Review: Andaz London Liverpool Street Hotel

Introduction
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Andaz London Liverpool Street Hotel
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While I transit Heathrow about a dozen times a year, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually visited London. I’m not sure why, exactly, other than the fact that it’s expensive and the hotel situation is a bit rough. And the weather isn’t great. And the UK APD. And… well, nevermind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In this case I was meeting some friends in London before we went to Copenhagen for New Years, so I booked a night at the Andaz London Liverpool Street.

The Andaz London is a Category 6 Gold Passport property, making a free night redemption 25,000 Gold Passport points per night. That being said, there was Points + Cash availability for my night, so I booked the one night stay for 12,500 Gold Passport points plus $150.

Liverpool Street is a bit out of the way for many “popular” London attractions, though it was a convenient enough tube ride from Heathrow. The total travel time from the airport to the hotel was about 70 minutes. And since it was cold, it’s worth noting that the hotel is only one block from Liverpool Street station, so there’s not much outside walking required.

The hotel’s exterior is gorgeous. It was originally an independent 19th century hotel, and only in the past few years was transformed into the Andaz. I love staying at chain hotels that don’t feel “cookie cutter,” because you get the best of both worlds — a unique-feeling experience, but the consistency and benefits you expect from major hotel chains.

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Andaz London exterior

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Andaz London entrance

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Andaz London entrance

The lobby was dark and chic, and had some pretty cool Christmas decorations, including a “walk-through” present. At Andaz properties they don’t have a traditional front desk, but instead have “hosts,” who check you in, act as concierges, etc. They roam around and have iPads from which they can check you in.

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Andaz London lobby

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Andaz London lobby

Unfortunately my room wasn’t quite ready yet, so I plopped down in the lobby and logged onto the wifi to get some work done.

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Andaz London lobby

It’s worth noting that just next to the lobby is a “pantry” of sorts, with complimentary soft drinks, water, espresso, cookies, etc. That’s a nice feature that most Andaz properties have (in addition to complimentary minibar soft drinks and snacks).

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Andaz London lobby

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Andaz London lobby

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Andaz London lobby

Soon enough my room was ready, so I took the elevator up to the fourth floor, where my room was located.

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Andaz London elevators

The public spaces have a really cool design, from the almost disorienting mini-atrium to the bright, indoor courtyard.

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Andaz London atrium

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Andaz London indoor courtyard

In a small way the hotel reminded me a bit of the Hotel Pulitzer in Amsterdam, given the number of twists and turns in the hallways, and even the number of stairs between rooms on each level.

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Andaz London hallway

I was assigned room 422, an Andaz Large King room.

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Andaz London room entrance

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Andaz London floorplan

The room was beautifully designed, and large by London standards.

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Andaz London Large King entrance

The room featured a red chair with an ottoman by the entrance. Then the bed was located to the left and the desk close to the window.

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Andaz London Large King entrance

The bed was comfortable and plush, much more so than I’m used to in Europe.

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Andaz London Large King

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Andaz London Large King

There was artwork on the wall behind the chair with ottoman, and then the wall mounted TV was located just past the desk, so that it could be viewed both from bed and from the chair.

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Andaz London Large King

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Andaz London Large King desk

The views from the room were nice enough — not exciting given that it’s a low-rise hotel (as is common in London), but at least the area was charming. It would have been nice if the windows were a bit cleaner, though.

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Andaz London Large King view

The bathroom was quite cool as well. At least I loved the finishes, even if it wasn’t the most practically designed. There was a door with a “porthole” separating the bathroom from the bedroom.

Right by the entrance was the walk-in shower.

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Andaz London Large King bathroom

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Andaz London Large King shower

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Andaz London Large King sink/toilet

Then past it on the left was a sink and vacuum toilet.

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Andaz London Large King sink

Then there was a bathtub as well.

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Andaz London Large King bathtub

The shower was a bit on the small side and just featured a simple wall-mounted nozzle. The temperature/pressure control were excellent, at least.

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Andaz London Large King shower

I’m not sure what brand of toiletries the hotel had exactly, but the scent was nice.

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Andaz London Large King toiletries

Near the entrance was the minibar, which featured complimentary soft drinks, as well as spirits and beer for purchase.

