Review: Andaz West Hollywood

Just a couple of days ago I stayed at the Andaz West Hollywood located on Sunset Boulevard. It was just for a quick one night stay. The rate was quite good and the ANDAZ5 promotion made this too good to turn down, offering 5,000 bonus points and a $50 hotel credit. Add that to the Diamond breakfast credit, 1,500 bonus points through the “G3” promotion the hotel takes part in, along with the 1,000 bonus points I receive as a Diamond amenity, and this is quite a deal.

I arrived at the hotel just before 5PM. Now before I go any further I’d like to point out that this was my second Andaz stay, with my previous stay being at the Andaz Wall Street back in March. To summarize, I loved the hotel as such, but the service was lacking somewhat.

In this case the confusion started as I entered. Andaz employees don’t have uniforms of any sort. Instead they try to dress “hip” in button down shirts and usually jeans with sneakers. Fine in theory, but the issue becomes that you have no clue who works at the hotel and who doesn’t. In this case a “host” was standing at the door and promptly greeted me and asked me to take a seat.

He was very professional and processed my check-in quickly. He explained that as a Diamond member I would receive a $25 breakfast credit and also explained that I had been “upgraded” to a room with views of the Sunset Strip. He escorted me up to my room without asking (to the point that he grabbed my bag and started walking away with it).


Hotel exterior


Lobby (can you figure out who the hosts are?)


Area where free drinks are served in the evenings


Lobby

The host walked me to my room on the eight floor, 808.


Elevator area


Entrance to room

I really loved the design of the room. It was spacious, modern, and practical. The host explained to me all the features of the room, including that all the non-alcoholic drinks and snacks in the minibar along with internet were free (which is a nice feature of Andaz hotels).


Room

The king bed was ridiculously comfortable. Almost worthy of the “heavenly bed” title.


Bed

The bathroom was functional though a bit on the small side. There was a huge walk-in shower as well.


Bathroom


Walk-in shower


Bath amenities


Snacks (all of which are free)


Mostly complimentary soft drinks

Towards the window was a cool little sitting area with a tiny leather couch and comfortable chair with ottoman. The comfortable chair even had a TV mounted on the wall next to it, which is totally unnecessary given the nice views. There were blinds by the windows and then a thick curtain separating the bedroom and this little room.


Sitting area


Chair and TV


View from room


Best Western!

There was a nice handwritten note from the GM of the hotel on the desk, along with some candied walnuts in a small container. Very nice touch!


Card from GM and walnuts


Floor plan

One of the really nice things about this hotel is the pool and outside area on the “penthouse floor.” While the pool wasn’t huge the views were panoramic and the cabanas were very nice. Unfortunately it was a bit too cold to go swimming.


Pool


Lounge chairs


Cabanas

I was working all evening so at around 7PM decided to order room service, since I had the $50 to blow thanks to the ANDAZ5 promotion. Once in a while I like to do stuff just because I can, and this was one of those cases. I decided I’d use up all the credit, so I ordered shrimp ceviche as an appetizer, an angus burger with bleu cheese as the main course, and chocolate pie for dessert. I of course took the Diet Coke from the minibar.

There were a couple of things that impressed me about room service. First of all, it only took 20 minutes to arrive from the time I placed my order, and more importantly, there’s a flat 18% gratuity. There’s no fixed service charge or anything. So when the waiter came to my room, I didn’t have to sign anything. That’s very nice, especially since there’s usually a delivery fee of a few bucks, plus 20% gratuity already added, plus they usually expect even more. None of that here!


Dinner… and no, I didn’t eat it all!


Shrimp ceviche


Angus burger


Chocolate tart

The appetizer and dessert were phenomenal. The burger was pretty good. I spent most of the evening working so didn’t get to bed until late, though all my worries were forgotten after I fell asleep probably within a minute.

Sounds like a great stay so far, right? I mean, the hotel as such is really, really, really nice.

