Let’s face it: there are not enough days of the year for me to review every hotel in London. Does that mean, however, that I cannot authoritatively recommend one even while others have yet to be reviewed? Certainly not, and this review will serve to introduce you to the Andaz Liverpool Street hotel in London, a Hyatt property and my new favorite hotel in London.
I knew my parents were coming to London and I had to find a way to get to my brother and me to London to meet them. I procrastinated, though, and all of a sudden I found the trip a few days away and I had no airline tickets booked and no hotel reservations for either my parents or us. Airfare had climbed to over 400EUR return per ticket, but thankfully I had a handy back-up plan: Lufthansa Risemarkt, a travel agency for Lufthansa employees (including Star Alliance) offering hotel and confirmed airfare packages at a substantial discount. All that to say, I was able to secure cheap tickets to London on Lufthansa and a room at the Andaz Liverpool Street for around 249GBP/night (and another one for my parents).
Sure, that is expensive, but it was a busy weekend in London and we would be staying in a prime location at a hotel that does noy nickel and dime (free minibar, free internet, free fitness center access).
While there are some things, like a nice hotel room or fancy dinner, that I do not mind shelling out for, I do have problem with paying the pricey express train fee to get from London Heathrow to Paddington Station. Instead, unless I am absolutely pressed for time, I will take the Tube—even if it means an extra hour on the train. With a smartphone, good tabloid like the Daily Mail and a bottle of water, the time flies by. With one connection from the Piccadilly Line to the Circle Line at Gloucester Road station, we soon found ourselves strolling out of Liverpool Street station and walking right into the Andaz hotel.
Listen to me ramble on and on…it is a hotel review you are looking for, no? Okay, let’s get to the hotel.
In just a moment…
First, another quick story. I can never think about the Andaz Liverpool Street hotel without slapping myself in anger. When the Andaz West Hollywood open several years ago now, I was invited to a party celebrating the opening of the hotel. I was working in LA at the time and decided to work late that evening and skip the party. Oh, what a bad choice. In addition to bottles of wine and generous Hyatt gift cards handed out to all attendees, there was a drawing for a grand prize. Guess who won? That’s right. Me. A r/t ticket for two to London on the airline of my choice and five nights at the Andaz Liverpool Street. But because I was not present, I was passed over for the award. I haven’t won another contest since, and my blood boils even thinking about this. On that happy note…
The Andaz concept opts for agents walking around the lobby with iPads to check guests in rather than herding people to a central check-in desk. Upon entering, I was welcomed to the hotel by an energetic young woman and offered my choice of beverage—fresh squeezed orange juice for me and coffee for my brother. My parents would be arriving soon, but both rooms were under my name so I was able to check in for both. A quick swipe of the credit card and we were all checked in—the hotel was running on the full side, but our rooms were assigned one above the other. Turns out my parent’s room was a bit larger, but I was happy to give it to them—my room was plenty big enough.
The hotel is on the site of the former Great Eastern Hotel (a Victorian structure erected in 1884) and I appreciated how the Andaz combined the hip, urbane motif that defines its brand with a hotel that appears, on the outside and in some parts inside, as a very classic property.
The room was not the most beautiful I have ever been in, but comfortable and large (not to be taken for granted in London). A cozy lounge chair next to the bed served as my workstation during the stay and the complementary wireless internet was very fast. The desk had a few nooks and crannies, including a cubby under the blotter with a hair blow-dryer. Go figure… The bathroom—with black and white tile was actually my favorite part of the room: very nostalgic and like the room, had plenty of space to move about.
Part of the Andaz concept is complimentary snacks, water, juices, and soft drinks in each room’s minibar—the only thing you have to pay for is alcoholic beverages. I really like this concept and enjoyed some delectable spiced peanuts, cookies, and locally-bottled pear juice.
One thing at the hotel annoyed me terribly, which I later learned was due to the old piping at the hotel—whenever you flushed the toilet, showered, or even used the sink, an extremely loud almost garbage disposal noise could be heard moments later. I got used it and it certainly would not stop me from returning to the hotel, but there was no question it was irritating. When you have a classic building and are working with older piping systems, I do understand why this occurred, but I am not sure every hotel guest would just let it slide.
Breakfast is served in a magnificent dining room (don’t take my word for it—see the pictures below) and I started my meal with a classic English breakfast (minus the baked beans—I cannot stomach those in the morning…). Eating bacon is one of my guilty pleasures when traveling, since I never buy it at home, and the hotel fries up some very delicious bacon. But there was much more to the breakfast than that—French toast with fresh berries and maple syrup and a remarkably tasty omelet with avocado rounded out courses two and three. That was followed by a bowl of crunchy granola with plain yogurt, completing a meal that fueled me until dinner. For the less gluttonous, there are many other choices as well, including a number of Continental options and a variety of fresh-baked breads.
The beautiful dining room pictured above and below is the hotel’s signature 1901 Restaurant and Wine Bar. I had made dinner plans at one of my favorite Persian restaurants on the other side of the city, but after breakfast in here I wish I would have tried dinner here as well. It was one of the most stunning yet comfortable rooms I have enjoyed a meal in.
1901 is not the only hotel restaurant. Miyako offers Japanese food, CATCH (pictured below) offers seafood, and Eastway is a brasserie offering a more informal dining experience than 1901.
There are also two bars—a traditional English pub (with English food and ale) called George and a Champagne Bar as well. George features another beautiful dining room that feels so cozy and country-like you forget that you are in the middle of a bustling city.
I never got around to using the hotel fitness center and it was on the small side, but there was a good assortment of cardiovascular equipment.
Nearby the hotel is the Columbia Road Flower Market, Spitalfields and Leadenhall Market—historic shopping centers with an assortment of clothes, food, and bric a brac.
I was impressed by my first stay at an Andaz property, which also happened to be the first of the Andaz properties. Even with the annoying pipes, I had a great stay and would not hesitate to return. The location is well-placed and I really enjoyed the Andaz concept—in fact, I anticipate other hotel chains will catch on…