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Andaz London Large King minibar

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Andaz London Large King minibar

Below that was the teapot and some complimentary snacks, including honey seeds and a granola bar.

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Andaz London tea

Next to it was a decent size closet.

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Andaz London Large King closet

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the room. It was in great condition and had a fun and unique design. Many times when hotels go for “unique” designs it ends up looking shabby chic, but I was impressed by the continuity of the design.

It’s also worth noting that wifi is complimentary for all guests, and was high speed.

The morning of our departure we had breakfast at 1901 Restaurant, which is the hotel’s restaurant which serves the complimentary Diamond breakfast from 7AM till 10AM on weekdays.

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Andaz London staircase

It’s a beautiful space physically, and since we were all a bit jetlagged we were the first ones there. It almost felt a bit “Night at the Museum” based on the design and how empty it was.

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant

We were presented with breakfast menus, which read as follows (as a Diamond member, anything on the menu is covered:

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The buffet spread was excellent by European (and in particular UK) standards, with fresh fruit, yogurt, meat, cheese, croissants, fresh pastries, bread, etc.

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast buffet

While the buffet filled me up, I had stupidly also ordered the breakfast bagel, which was served with salmon and a side of scrambled eggs.

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast

Meanwhile one of my friends had the eggs royale, which looked good.

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Andaz London 1901 Restaurant breakfast

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, the hotel also has a health club located on the ground floor. It featured a good amount of modern equipment.

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Andaz London gym

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Andaz London gym

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Andaz London gym

I only had a day in London and was out and about for most of the time, so didn’t really spend much time in the hotel aside from sleeping and working for a bit. The few staff I interacted with were friendly, but I can’t say I had any extensive interactions.

The Andaz doesn’t have the most central location in London, but the city is pretty easy to get around by tube, so I don’t have any qualms with the hotel’s location.

Andaz London bottom line

I was very pleasantly surprised by this hotel. It’s quirky and fresh, and is the perfect example of why I’m generally a fan of the Andaz brand. I’d definitely consider returning the next time I’m in London.

In the off season rates tend to be pretty low so I’d probably book a revenue stay if that were the case. But during peak season, Points + Cash is a great deal, and even free night redemptions are a great deal, keeping in mind the heinous 20% UK VAT, which makes paying for hotels in London almost prohibitively expensive at times.

If you’ve stayed at the Andaz London, what did you think? Do you have another favorite London hotel?

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Comments

  1. Those are Plantation brand toiletries. Andaz LON is the only place I have ever gotten them. The only other thing I would mention about this property is that the plumbing, being vacuum based, is VERY loud. It takes some getting used to.

  2. Ben,

    I’ve stayed at this hotel many times, and it is in the financial district, so like on Andaz Wall Street, rates are very high Monday through Thursday, but drop 50% on the weekends.

  3. I enjoyed my stay at the Andaz Liverpool Street but I also ran into some issues. The TV wouldn’t stay on, the US spec power connector was dead, the AV cabling was ugly, and the staff didn’t seem well versed in handling tourist inquiries. I also felt the lobby was a bit too cramped at times. That being said the interior was interesting, the exterior was beautiful, and the staff were friendly. I agree the breakfast spread was extensive for a London hotel and being located near a major train station made getting around easy and painless. In the end I left feeling that the hotel did a good job of taking care of us but I’d still be hard pressed to see the high season rate as a good value.

  4. I disagree about the location…its near Shoreditch and Shoreditch is the most happening area in London right now, regarding clubs, pubs, music, markets etc…

  5. I’m absolutely flabbergasted. I can’t go anywhere NEAR London without stopping for several days; how can you actually stay in the airport and not go into the city? Such wasted opportunities!

  6. I stayed there 4 nights on points last year and really enjoyed it. While the hotel is a bit east of the “classic” tourist sights, I actually thought it was very well located. Its basically on top of the train station, and is walking distance to up and coming neighborhoods like Shoreditch.

    I second @joelfreak on the vacuum plumbing sound. It took me a while to figure out what the noise I was hearing periodically. It was the one annoying thing about the room, but I got used to it.

