time to fix the catch on the entry door. It has been slamming full-force, like a gun going off repeatedly during my workout, for more than a year.

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