Hyatt launched the Andaz brand in 2007, and the brand now has 18 hotels in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. Personally I’m a fan of the brand, though there’s no denying that the growth pace has been incredibly slow, as opening just 18 hotels in over a decade isn’t exactly impressive.
Andaz Singapore pool
In many ways this is reflective of Hyatt’s overall problem, though. Hyatt is struggling to grow their portfolio outside of limited service hotels, and as there’s consolidation among other groups in the hotel industry, they’re being left behind.
While Andaz isn’t as high end as Park Hyatt, for example, the brand does have some unique attributes. The hotels generally have interesting design, they offer complimentary soft drinks and snacks in the minibar, there’s an evening wine social, the check-in experience is more personalized (you’re checked in by hosts on tablets, rather than at a traditional front desk), and more. I find that they’re a good option for what they offer.
While I’m a big fan of seeing the Andaz brand grow, the latest Andaz to be announced is coming at the expense of a Hyatt. Specifically, the Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi will be rebranded as an Andaz in late 2018. This will also be the first Andaz property in the Middle East.
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Capital Gate many times. It’s an excellent option if you have a quick overnight in Abu Dhabi, since it’s about halfway between the airport and the city. I wouldn’t want to stay here if my goal was to sightsee in Abu Dhabi, but for a quick overnight it’s an unbeatable option.
The hotel is also a Category 4 World of Hyatt property, so it has been a great option if wanting to redeem an anniversary free night certificate from The Hyatt Credit Card for a stay here. However, in summer you’re much better off paying cash, since the rates are super low.
At that rate I’m paying cash!
What’s Hyatt’s motivation for this rebranding? I suspect there could be a couple of things at play area:
- By opening one Andaz in the Middle East, Hyatt is probably hoping it will lead to more hotel owners jumping onboard with the concept; after all, no one wants to be the guinea pig
- The Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi just opened, and joins the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi and Hyatt Abu Dhabi, so it could be that they wanted to differentiate the branding more, as the “plain” Hyatt may get lost in the mix
I think this also all gets at the challenges Hyatt has had with branding over the past many years. For a long time Hyatt seemed to want to brand virtually every full service hotel as a Hyatt Regency or Grand Hyatt. Then after a while they started branding many newly built hotels as just plain Hyatt, since they presumably realized they overdid it a bit with the “Grand” and “Regency” designations. But that also sends consumers a mixed message. What exactly is a “plain” Hyatt supposed to be? Is it not as nice as a Grand or Regency?
Anyway, more than anything I find this rebranding interesting. It really gets at the degree to which hotel branding has very little substance, and hotels can easily switch between brands. I doubt we’ll see huge changes to this property. Here’s what the hotel’s owner and GM have to say about the rebranding:
“We are extremely excited to introduce the Andaz brand to the Middle East,” said Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, group chief executive of ADNEC. “As each Andaz hotel pays homage to its location, Andaz Capital Gate Abu Dhabi will do so by incorporating local art, which will take guests on a journey into the UAE’s vibrant history and culture. A permanent art collection in the hotel will reflect the indigenous culture and evolution of UAE life, featuring the work of both Emirati and local artists.”
“The Andaz lifestyle brand is the ideal fit for Abu Dhabi, a city synonymous with art, culture and innovation – elements at the core of the Andaz brand,” said Stuart Deeson, general manager of the hotel and area vice president Abu Dhabi for Hyatt. “With this opening, we hope to significantly enhance the traveler experience in the capital by delivering guests luxury accommodations, unique local insights, and creative inspiration for which the brand is known.”
I’ve always liked the Hyatt Capital Gate for a quick overnight in Abu Dhabi, given its convenient location between the city and airport. In many ways I could see how the hotel could already just be branded as an Andaz if they threw in free minibar drinks. I imagine we’ll see some minor changes, but that’s about it.
Sadly I don’t have overnights in Abu Dhabi as often as I used to, largely because I feel Etihad has lost its luster.
What do you make of Hyatt being rebranded as an Andaz?
(Tip of the hat to Running With Miles)