    In the end, I would stay again.

  7. bless them for including a bottle opener in the minibar. can’t tell you how many times i’ve had to go full macgyver to pop open a beer.

  8. While it may be ‘far’ from major london attractions it is on the edge of one of London’s hipper neighbourhoods.

    Also whilst the major US chain hotel situation in London may be poor London has some pretty great hotels, (also some terrible ones). They just aren’t part of the US chains. Surely there must be a way of redeeming some of the transferable point currencies for hotels not part of SPG/Hyatt/Carlson/Hilton/Marriot

  9. Can’t speak highly enough of London! Have been many times and will go there to spend a week at spring break, giving plenty of time to enjoy the fabulous theater. All of our rooms are covered with Hilton, IHG, and Club Carlson. Great spot for day trips too, if you don’t want to stay outside of the city.

  10. Have to agree with Todd and Kate, London is a fantastic city, you need to spend some time in it. There are some fantastic hotels as well, if one is willing to venture out of the chains due to points restrictions. As far as weather, I’ve had some of the most beautiful travel weather while in London. You should stay more than one night to see for yourself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. There are some fantastic hotels as well, if one is willing to venture out of the chains due to points restrictions.

    Are they fantastic enough to compete with free?

  12. John – Depends on your taste, preferences, and budget. For modern, anything from the new Shangri-La at the Shard or the Bulgari, and for a traditional English feel, the Goring, Connaught, and even Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. These are just a few, and even the “chains” have some better properties, e.g. the Chambers suites at Renaissance St Pancras, or the new Conrad London St James.

  13. In my old neighbourhood, clerkenwell I often had friends stay at the Zetter, the Zetter Townhouse or the Rookery. All interesting in their own way, some of my all time favourite restaurants around there.

    I’ve been hearing great things about the Edition London, mainly about its restaurant ‘the Berners St Tavern’. However that appears to be a Marriott/Ian Shrager Collaboration.

    If you want to really class it up then there’s always Claridges, I spent Christmas there one year and it was truly magical. See also the Savoy, Langhams and the Connaught.

  14. Miles Down Under, understand that, but it is a newer hotel as far as brand, category, etc. I’d wager that it’s the nicest Hilton property in town right now. Park Lane, etc are in need of some renos, IMO.

  15. Hey Ben, don’t hate too much on UK VAT. Looking at city hotel taxes in NYC, London doesn’t exactly seem to be an order of magnitude higher – 14.75% + a few dollars flat vs. 20%? Yes, UK taxes are higher than US taxes in general, but we get healthcare into the mix, so they aren’t directly comparable. APD is a completely different matter, I know.

  16. I was there for a two-night stay last March. I was upgrade to a two-room suite with a DSU. But the shower was so small, I couldn’t even turn around without hitting either the door or plumbing. And I’m not a big person! But the biggest problem was it was cold in the room. Very cold. They said the heat was working, but it wasn’t. They brought me two space heaters, but even then a comfortable temperature was hard to maintain. The hotel was sold out so they couldn’t move me to another room. I’d rate the place a “meh.”

  17. @ Keelan — I’m not judging the merit of the VAT, but rather just pointing out that it adds even more to the cost of an already expensive hotel market.

  18. 150 GBP per night over the weekends isn’t much, though, it’s all about knowing what times of the week to stay where.

  19. Taxes are part of the social compact, if you don’t like paying them go somewhere else. 20% of a hotel room cost + the APD seems pretty reasonable for the public services you received during your stay.

  20. I am surprised that a London hotel would print the following on their menu:

    “Any specialities are including with the Buffet price”

  21. I stayed here over 10 years ago when it was a boutique hotel. Grand Eastern Hotel or something like that. Interesting how it hasn’t changed much at all. Same plumbing fixtures, fixtures, etc. brought back great memories. We stayed in a huge suite!

  22. When I go to London, my hotel of choice is usually the Hilton Metropole, while a bit aged, has a nice enough location and is fairly clean.

  23. I stayed @Andaz Liverpool St a few times in 2013/2014 and enjoyed my stays.
    The gym is quite nice with plenty of equipment for a hotel.

