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Hotel review: Andaz 5th Avenue, New York (USA)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (April 6, 2016): Review of the Andaz 5th Avenue, New York (USA). 

Andaz 5th Avenue is a chic boutique hotel in Midtown Manhattan that is quintessential New York City and the perfect place to express your personal style. Manhattan is all about reinvention; and this hotel’s philosophy is that you should be a little different. True to the Andaz concept, Andaz 5th Avenue offers uncomplicated and natural service by people who are passionate about your experience at one of the most unique hotels in New York City. The hotel belongs to the portfolio of the Hyatt Hotel Group.

In this review (more info below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • The hotel enjoys a super-central location in the Big Apple, one the best of all hotels in Manhattan. Located in a corner building on 5th Avenue at 41st Street in midtown Manhattan, the hotel is directly across the street from the main branch of the New York Public Library, one of the city’s grand landmarks. The hotel is within walking distance to iconic New York attractions, like Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, the Theater District, the Rockefeller Center, and the fashionable 5th Avenue shopping. It’s only a 2 minute walk to the 42nd Street – Bryant Park/Fifth Avenue subway station.
  • The hotel’s 485 Fifth Avenue location has a storied history in fashion and retail. Built during the great era of Manhattan department stores, it was the largest and last of the Rogers, Peet & Co. department stores, later becoming the Tommy Hilfiger global headquarters before its transformation into the Andaz 5th Avenue hotel.
  • The discrete and somewhat unremarkable entrance to the hotel is marked by bronze-colored doors and located on 41st Street, between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue. Once inside, guests are welcomed in the hotel lobby’s trendy decor, which was created renowned designer Tony Chi and feels more like an upscale lounge than the transactional center of a hotel. Natural materials such as black- and white-washed poplar and rich grey basalt provide a counterpoint to the sheen of white lacquer finishes and marquis lighting. In playful contrast, a striking 14-foot vermillion painting by Carlos Capelán and a Nick Hornby sculpture represent the dynamic energy of New York City.
  • The Andaz 5th Avenue has its own intimate library nook on the ground level, adjacent to the lobby, where a rotating collection of titles is on display.
  • The hotel has a rather non-traditional check-in procedure since it lacks a traditional front desk. Upon entering the hotel, you are met by one of the e-tablet-wielding staf members (called “Andaz hosts”) who circulate around the lobby. The host greets you with a glass of wine or a refreshing beverage, completes the check-in on a an iPad, and then escorts you to your guest room.
  • Students from the High School of Art and Design have painted original art in the hallways to inspire guests during their stay in this funky New York hotel.
  • The 184 loft-like guestrooms complement the hotel’s unique design elements and are reminiscent of apartments in pre-war New York. These are some of the largest hotel rooms in New York City, starting from 322 square feet. During my visit, I stayed in a very spacious loft suite, which featured a separate living room (with dining corner) in addition to the bedroom. Featuring a minimalist, contemporary design (without being desperately hip), the suite had all modern conveniences one could wish and bedding was superb! Light fixtures reminiscent of pre-war subway lanterns, steel-blue wall colors, black poplar shutter doors, and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of 5th Avenue created the ultimate loft ambience.
  • Black-washed poplar shutters enclose the guestroom’s oversized bathrooms that are lined in polished travertine marble with rainfall shower heads, dual sinks, and amenities from legendary New York apothecary C.O. Bigelow. Each room has a black porcelain footbath in the shower area with a spout dedicated to filling it, perfect for relaxing feet that have spent hours pounding the pavement of one of the world’s best walking cities.
  • Guests of the hotel can enjoy mini-bars stocked with snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, all free of charge and replenished daily.
  • Wireless internet is complimentary as well as calls to local area codes.
  • Evoking an intimate and entertaining vibe, the Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue is a neighborhood-centric restaurant serving delicious, simple foods that change with what’s at the height of the season. The Shop offers fresh, local cuisine in a chic, casual atmosphere, with great views of 5th Avenue. The menu features ingredients that are sourced from New York State farms and local purveyors such as Katz’s Delicatessen, Sullivan Street Bakery, and the Pickle Guys – all the places that New Yorkers try to keep secret. In case you’re not very hungry or feel more like a dining experience on-the-go, the Shop retail offers freshly made soups, sandwiches and pastries brought in from local Manhattan purveyors.
  • For a change of pace, you can ease into the bar downstairs. The sleek and sophisticated hotel bar serves small-batch liquors and a carefully curated selection of wines by the glass, along with small and medium plates to share.
  • Besides the bar, there’s also a small but excellent, 24 hour gym in the hotel’s basement, equipped with LCD virtual trainers and iPod connectivity.
  • The Andaz hosts are gracious and able to help with any guest wishes within the hotel, and are always ready with local insider tips.
  • The Andaz 5th Avenue has very reasonable room rates, despite being one of the best rated and located hotels in the heart of New York. I paid $250 USD per night for a stay in October, taxes inclusive, making use of a BRG claim (more on that below in my ‘tips to save money’).

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

This is by no means one of New York’s most luxurious property and it does not pretend to be one. It feels more like an excellent 4-star hotel rather than a ultra-luxe 5 star hotel. Yet, it’s one of my favorite Big Apple hotels because of its superb location, very spacious rooms, and the remarkably decent rates for a Midtown Manhattan luxury hotel. There’s just some minor things you need to know when considering a stay here:

  • Not all rooms come with a view. Those on the lower floors look out onto the surrounding skyscrapers.
  • This is probably my strangest complaint ever but the temperature in the hotel’s hallways was freezlingly cold.
  • While the food at The Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue was great, I felt there was a sense of arrogance when I interacted with restaurant staff, which was not in line with the excellent service provided by the front desk teams, the management, and the housekeeping staff.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 8/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Food: 8/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,4/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the Andaz 5th Avenue.
  • Save money: make use of Hyatt’s best rate guarantee. If you find a better rate, the Hyatt Hotel Group will match it and give you $50 toward your next stay.
  • Elite members of Hyatt’s loyalty program, World of Hyatt, are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – complimentary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast. Click here to read my review of the World of Hyatt program (with pros & cons).
  • Request a room on a higher floor if you don’t want to be disturbed by street noise.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT NEW YORK

Anytime! Each season in Gotham offers visitors plenty of reasons to visit. Early fall offers crisp breezes, bright sun and comfortable temperatures (indian summer) , and may the best time for a visit.  Winter can be cold, but that also means better hotel rates. Spring is glorious and New Yorkers celebrate the thaw by taking to the streets, shopping at outdoor markets, frolicking in Central Park and dining outside. Summer can be unbearable hot, so try to avoid July and August.


HOW TO GET THERE

For those coming by plane, New York City is served by 3 airports:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is the primary international airport serving the greater New York City area. Check the Wikipedia page of JFK Airport for an updated list of airlines that have direct flights to this airport. 
  • Newark International Airport (EWR), located in the state of New Jersey, is about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Manhattan. Check the Wikipedia page of Newark Airport for tan updated list of airlines that have direct flights to this airport. 
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA), located in the borough Queens, is the busiest airport in the United States without any non-stop service to Europe. Check the Wikipedia page of LaGuardia Airport for an updated list of on airlines that have direct flights to this airport. 

THE HOTEL IS LOCATED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE NYC PUBLIC LIBRARY

THE HOTEL IS LOCATED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE NYC PUBLIC LIBRARY

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT: VIEW

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT: VIEW

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

GYM

GYM

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER


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