Review: Andaz Wall Street

Last summer I stayed at the Andaz Wall Street during my visit to the BlogWorld New Media Expo. This review is a long time coming, but I’m trying to catch up ;) Overall I enjoyed my stay and look forward to returning to the property. The one fault is that it is in lower Manhattan and pretty much dead on the weekend. That may be why I was able to get a reasonable rate on a Friday night of about $300. (Nothing is ever cheap in New York, merely “reasonable.”)

Our town car dropped us off around the corner from the main entrance, which caused a minor disturbance when I tried to walk in the first door I saw and found myself in the residents’ lobby. Once I figured out where I was going, I had my first experience with an Andaz check-in. I had stayed at the Andaz Napa before, but at the time it was still the AVIA Napa and operated a little differently.

picture of hotel desk and televison

picture of hotel room sitting area

Andaz properties have several “hosts,” one of whom is assigned to you throughout your stay and is responsible for checking you in and addressing any other requests. There is no front desk, although the hosts do have a kiosk they tend to hang around. Instead you take a seat on one of the couches, and they offer to bring you coffee, tea, or water from the free refreshments in the lobby.

I think I’ve made it clear before that sitting down during any check-in process is uncomfortable for me. I like to stand up, preferably with a counter, and keep things professional and quick. I wasn’t planning on hanging around long enough to actually get comfortable sitting, which I think just made it uncomfortable for my host to see me insist on standing.

picture of hotel bed

picture of hotel bathrobe

But soon we were on our way to the room, upgraded to a corner suite. Although not technically divided into a separate living room and bedroom, there was a TV “wall” between the two and a complimentary mini bar underneath it (alcohol still has a charge). We never really used the sitting area during our short stay, but we did like the big island in the bedroom, with space for me to set up my workspace on one end and for Megan to do her makeup on the other.

Almost everything in the room was controlled by switches, including a few master switches that would set the room to different “moods” by raising or lower the blinds a certain amount and adjusting the lights in different areas. It was nice to be able to raise the blackout curtains in the morning all at once to let in the light without having to go to each of several windows.

picture of hotel sink and mirror

picture of hotel bathtub

The bathroom was the coolest feature of this room. The shower was almost as big as my Seattle apartment’s bedroom, though the black walls and floor made it very dark and a little hard to see. Past the shower was the tub, and it might have been nice to put the tub somewhere with more light. Still, Megan enjoyed it and has power as the ultimate arbiter of whether the robe is fluffy enough or the bathtub big enough. ;) Andaz hotels get to choose their own toiletries, and this one procures theirs from C.O. Bigelow.

The next morning I headed downstairs to get a workout before breakfast and found one of the nicest hotel gyms ever. The wood paneling and mirrors made it feel more like a function room. We also saw a neat demo kitchen outside (also in the basement) which must get used for occasional events at the hotel.

picture of hotel gym

Breakfast at the Andaz Wall Street, like the famed lemon poppy seed pancakes at the Andaz Fifth Avenue, is a treat. My Diamond breakfast amenity here was $50 per person and we could have easily spent more with a menu that included exotic ingredients like foie gras. The décor, food, and service were all excellent. I still went over that limit by about $9 due to the size of my gratuity.

picture of breakfast plate

The only real fault with the Andaz Wall Street, as I alluded to earlier, is that there is almost nothing to do in the financial district. Even the walk to the 9/11 Memorial was a hike, though I guess this wouldn’t be too bad a place if you were planning on shopping in SoHo and TriBeCa. Personally, I much preferred the midtown location of our stay the following night at the Grand Hyatt New York even though some features of the hotel put it it a notch below the excellent comfort and service of the Andaz Wall Street. Look for my review of the Grand Hyatt New York in the next week.

There are several other Hyatt properties open or opening soon in New York, and I hope to review them in the future. However, I just don’t visit New York very often. Don’t hate on me too much for neglecting to compare the Andaz Wall Street to the Andaz 5th Avenue or the Hyatt 48Lex. Both properties receive excellent comments from others, but I have not yet had the opportunity to stay at them and provide my own perspective.

Scott created Travel Codex after learning how to travel better on a budget during grad school. He now flies over 150,000 miles every year.
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  • http://www.willrunformiles.com/ Kathy K

    love the gym.

  • Craig

    I stayed at the Andaz twice and enjoyed breakfast as a Diamond member. I learned that the benefit is a “soft” $50 per person, which is what they initially tell you, but it translates into an actual $75 per person. I booked each reservation on the Diamond hotline and I don’t know if the reservationist made a mistake, but I was confirmed in the large suite each time (this hotel only upgrades Diamonds into the smaller suite) that contains a dinner table that can seat ten.

  • FullMoon

    I stayed there a few weeks ago. There were no beverages at checkin and no coffee offered at any time. Also no wine happy hour. The gym downstairs was closed the entire weekend. These things were still being advertised on their website. Whether it was due to Sandy or anything else, it would have been easy to offer guests coffee in the restaurant since the website clearly stated it was available. The staff was surly about it when repeatedly asked. Disappointing.

    • Scottrick

      That’s unfortunate. As you point out, Sandy affected a lot of buildings in lower Manhattan, and I don’t know what the specific effects might have been at this property.

      • jeep

        Rather strangely, I live in one of the apartment above the hotel (no association with Andaz though). We were really impacted by Sandy, with the ground floor and all lower levels flooded, loss of electricity, water, etc for several weeks, the gym and spa in the hotel (which are downstairs) may still closed. But generally speaking, the hotel is incredibly popular, the restaurant is one of the best in the area, it’s very well priced at the weekend, and it’s nicely quiet in the evening.

        I’d humbly disagree with Scott on the ‘nothing to do in the area’ comment though. It’s certainly a common perception (and in fact my own before I moved here). There’s a tonne of restaurants and bars (admittedly, a lot more 10 mins away in Tribeca), Battery Park, Castle Clinton, Governor’s Island, the National Museum of Native American Indian, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Museum of Finance, Skyscraper Museum, trips to Ellis Island / Statue of Liberty, Federal Hall, the NY Stock Exchange and so on. Brooklyn Bridge is a 10 min walk, and most of the subway lines are a few minutes away. Believe me, you kinda notice all the tourists blocking your path after you’ve been here a few months :-)

        • Scottrick

          Thanks for the suggestions! Admittedly, Manhattan and I have never really gotten along. I will need to make a greater effort exploring and learning to live like a local.