  24. I’m reading your review from the Andaz, just a couple rooms down the hall from your room on the 4th floor. Funny you mentioned the dirty windows. I was just lamenting that very issue. As another poster noted, the vacuum-based plumbing can be a bit noisy, but more so when you’re in the bathroom. From the bedroom area I don’t notice it much.
    I normally stay a bit more central but the Tube access through the adjacent Liverpool Street Station will get you wherever you need to go. Plus nice not to have to change lines from Paddington/Hearhrow Express.

  25. I hate this hotel other than its lovely breakfast buffet.
    Awful restuarant service with clueless but nice team members
    Weird small guest rooms with toggle switches for lights and non working wifi
    Room service in room dining is disgusting and no concierge in house
    Team members are clueless and do not know their city
    The mini bar contents are pitiful.The hotel has numerous long stair cases everywhere making it a nightmare for anyone with mobility issues
    the only department that functions well are the doormen
    I will say with fair confidence I will never go back and I like Andaz and Hyatt

  26. I live a 10 minute walk from The Andaz! The neighbourhood has SO MUCH to offer……

    Barbican for culture
    Shoreditch for nightlife and edgy shops
    Food… Pizza East, Angler, Sushi Samba are 3 I like and scores of other top notch places.

    This is an area where Londonders enjoy themselves.

    Hit me up next time you are in London and I will see you enjoy my city (best in the world!)

  27. You know what you missed?

    The Andaz has two Masonic Lodge Rooms available – though only one is actually open and usable. Something to see next time ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. @Lucky – honestly this hotel looks like a better flagship than the Park Hyatt New York on every margin except size.

    @Ed – what public services exactly did Lucky get to need to pay ~$50 above and beyond his room rate?! He took mass transit but paid a la carte for that. Electricity, water, etc is covered by the base hotel fare. It’s not like he benefited from the health service or education system. Hotel and other tourist taxes exist to shift some tax costs off of voters to non-voters, nothing more. It’s ridiculous to suggest hotel dwellers from overseas somehow enjoy comparable government benefits to residents.

  29. @Ed

    A tourist coming to the UK using public transport benefits from tax payer investment in the infrastructure and fares lower than they should be through subsidy.

    The streets don’t clean themselves not are they kept safe by themselves. You don’t walk around in darkness at night.

    The condition of our roads and pavements are far superior to the USA, for example, and that costs.

  30. I’m only repeating what others are saying…..London has some of the best hotels in the world. The Connaught, The Berkeley by Maybourne group are absolutely world class, with amazing service, fantastic rooms and Michelin star restaurants within the hotel. The Connaught even has an Aman spa, which is the only one in the world outside of a resort. There are more classical places, which are not to my liking, but famous and loved by many all the same, such as Claridges, The Ritz, The Dorchester and the currently closed Lanesborough. You can go ultra modern with The Bulgari, Corinthia and newly opened Beaumont too. Really you could add so many hotels to this list, so I think it’s a great shame that you’re missing out on this and judging London based on the large chains, rather than the more select group.

  31. The hotel situation in London is rough? There is such an extensive range of beautiful hotels in London – chain hotels such as this really don’t do the place justice.

  32. I stayed there two nights on my Hyatt free certificate during the holidays when the gift box in the lobby was set up. I had a few issues at check-in and breakfast in my trip report but otherwise it’s a great location to walk to work for me in the city, go to St. Paul’s, go to Shoreditch for the street art tour and restaurants. There are many cafes and takeaway in the area and the oddly placed McDonalds next door. My room was a bit different from yours on the 4th floor but generally comfortable for two nights.
    On an expense account, I prefer the Firmdales or the Rosewood and forgo points. If on points, I’d stay here again (or look at weekend deals) as it’s easy to use the tube or walk (the traffic with cabs in the area was a pain point for me on my stay).

  33. I love London and have stayed at many hotels through the years. I have stayed at the Andaz Liverpool on several occasions. Usually take advantage of a weekend rate and use a Diamond suite upgrade. The breakfast buffet is one of the best I have enjoyed in London and the 1901 is stunning. I highly recommend the Andaz.

  34. Andaz London is within the boundaries of The City of London. So technically speaking it is centrally located! ๐Ÿ™‚

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