Unfortunately my stay took a 180 at 6AM. At first I thought a fire alarm or some other sort of alarm was going off, but when it didn’t stop I decided to get up and look at what was going on. Well, there were picketers in front of the hotel for an hour. For an hour straight they used loudspeakers and sirens and banged pots and pans against each other. I had no clue what these people wanted and assumed it had nothing to do with the hotel, which is why I started wondering why the hell they kept making circles around the front of the hotel.

After posting about the situation it was pointed out to me that these were actually hotel employees! So let me make sure I understand this — hotel employees are walking around the front of the hotel for an hour at 6AM to wake up every hotel guest, just to piss them off? Seriously?!

Let me be clear here, I’m not dramatizing this. I was on the eighth floor and all my windows were closed, but it was so loud that I couldn’t even make a phone call due to the background noise. Here’s the short audio clip I took of the picketers. This was actually one of the more mild parts (a part where they weren’t yelling “WHAT DO WE WANT? MORE MONEY! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!”), and please keep in mind this went on for an hour.

I was furious. There was no way to sleep for that hour, let alone work due to the amount of background noise. Eventually it stopped at 7AM, at which point I went to breakfast. I was looking forward to sleeping in, but I couldn’t fall back asleep at that point.

I went to RH, which is the hotel restaurant. It’s nicely decorated and wasn’t too crowded.


RH

The service was efficient and friendly and the prices were somewhat reasonable given the type of hotel, although $6 for a glass of orange juice ticked me off, since there was nothing “freshly squeezed” about it. Unless you consider Tropicana to be freshly squeezed orange juice.


Table

There were all kinds of items on the menu, from omelets to waffles to pancakes to crepes to fruit to yogurt to cereal. I went with the french toast.


Menu


French toast

It was some of the most delicious and well presented french toast I’ve had the pleasure of consuming. I went back to my room and kept working for most of the morning, although eventually blogged and tweeted about the “noise” situation in more detail.

About 30 minutes after one of my posts I received a call from the GM to discuss the issue. I expressed my frustration but was happy to hear what he was doing to combat the situation. Apparently this is due to the contract negotiations going on at the hotels for the employees (who are unionized) and this was the second time this has happened in two weeks. He explained that what they did was in violation of a noise ordinance, and despite them calling the cops at 6AM, they only showed up at 7AM. They said they were going to work more closely with the cops in the future.

First of all, politics and pro-union/anti-union sentiments aside, it’s sad when you have to get the police involved on your own employees. Second of all, it’s very sad when the employees choose to express themselves through the guests like this. My biggest regret about the stay was having tipped any of the employees. Why the f^#% would I tip anyone that belongs to the group that chose to wake me up at 6AM and keep me up for an hour? I can certainly understand that they want better contracts, but if this is the approach they take, I have ZERO sympathy for them. Actually, I hope those that took place in the protest are unemployed soon.

I nonetheless appreciated the GM’s candid phone call, and he offered to let me check out late due to the “issue” in the morning. No other compensation was offered, though I was fine with that. Both he and someone else from the hotel followed up with me via email to once again apologize, which I thought was very professional. He even mentioned that he had “ensured [I am] granted a late check out this evening.”

I had a meeting in the afternoon and returned to the hotel at around 3PM. I went up to my room and of course my key wasn’t working, which isn’t really surprising since they have to be reactivated. I went to the front desk, and this is where I really start to get a bit frustrated.

I explained to the agent that my key wasn’t working but I had been granted late check out for room 808. He asked me who granted me late check-out, as he had no record of it. I said the GM had granted me late check out, and he then asked me for the GM’s name. Seriously? I’m kind of disappointed an employee would “quiz” a guest like that and that the GM didn’t actually follow up with the “hosts” to make sure late check out was ensured.

I then explained to the “host” the reason I had been granted late check out — because I was awoken at 6AM and kept up for over an hour because of the employees picketing. Instead of being apologetic, he says “yeah, we’re in contract negotiations right now.” I couldn’t help but respond “great of you to let it out on guests.” What he said just really, really ticked me off, and that alone makes me never want to return to this hotel.

