Is the Andaz Wall Street as bad as View from The Wing says?

In November Gary at View from the Wing blog wrote about the Andaz Wall Street. His review depicts the property as having reduced their service since they opened and that it had got bad in recent months. (Interestingly the GM stopped by to make some conciliatory comments).

I had been sitting on a stay for Mid-December since much earlier in the year and had an exceptionally good rate for a stay two weeks before Christmas, so was loathe to cancel it. I had stayed at the property several times before but was a little concerned about how it might go.

Well, I can confirm Gary is right. The service levels at the property are rock bottom right now. Indeed several of things he mentions following his conversation with the GM have not yet happened, despite being “three weeks away” on 20 November.

I’ll go through my specific service issues, many of which I accept are #FirstWorldProblems.

1. Arrival
I know where the property is located and so was able to direct the driver quite easily. The fun part was the hunt for an employee to check me in. After a few minutes someone appeared and I could check-in, although a different employee had to make the keys. I enquired about some FedEx boxes I was expecting, and which I knew had arrived. ‘No, we have nothing for you’ was the reply. When I pressed the agent offered ‘Perhaps they on your other booking, you know the one that was cancelled’. This was said in a way that suggested that this was somehow my problem/fault. In fact it happens when the Hyatt Private Line agent changes the room rate, which had happened several months before. The question should have been why did the receiving person put the information about FedEx’s on the cancelled booking, but I wasn’t going to go there.

2. Room Upgrade
In his review Gary mentions that he received an upgrade to an Andaz Suite and indeed this had been my typical experience until this stay. I was upgraded to the Andaz Large King. The upgrade was technically to their best room type below a Suite so complied with the Gold Passport offering to Diamond Members. Clearly this is a change to what they had done previously.

In addition, the room was on the 11th floor whereas my profile asks for a High Floor and this was just under half way up. View from the room (back of building):

The room was fine, don’t get me wrong. Large and light for New York. Here is view of the bed towards the large bathroom:

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Basin / closet:

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Looking towards the door:

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Shower:

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From bath to bed:

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3. Housekeeping
Gary mentions that he wasn’t impressed with it when he was there. I wasn’t either. It took until 3.30pm before the room was cleaned. Gary also noted that his mini-bar and snacks were not there when checked-in. I can confirm that mine were and that they were refreshed on the second day of my stay:

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4. Breakfast
This property used to be one of the nicest in terms of its breakfast offerings. Initially you could use Room Service to order, which I loved when the jet lag hit and I didn’t want to wait for the Restaurant to open. Even when you had to go down to the Restaurant there was a decent offering. However, this has been dumbed down to an offering of cold items, with the option of paying for eggs. There is more at the weekend I am told but I had to leave early on the Saturday so did not see evidence of this.

5. Room Service
Many Andaz’s offer two things that I loved on the Room Service menu – build your own salad and build your own sandwich. Both of these offerings are gone from this property now, in favour of very predictable room service offerings.

6. Evening Wine and Morning Coffee in Lobby
These are both gone with no sign of their return.

7. No Coffee Maker in Room
I hate this – you wake at 3am, as I always do on my first night in the US and have to get dressed, cross the road to the Walgreens to get a cup of coffee. Or pay $8 plus tip/tray charge for a pot in the room. Hummm, not a hard choice.

So what exactly are the strengths of the property:

1. Rate – I paid under $300 per night which is great for Manhattan in mid-December. You can stay here for $175 in mid-January at a weekend.

A quick check of the rates for the same weekend in 2014 (11-14 December) offer these options:

Grand Hyatt $359
Andaz 5th Avenue $375
Hyatt 48 Lex – $503 (Whow!)
Hyatt Place Midtown South – $341
Hyatt Times Square – $476
Hyatt Union Square – $535
Andaz Wall Street – $275
(Jersey City – $271)

2. Location – Whilst away from the theatres and the busyness of the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central, I like being near the water. The subway (Line 2,3) is only a 3 block walk. You can get here easily from JFK (Airtrain to Jamaica, Long Island Railroad to Atlantic Avenue and then 2,3 to Wall Street) and it’s only about a 15 minute walk to New Jersey transit at World Trade Centre. Before the terrorists hit WTC on 9/11 I stayed at the Marriott WTC for many years and so like and know this part of Manhattan.
3. Room size – the rooms are large and airy which is unusual for Manhattan.

However, I have to say that the poor service is going to outpace these advantages for now. Let’s hope there are reports of a good 2014 from the Management of this property.

Comments

  1. “7. No Coffee Maker in Room I hate this – you wake at 3am, as I always do on my first night in the US and have to get dressed, cross the road to the Walgreens to get a cup of coffee. Or pay $8 plus tip/tray charge for a pot in the room. Hummm, not a hard choice.”

    In fact it’s worse than that, it’s not even a choice, because there’s no room service available (if memory serves that begins at 6am).

    There used to be 24h coffee in the lobby, I’d go downstairs.

    Now if I don’t want to leave the hotel there is no option at all because I cannot even pay room service for coffee. Which to me is unforgivable for a full service hotel. I should always be able to get coffee, period.

  2. After being diamond for many years…this is the first hotel actually wrote a letter of complaint on.

    If they are going to do the uber hip factor, then do the basics also. I shouldn’t be puzzled walking to know who to go to for check in. The employees (or who i think were employees) were all buried in their ipads, not being attentive to who’s walking in.

    Walking into the room on a trip from tokyo, I need to take a quick shower prior to a client dinner. The shower was broken… so, since I hadn’t unpacked, I just asked to be reassigned to a different room. Well, their solution is to send an engineer to “show me how to work the shower” (again my strong protest). I’m 50 and know how to work a shower… I greeted the “engineer” at the door with the broken handle in hand… needless to say, I went to my client meeting unshowered… and had to dress while this bozo putted around in my room.

    Morning breakfast, just wanted a cup of coffee….3 people had to explain to me the locally sourced food.. eggs from some roof top etc… but none were able to simply pour me a cup. After 10 min, I got it my self to “frowny faces”

    Called down for car…when i got there… same thing.. who’s the valet?? When I found them…lots of typing on ipad, no eye contact… no car for 20 min.

    They are trying to be too hip, with insufficient attention to detail.

  3. Did they not offer you another room, so that you wouldn’t have to wait until 3:30PM for that room to be cleaned? If not, they should have compensated you for that since the hotel’s check-in time is 3PM, which means you should be guaranteed a room by then.

  4. They didn’t but I wanted to also share that the diamond desk credited my account miles… it was a non-trivial amount (I think it was enough for a free night at that hotel). A supervisor called me by phone about 30 min after I sent my review. She made a point of stating that over the past x years, all my surveys had been overwhelmingly positive and this was way out of the norm and she took 15-20 min asking me questions.

    So, while I seemed negative above… it was really on that hotel only, and not on Hyatt. Honestly, I was impressed they followed up so quickly.

  5. @Gary — We too love fresh half & half for our morning coffee. This past week in KL, we got lots of stares when even asking for “cream”. I jokingly asked my partner, “I wonder if Gary brings his own fresh half & half”.

  6. @Gene there is sometimes a language barrier, and half and half isn’t going to translate well, but I’m happy using just less heavy cream and that can usually be accomplished. I love a really deep, rich cup of coffee balanced by really creamy milk (no 2% etc). If a hotel cannot provide that it falls many notches in my book.

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