The Andaz Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, is a foundation of Hyatt’s Andaz brand, being the third hotel to open under the Andaz flag (following the chain’s West Hollywood and London locations). There are no shortage of reviews of the Andaz Wall Street on this site (or on any other miles-and-points site), in particular because the hotel can represent an incredible value, especially on the weekends, when room rates can dip to around the $200/night mark (and sometimes drastically below).
Since its opening in 2010, the Andaz Wall Street has seen Hurricane Sandy inundate its lower floors, and it’s undeniably challenging for a 6-year old hotel to have had to undergo major renovations just to recover from a devastating flood.
I’ve personally stayed at the Andaz Wall Street twice before, in 2011 and in 2014. In 2011, pre-Sandy, I recall a bona fide luxury hotel with warm, personable service, endless amenities, and a quiet but convenient neighborhood. My prior stay, in 2014, I found the hotel to have weathered the storm fairly decently, with the overall modern style of the hotel intact.
I stayed at the Andaz Wall Street recently, however, and was a bit disappointed to discover a markedly different experience (and a general sense of downhill slide that others have telegraphed in foreboding terms).
I arrived to the hotel around 4:00pm on a Friday, which unfortunately is a bit of a prime time to check in, and the lobby was crowded and buzzing. There’s officially no “reception desk” to speak of at the Andaz, although there is a kiosk with attendants to check you in and a line in order to do so. (During previous stays, I’d been greeted entering the lobby and checked in informally.)
In any event, I handed the agent my card and driver’s license and she processed my check-in while I got myself some coffee from a self-serve setup. It’s worth noting they also had a jar of delicious-looking cookies, though I abstained.
Next to the coffee station was an area where you could print our boarding passes and check in for your flight. It was handy, although I can’t help but wonder if those self-service stations will become obsolete over time as travelers move over to checking in and presenting their boarding pass on their own mobile device.
Ultimately, about 5 minutes later I was efficiently presented with my room keys to an Andaz Suite, which I was able to book at a fairly reasonable rate outright. Although the room was booked through Gold Passport with Diamond status, there was no mention of any upgrade, although I think there isn’t a whole lot of room to upgrade an existing suite with the existing room categories at this particular property.
The room itself was furnished beautifully and practically, with clean lines, comfortable and attractive furniture, and an excellent use of space.
My first impression, however, was also that the room was extremely dark, at 4:00 in the afternoon on a summer day. Despite having an obscene amount of windows for a Manhattan hotel room, my suite was on the gloomier side because I faced a wall of skyscrapers surrounding me, with few glimpses of the sunny sky. It was a very quintessential New York view, but from my understanding the Andaz Suites on the other side of the building face out toward the East River, and offer a great deal more light.
The entire suite was L-shaped and open, with the living “room” separated from the “office area” by a modular unit that doubled as a TV stand, minibar, dresser, and dressing area, depending on your perspective. I thought it was quite ingenious.
The desk area was spacious, and well designed, with benches stowed away underneath. I had to do some work from the hotel room, and found it to be a very comfortable setup.
The second television set in the room was installed on the desk facing the bed, which was at the other end of the room’s L-shape. Despite it being an open suite, I did feel like the living, working and sleeping areas were well delineated.
The bed was large and comfortable, with intuitive bedside controls for lighting and blackout shades. At the bedside was an iPhone docking device and speaker system, as well as a pair of earplugs and some advice on how to get a good night’s sleep. (I note the hotel room was exceptionally quiet, and Wall Street on the weekends tends to be less hectic than, say, Midtown, so I didn’t need the earplugs personally.)
There was a bit of wear and tear with the furniture, including a desk that was coming a part a little bit, and armchairs that were slightly stained. It wasn’t anything offensive and maybe it’s what you’d expect in a six-year old property, but there was certainly some upkeep that could have kept things looking spiffier.
What I found strange was the bathroom area, which was as equally part of the open concept of the suite as the bedroom or living area. Indeed, the sink and counter space is open to the room.
The bathroom was stocked with a tube of Colgate toothpaste, and amenities from Beekman 1802, a lifestyle brand from the Hudson Valley.
To the right of the sink was a huge room containing the shower and bathtub. The shower had both a rainshower and a direct spray unit, and overall the bath/shower room had a great deal of sexy appeal… as well as a clear glass door. In other words, there was no possibility of privacy in the suite, and showering would be an act clearly visible to anyone else in the room.
Although I find the lack of bathroom privacy to be irritating as a rule, I can generally let it go when it comes to suites or king-bedded rooms, which tend to be occupied either by a single person, or by a (romantic) couple. Still, I was surprised there was no sliding door to set off the bathroom area from the rest of the room.
More awkwardly, the toilet room, to the left of the sink, was only slightly less exposed, with a frosted glass door. It would seem to me even if you were madly in love with the person sharing your room, you might not want to be confronted with whether they were going No. 1 or No. 2 at any given moment.
Food and Drink
As I mentioned, the hotel offers complimentary coffee in the lobby, and a “wine hour” between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m., with a bottle each of red and white wine available for self service.
During warm weather months, there is a beer garden off the lobby, which is an excellent idea. It was quite lively on a Friday afternoon with a Wall Street after work crowd (at least, the ones who hadn’t already decamped to the Hamptons).
