Asia on a Whim: The Andaz Wall Street

Introduction
TPA-MIA-JFK on American with a visit to the MIA Flagship Lounge
The Andaz Wall Street
JFK-SFO on American Flagship Service with a visit to the JFK Flagship Lounge
SFO-HKG on Cathay Pacific with a visit to the BA F lounge
The Wing and HKG-DPS on Cathay Pacific
The Grand Hyatt Bali
The InterContinental Bali
DPS-HKG on Cathay Pacific
The Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin
The Wing and HKG-SFO on Cathay Pacific
SFO-JFK-MIA-TPA on American


The first (extremely logical) question you’re probably asking yourself is why the hell did we stay at a hotel on Wall Street when we were just laying over on our way to Asia. Well, originally I was going to book the Holiday Inn JFK, which is the one reasonably priced airport hotel that’s decent (not to mention my good friend Dwayne works there), but it seems that they’ve just rebranded it to the “International JFK Airport Hotel.”

Given that I’m a new Hyatt Diamond, I decided it would make sense to put my status to the test. Besides, why not take advantage of the opportunity to experience a new hotel “concept,” Andaz. While the rate at the Andaz Wall Street was a steep $250 (given the purpose of our stay), they currently have a promotion (code is “ANDAZ5”) whereby you earn 5,000 bonus Gold Passport points per stay, and also get a $50 hotel credit. That’s in addition to the “G2” bonus they have, which nets an extra 2,000 points. So add that to the base points, and assuming Hyatt points are valued at two cents each, and we’re looking at a very reasonable deal.

We made it to the relatively unmarked Andaz shortly after midnight after about four transfers on the subway, where we encountered our first struggle – they had the tiniest revolving doors that weren’t automatic. Wrestling with bags and a revolving door is not easy, as I learned the hard way.

Once inside we were greeted (not sure if that’s an appropriate term or not, more like acknowledged) by the two front desk agents sitting there. With a rather lame attempt at small talk (the male agent asked a question to start a conversation, but didn’t seem to pay attention or ask any follow up question) we were handed our keys within minutes and directed to the elevators.

My Hyatt Diamond status wasn’t acknowledged in any way, so I inquired whether we would receive complimentary breakfast. The male agent looked over at the other agent with a look of confusion and said “do we do free breakfast for Diamonds?” After a moment the agent said “yeah, I guess you could have breakfast in the restaurant or in your room.” That really is totally unacceptable. At the very least they should know the rules, not to mention they should have proactively explained our benefits.

We made it to our room on the 15th floor, which was very nice, except for one little hiccup – the room only had one bed, and we reserved a room with two double beds. So we went back down to the reception and mentioned this to the agent. His initial reaction was one of confusion – while I wasn’t in the guy’s head, based on his facial expressions I would imagine he was thinking something like “huh, you’re not shacking up?” After clicking around on his computer for a moment, he says “yeah, we don’t have any of those available.” I mentioned that availability of preferred bed type was a guaranteed Diamond benefit, although he really just seemed out of it. I asked whether they at least had a larger room available with one bed, so he upgraded us to a deluxe room. This makes me wonder why we weren’t upgraded to that room to begin with, as a Diamond should be. No apology of any sort was offered.


Elevator

The whole check-in experience was just beyond frustrating and shows a lack of training on the part of the hotel, though the rest of the stay really was quite good. Our room was large and very nicely decorated with modern furnishings. The floors were all wood, the ceilings were high, and the bed was very comfortable. There was a huge flat screen TV, there were plenty of plugs, and most things were quite easy to operate. The chair at the desk wasn’t exactly very good for anyone trying to get work done (an office chair would be nice), but oh well.


Room


Desk and massive TV


Comfortable bed


By the window

The shower was massive (you could have a party in there), but this brings up another frustration. Like a lot of newer hotels, the bedroom and shower are separated by a glass shield. It’s a nice option to have, as there’s usually some sort of blind that can be pulled down for privacy, should it be desired. Unfortunately the Andaz didn’t have that. There was a glass shield, so you better wanna make showering a spectator’s sport, or you’re staying at the wrong place.


Sink


View of shower from room


Bathtub


Bathroom

Another thing that makes Andaz unique is that the soft drinks and snacks in the minibar are free. This includes four bottles of VOSS water (two still and two sparkling), two bottles of Diet Coke, one bottle of Coke, one bottle of Sprite, one bottle of orange juice, and two bottles of tonic water. As far as the snacks go, there’s a Cliff bar, Dagoba chocolate bar, and two bags of Terra chips. This is just brilliant, in my opinion. Those snacks and drinks cost next to nothing (and chances are people wouldn’t otherwise pay an arm and a leg for them), yet it really adds to the experience. Furthermore, I’m betting it increases sales of the alcohol in the minibar.