It’s sad when a stay is ruined so easily. I had an almost flawless stay, but being woken up at 6AM and then the rude response after the fact just ruined it for me. I have to say that overall I enjoyed my stay and I’d like to return, but as a matter of principle I don’t think I will. I have about five more reservations booked for the hotel, but I think I’m going to cancel them all. I just fundamentally have a problem with supporting a hotel that has such bad labor relations. I love good customer service just as much as a good hotel, and while the hotel has the latter, the former could be improved upon.

But I really do like the hotel as such, and had they not had the picketing demonstration, I would have likely written a glowing review. So take from this what you will…

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Comments

  1. @Lucky – Did you call the diamond line (press 2 for customer service) to tell them what happened? My experience has been that they care and they will do what it takes to make you happy. Just ask to speak with “consumer affairs”. I’ve only had to do this once…

  2. You know, there is something called “restaurant.” I bet you’ve never heard of it. What is it you ask? It’s a place where good friends and love ones gather together to eat. WHAT? really? Well, you probably would have never known since all of your trip reports consist of eating at the hotel or club lounges. But that’s probably a good thing. You probably wouldn’t have been served had you walked into an establishment in LA. They have rules for not serving kids who dress and look like they are 80. But then again, this is Hyatt and old farts love Hyatt. Andaz tries to be hip, but they will never be W. It’s okay, we know why some flyertalkers hate W. I’d hate it too if I looked like that and were constantly ignored.

  3. so you will not stay there again, will cancel all stays, have a problem fundamentally supporting this place…is this all true or are you hoping the GM will read your post and comp some of your future stays? likely the latter. dork.

  4. So really… the protest kind of worked. Management’s unwillingness to deal has cost the hotel a valued business client. If you really wanted to stick it to the employees, you’d go back. 😉 But it sure sounds like what they did was effective, from a labor standpoint.

    Sounds like the manager and someone else took the time to follow up with a phone call and email to you about late check out… and then neglected to mention it to anyone on staff. THAT’S what would keep me away from this place.

  5. I’d email the diamond desk the link from this post! Sounds like the management needs some focus from someone higher and others in management outside of this hotel needs to understand how miserable guests are when they stay here. You post has convinced me to never try this hotel or brand! Sheraton has never treated me this bad!!!

  6. You really wish people were unemployed because they are fighting for what is likely nothing more than a living wage? This from the same kid who doesn’t work, whose parents pay for his college education, and whose parents pay for his pointless trips to “earn” airline and hotel points.

    Really. Get a clue. I bet you’ve ensured a nine year B.A. program to make sure those parents continue to pick up the tab for as long as possible.

    And as others have said, if you were so mortified, don’t entertain the chain any longer. But, I just bet you will. (With mommy and daddy again picking up the check.)

  7. @ HunterSFO — I didn’t, I figured talking to the GM was plenty. Ultimately I’m still happy with Hyatt as a brand, but not really with the Andaz WeHo. And some points as compensation won’t change that either. Appreciate the idea, though!

    @ LA — Looks like Super80 has a new handle! I am very familiar with restaurants. Actually, in my 24 hours in LA I visited two of them with friends. I think you’re confused. I wrote a review of a hotel, not a trip report. My blog is about miles and points (and benefits thereof) and not about the gourmet dining experience. And you’re right, I really do dress like I’m 80. I’m wearing Vans and American Eagle right now. I’ve gotta ask, do you know me? Have you met me? If so would love to know who you are! Though I guess it’s a lot more fun to hide behind an anonymous internet handle…

    @ aaron — Frankly my rate was so good and the benefits through the ANDAZ5 promo, BWB, and stay credit in and of itself make me not want a comped stay! The benefits I receive are greater than a free room. So I’m honestly not looking for anything.

    @ Uniter — Haha, fair enough point. Yeah, annoyed me that there wasn’t proper follow up, and then the indifference of the guy at that point.