As with every Andaz, the guestroom also contained a minibar and snack area where everything non-alcoholic was free. Unfortunately, as with every Andaz, it’s a bit of a sparsely stocked snack bar, with refills only once per day.
And that’s where all the good things I have to say about the food and beverage service at the Andaz Wall Street end.
I scratched my head when I found out that in room dining was only available for breakfast and dinner, during limited hours. That meant when I got to my room at 4:00 p.m. and wanted a snack bigger than a mini-bag of potato chips, I was out of luck. It seems ridiculous not to offer 24-7 room service in New York City, but it’s downright customer-unfriendly to not offer room service between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
My one experience with in room dining was ordering a glass of wine and a bowl of potato chips during “dinner hours.” I ordered a glass of the Sella Nara white wine, and the server brought me up a Stella Artois beer. No big deal to me, although the server seemed to suggest that this was my fault. When he returned with my glass of wine, he grabbed the old bill from me and insisted that I sign a new one (since the wine was a few dollars more than the beer), but I asked him to come back when I was ready.
He knocked on my door a few minutes later, this time with a curtly-delivered demand on not a request: “I need your bill back.”
Luckily, I called in room dining and had it sorted out, and they took both items off my bill, which was generous. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like the server was actively aggressive.
Breakfast is, as usual, a Diamond amenity with Gold Passport and is given only in the hotel’s restaurant, Dina Rata, not as room service.
When Ben stayed at the Andaz Wall Street in 2014, he noted that on Saturdays and Sundays the breakfast benefit can be taken as a brunch, which is served from 7:00am until 2:00pm.
Unfortunately, the Andaz seems to have ditched its old restaurant concept, Wall & Water, in favor of a scaled-down one called Dina Rata. I showed up for breakfast at 10:45 a.m. and was told that the a la carte menu was available only until 10:30 a.m. on weekends, with a buffet-only option available until noon.
The buffet was actually high quality, if carb-heavy. The next day, I made sure to get to the restaurant for breakfast before 10:30, and I ordered off the a la carte menu. The food was nothing to write home about – especially at the quoted price points, although if taken as a free breakfast, it isn’t as big of a deal.
The Andaz Wall Street is not the most conveniently located hotel for everyone; however, the Financial District is bursting with far more amenities than it’s ever had. The new Westfield World Trade Center Oculus, complete with an Eataly, is open just a few blocks away and across the street from the 9/11 Memorial. Foodie-type restaurants and hidden cocktail bars are opening up by the month in hidden pockets of Lower Manhattan. And the new Governor’s Island park is a short ferry ride away, and well worth a visit. Points uptown are either a quick subway ride (noting that the Wall Street stop on the 2 and 3 trains is shut down on the weekends, for now) or easy taxi or Uber ride away. And what you don’t get in terms of immediate proximity, you make up for by being in a relatively quiet part of Manhattan, at least on the weekends.
So, no, Wall Street is neither the hippest nor the most happening part of New York, but rates to stay in Lower Manhattan are dramatically lower, especially on weekends, than just about anywhere else on the island, so it’s a trade-off.
Service at the Andaz Wall Street was largely hit-and-miss, but memorably punctuated by mistakes or errors (e.g., my Diamond number was accidentally scrubbed from the room at check-in, and I was given a call from the front desk manager to tell me that my Diamond privileges would be revoked; it took my proactive investigation, rather then theirs, to prove their mistake) met, when corrected, with shrugs instead of apologies.
Between service bordering on ho-hum and, at the margins, verging into aggressively bad, and the scaled-back food and beverage program, I got the distinct sense that the Andaz Wall Street has decided to make a pivot.
When it opened, the Andaz was a decidedly luxury property. Unfortunately, the hotel in its off-the-beaten-path location cannot sustain the room rates required for a hotel to operate at true “luxury” capacity.
Instead, the hotel seems to acknowledge the fact it has spacious, luxurious rooms, cutting back instead on service and a food and beverage program. As a result, the hotel is busy, mostly with foreign tourists and wedding parties on the weekends. The hotel is not trendy and, at this point — even if its rooms were designed to appeal to the jet-set — it no longer even attempts to be.
Andaz Wall Street Bottom Line
I can understand that hotels must operate on a bit of a “pick two” situation: luxurious rooms, inexpensive rates, great service; pick two of them. You can have a boutique with great service, cheap rooms and a bare-bones decor, or you can have an expensive property with excellent rooms, impeccable service and, at the end of the stay, wildly expensive folios. The Andaz Wall Street seems to have chosen “inexpensive rates” and “luxurious rooms,” leaving service out to dry.
And that’s OK if you know it going in: if you treat the Andaz as a self-service hotel and just a place to sleep, you’ll appreciate the amenities and the value-oriented rates. Still, I’d have been better off had I simply had a self-service experience: instead, I actively experienced bad service on more than one occasion, which was a severe disappointment.
I recognize service standards are variable; maybe I caught everyone on a bad day. I’ve had terrific service at the Andaz Wall Street in the past, and certainly hope to again. However, what I do think is ridiculous is the truncated in room dining program, which actually made me laugh. Any Hyatt hotel that offers room service should offer lunch, period, end of story.