Minibar


Snacks


View from room


Floor layout

The morning of our flight we had breakfast at Wall & Water, the hotel restaurant. As a Diamond I had a $50 breakfast credit (which I knew through FlyerTalk, not the front desk agent, sadly), and we also had a $50 credit through the “ANDAZ5” promotion. So basically we had $100 to spend on breakfast. Suffice it to say we had a very, very nice breakfast. The food was delicious and the service was good.


Wall & Water kitchen


Menu


Delicious strawberry banana smoothie


Fresh fruit


Crepes


Breakfast

Breakfast came out to about $85 with tip, well within our “budget.” After packing it was time to head to the airport for our evening flight to San Francisco, connecting onwards to Hong Kong and Bali.

The check out process was certainly more “professional” than the check-in process, though still took forever. First I was shown the folio by the agent on his portable computer, which still included the $85 breakfast charge. I reminded him that I was a Diamond and that I had booked through the ANDAZ5 promotion, at which point he took $50 off. He insisted that I really had “lunch,” since that’s what the restaurant tagged it as (guess we were done with breakfast shortly after 10AM). After explaining we had breakfast, he took everything off the bill and we were on our merry way.

Since I didn’t really get to “experience” the lobby the night before, I took a quick peak around. There were several agents standing around with their portable computers, which is usually how they check people in, and they also had a buffet set up with free snacks, which are apparently there in the mornings and evenings. They’re basically just samples, with larger versions available for a charge.


Lobby


Snack area


Exterior


Exterior

So, would I return? I’m not sure. I really like the hotel as such, from the hardwood floors to the huge TV to the comfortable bed to the rather large size of the room to the free minibar. But they have a lot of work to do when it comes to service. For one, the agents need to be informed better and know benefits they offer, and they also need to take a better “customer service” approach. When you screw something up you should apologize for it. Not offering an apology of any sort, other than a sigh and “oh,” is awful customer service.

Given that this is a new hotel I’m hoping they can improve the soft product a bit, in which case I’ll be back for sure.

The really bright spot in all this? I earned nearly 16,000 points for my one night stay. One night at a top Hyatt costs 18,000 points.

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Comments

  1. How did you earn 16000 points in one stay.?At most with the bonuses it should be around 9000 points unless I am missing something?

    Email the GM of the property with your grievances to let him know this his unacceptable as he should know better coming from the PH Zurich.

    Email me if you need his email address as I was recently in contact with him.

  2. I’m guessing:

    30% base point bonus +
    5000 promotion bonus gold passport points (code ANDAZ5) +
    2000 “G2” bonus points +
    5000 (unable to honor the bed type at check-in)

  3. @ zander –caelus is correct: 5,000 points through the ANDAZ5 promo, 5,000 points for not getting my bed type (accomplished through a quick call to the Diamond service center), 2,000 points through the G2 bonus, 1,000 points as my Diamond amenity, plus the base points and 30% Diamond bonus.

    And I actually sent an email to the GM last night providing some feedback. Hope they take it to heart.

  4. Lucky – can you clarify, how come you didn’t try to avoid this stopover in NYC for a day and the associated $250 hotel expense, and instead try to get to the vacation destination a day earlier? Surely the points and hotel experience in NYC could have been achieved another time?

  5. In case anyone’s wondering, here’s the response I received from the GM:

    Dear Mr. Lucky,

    First of all let me thank you for staying and Andaz Wall Street and for taking the time to write me your feedback.

    It is because of guest like you that we can learn about our services and improve them day by day.

    Please accept my apologies for the “relaxed” attitude of our night host. This is obviously not the way we want our customers to perceive the Andaz experience.
    I have taken the liberty to speak to the appropriate Department Head and I trust him to do whatever is neccessary to correct the incident.

    Furthermore, in line with the overall Hyatt GP guidlines you have complimentary breakfast, either through the restaurant or through room service. Given that we have many inclusions in the Andaz experience, such as WiFi, local phone calls and non alcoholic minibar and snacks, we decided to give GP members a 1000 point credit as the special amenity.

    Also, we definitly honor the regular GP bed type request. I am sorry for the confusion. You are right, an explanation at the beginning would have helped. While the intention to give you the Deluxe Room (with the glass at the bath tub) was to give you a nice room type, the purpose failed. Again, proper “homework” in the beginning would have avoided the situation.

    Mr. Lucky, I am thankful to you that you want to give us another chance and I can ensure you that my team and I will do our utmost to improve on our services.

    Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you at any time.

    Looking forward having you back at Andaz Wall Street.

    Best regards

    Toni

  6. Can you add a G1 or G2 bonus code if you book the reservation under a different rate? I already have a reservation. Wonder if I can add the bonus code to the res.

  7. Just came across this entertaining and useful review. Since I’m thinking of staying at the Andaz down the line, it comes in very handy. Thanks!

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