    @ MoiMoi — No, I’m all for them earning a living wage. I just wish they’d find a way that’s legal and doesn’t completely ruin the stays of guests. Let me ask again — do you know me? I actually have a full scholarship for college, work full time, and pay my own rent and other expenses. I have no clue how you can continue to make these ridiculous claims without knowing me. I wish I’d have the power to be offended, but I’m not, because your version of me and who I actually am are complete opposites. It’s ironic that my parents actually make money off of me — I book all their tickets to Europe in first class and don’t charge them, and that’s after I pay for my own travel!

  8. Agree with Gene; these people are pathetic. Love your blog, Lucky, and have been meaning to go down to LA and try out the Andaz WeHo. However, after your post (and since the ANDAZ5 promo is now over), I’m much less likely to do so — the regular rates are quite steep last minute, which is when I would be booking.

    Keep up the good work! Also you are cute, and don’t look 80.

  9. I never really thought about this til now, I almost forgot you are a celebrity blogger! They probably have well prepared for your arrival, pay more attention to you than us “ordinaries” and while you were staying their managers would refresh your web site & twitters every 5 mins………. how creepy is that?

  10. Looks like there are some really jealous people out there. Lucky doesn’t write trip reports for his benefit, but instead for ours. Lucky haters need to get a life

  11. I am quite surprised of Lucky’s response to the hateful comments, I thought his usual shrug it off approach works better……..

    to me, JOXH is like a fly, annoying but harmless, Super90 is a mosquito, hurts you whenever its here, and moimxi is a wasp, a single shot that hit your nerve…..

  12. Perhaps I’m wrong but I believe, especially in CA, organized gatherings and collective bargaining are legal. If you’re referring to the “noise ordinance”, yeah, that’s likely a great avenue for the corporate entity to pursue.

    The reason “guests” are targeted is because that’s the only true concern to the company. The revenue stream. Let’s hope you’re not majoring in business like your brother.

    And, not that it matters, but I highly, highly doubt your great story of working full time, studying full time, and paying for all of your own travel. As you said, it’s easy to lie behind an anonymous screen name.

  13. @ MoiMoi — I don’t hide behind an anonymous screenname. I’ve met hundreds of my readers in person and I post about dinners I’m hosting around the country all the time. Heck, I’d love to meet you and take you out to dinner sometime, but I doubt you’d be interested. And regardless of whether or not you believe my story, why not give me the benefit of the doubt? You don’t know me, do you? Not that I have to prove anything to you, but I *do* have my own travel consulting business through which I make a very nice living and I do have a scholarship for school. Which part of that don’t you believe? Heck, if nothing else you should realize I do write a blog and I do have a decent readership and I do have some ads, so what part of that doesn’t translate into money for you?

    Again, the offer is out there, and I’d be happy to buy you dinner sometime. Let me know where you live and I’d love to meet up if you’re up for it…

  14. Lucky come to bdl please! Or dinner in nyc this weekend? my treat! I would love to hear your travel stories

  15. People who resort to insults and name calling don’t garner any sympothy from me. They tend to be bullies and end up losing the argument in the court of public opinion. Personally I want to support unions but some people make it hard to. Keep up the good work Lucky and tell it like it is!

  16. I read and enjoy your blog daily. Your reviews are right on.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you at ORD in Oct.
    Next time you are in SAN, let me know.

  17. Hey Lucky, I read and appreciate your blog. I’d say 99% of you readers enjoy reading your review.

    My boss always used to say…”opinions are like a@seholes, everyone has one”

  18. @Sean – Your boss at Blockbuster Video was a riot!

    I’m always happy to find readers who aren’t sheep.

  19. As a frequent guest at the Andaz I have experienced the protesting once as well, though not as noisy as Lucky’s case. The Andaz is not the only hotel in Los Angeles where this happens – drive along Wilshire Blvd and look how often people protest in front of the Regent Beverly Wilshire. One of the citys most famous hotels that charges 500$+ a night. I’m more upset with the fact that a hotel that charges hefty rates is not able to provide a fair wage to their employees but maybe thats just my european opinion and point of view.

    Thanks for the detailed info Lucky. Good work with the pictures. Let me add that the RH Restaurant has a great french chef who is really creative in what he prepares. Also the RH Bar is a great spot with lovely staff.

    The Andaz project that Hyatt came up with needs some improvement in certain fields (I just got back from the San Diego property and compared to that one the WeHo one is a shining star). The GM is an established manager who worked at several full service Hyatts, recently in DC. Hence his professional follow up. I admit, that the staff was not informed or the info noted in your file is not really the best way to ensure customer satisfaction.

    Maybe we can manage to have a stay together, would be great !

    Cheers
    S.

  20. Lucky, can you tell us a bit more about the rate you got? Was it a publicly available rate (e.g., associated with the Andaz5 promotion) or a promotional rate you got from the hotel? I ask because I’m going to be in LA soon and I’d consider trying the WeHo Andaz, but it’s a bit pricier than other options; I’m certainly not seeing anything I’d describe as too good to pass up.

  21. What is wrong with some of the commenters on this site?

    @MoiMoi, you’re accusing someone of hiding behind his screenname when he posts using his full name? And you’re accusing him of lying without any evidence? What?

    Ah, courage.com. The double-edged sword of Internet anonymity, and friend of trolls everywhere.

    — Frank

  22. I would have liked to have seen a lot more empathy for the employees. They’re being confronted with the possibility of a wage freeze for the next two years. But you went even further– you wished unemployment on them, and all because you were awakened one hour early?

    Also consider that it may not have been the hotel’s actual employees outside; they may have been picketers organized by the institutional union and drawn from other locations or the union’s staff. This is a frequent practice in disputes of this kind. So please don’t begrudge hotel employees their tips for something they may have no control over.

    Contract negotiations are usually much more complex than is apparent from casual observation. Neither the local management nor the employees may have any say at all in the events that are playing out there.

    I found your posting revealing and disappointing. I hope that in the future you will do more research and give more thought to such complex issues before drawing any conclusions.

  23. I have enjoyed reading your blog in the past but I need to say a couple of things about your stay at Andaz WeHo.

    Quote: “Dinner… and no, I didn’t eat it all!”

    Please don’t waste food. There are far too many people in the US and elsewhere who don’t have enough to eat. By all means order as much as you want to eat but please don’t order something knowing that you will not eat it. Just because you haven’t had to pay for something doesn’t mean you should waste it. Food, energy and material goods are all precious, at least to a few billion people.

    Quote: “My biggest regret about the stay was having tipped any of the employees. Why the f^#% would I tip anyone that belongs to the group that chose to wake me up at 6AM and keep me up for an hour?……. I have ZERO sympathy for them. Actually, I hope those that took place in the protest are unemployed soon.”

    I thought you were rather harsh with your comments on the protesters. Since you have no knowledge of the nature of the dispute, it is unfair to assume they are not victims of unfair management and it is definitely wrong for you to wish that they all become unemployed.

    Quote: “It’s sad when a stay is ruined so easily.”

    While it is regrettable that ONE HOUR of your sleep was disturbed, it is hardly the end of the world.

    You appear to have been very fortunate your entire life and have never had to worry about things like putting food on the table, paying for expensive healthcare or the consequences of natural disasters, unlike flooding victims in Tennessee, fishermen in Gulf States and passengers stranded by volcanic ash.

    All of those people would love to have had their stay in a luxury hotel ruined by noise instead of what they have recently experienced. Why not show a little compassion? The only difference between you and those people is luck. You seem to have it and so should be grateful.

  24. Lucky, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and consider myself a fan. I must say though, that I am a bit disappointed at your seemingly unfair conclusions. If I wanted to read a celebrity blog, I’d look somewhere else. You write beautifully and the information you provide is priceless. Don’t let your gift go to waste. Do what you do best!

  25. Again, the people above are pathetic. These protestors are filth and should go back to the working-class ghetto out of which they slithered, much like the BA cabin crew, etc.

    To the protestors: Don’t like your job? Fine; quit. There are millions of other Americans who would be willing to accept that level of pay/benefits.

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