Review: Andaz Liverpool Street London

Introduction
Delta Sky Club Los Angeles LAX
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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A340 Los Angeles To London Heathrow
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British Airways Club Europe A320 London Heathrow To Amsterdam
Garuda Indonesia First Class 777-300ER Amsterdam To London Gatwick
Andaz Liverpool Street London
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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A340 London Heathrow To Los Angeles


I decided to take the Gatwick Express train from Gatwick Airport to London’s Victoria Station, so as I left the airport I purchased a one-way ticket for £19.90. It’s worth pointing out that both Gatwick Express and regional Southern Railway local trains depart from the Gatwick rail station, all going to London. Don’t make the mistake that I did of paying for a Gatwick Express ticket and accidentally boarding the local train that takes the slow route to Victoria Station. 🙂

Victoria Station was an absolute cluster, and the line to purchase a ticket on the Tube was thirty deep, so I decided to try my luck at Uber instead. Pretty instantly, an Uber X car showed up and dropped me off at the front door of the Andaz Liverpool Street in 20 minutes.

It goes without saying London is a very expensive city, and that black cabs are famously pricey, and even Tube tickets are ~$3.50 a pop. I had no idea how much my Uber was going to cost, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was just a little over £10, or $15 — which became, for me, a game changer as far as getting around London is concerned. London is generally a tremendously inconvenient city, so Uber “fixed” one of its major flaws for me.

View from my Uber in London
View from my Uber in London

Anyway, I got to the hotel lobby around 12:30pm. The Andaz is in a beautiful Edwardian-style building adjacent to the massive Liverpool Street Station. The hotel was actually built in 1884 as the Great Eastern Hotel, and refurbished as an Andaz in 2008.

Since Ben has already reviewed the Andaz Liverpool Street before (and since jet lag got the best of me and my photos are few and far between), I’ll keep the review brief and mainly focused on my experience with service and my guestroom.

The inside of the lobby was extremely modern, despite the historic nature of the hotel. Actually, the Andaz’s lobby was quite dark.

Like all Andazes, check-in is not done at a front desk but performed by roving attendants. I was checked in fairly quickly and given a key to a King room on the 5th floor.

Exiting the elevator on the 5th floor, I discovered that the hotel was… not laid out well.

Indeed, I think it was laid out by sadists. My room was a long walk from the elevator bank, and required about four different turns and intersections.

Unfortunately, when I got to my room my key did not work. A hotel employee happened to be walking by at the time, and he couldn’t get the key to work, either, so he promised he’d send someone right up.

I actually waited about 10 minutes before I decided it was easier to just get a new key myself, so I went back down to the lobby. This time, the attendant walked with me to the room with the new key, to make sure it worked. (It did.)

I’ve generally always been impressed with guestrooms in the Andaz chain, because even when there’s not a lot of square footage (say, in Amsterdam) the rooms are laid out strategically and make incredible use of space.

This guestroom, however, was a bummer.

Andaz King room
Andaz King room

It felt bland, unexciting and small, and because it was on the top floor, it had a dormer window and an angled ceiling. Tiffany had actually warned me in advance to request a room with “big windows” at the Andaz, and I wish I’d heeded her advice.

Usually Andaz is a brand known for whimsical, edgy rooms, but my room felt more appropriate for a Radisson or a Best Western, to be honest.

Andaz King room
Andaz King room

There was a charging station near the desk area that included an international adapter. By and large, I thought the desk area was a bit of a mess of wires and cables. Indeed, underneath the television was a massive bundle of cables running over to the desk area, totally exposed. It felt messy, and a bit tacky. (You can see the cables underneath the weirdly-low placed television set in the photo below.)

Desk and television
Desk and television

The closet space and storage area was small, and basic.

Closets and storage space
Closets and storage space

The room didn’t have an iron or ironing board, but reception sent me up an iron relatively quickly upon request.

The bathroom was very small. The sink is especially tiny, actually.

Andaz King bathroom sink
Andaz King bathroom sink

Luckily, there are two generous, backlit storage nooks of sorts built into the wall behind the sink, which were useful.

Andaz King bathroom
Andaz King bathroom
Andaz King bathroom nook
Andaz King bathroom nook

Maddeningly, the hair dryer is not located in the bathroom, but rather is in a pop-up drawer in the desk in the guestroom, which makes zero sense to me.

Toiletries were “T London” branded, and I liked them quite a bit.

T London toiletries
T London toiletries

The shower was elevated from the rest of the bathroom, and quite dark.

Andaz King raised shower
Andaz King raised shower

I set my phone up to charge and took a bit of a nap on the bed, which was quite firm but comfortable.

When I woke up, I started to take a shower. As Ben has noted before, some hotel showers are annoying, as is this one: the shower head and controls are way in the back, unreachable unless you’re in the shower and directly under them, so there’s no way to “test out” the water temperature before getting soaked.

It didn’t really matter, anyway, because within a minute of turning the shower on, one of the pipes popped out, spraying scalding hot water everywhere like a broken fire hydrant. I was able to sort of work the pipe back in place in order to redirect the water to come out of the shower head, but it popped out again almost immediately.

The bathroom floor, of course, was covered in about an inch of standing water.

Anyway, I was going out to meet a friend, so on my way down I stopped by the lobby to speak to someone about having the shower fixed.

I mentioned that I’d be going out for several hours, but that if they didn’t happen to be able to fix the shower, I’d appreciate being relocated. I tried to work in, “if you’re going to relocate me, I’d really appreciate a less depressing room with more windows,” and he seemed to acknowledge that I’d been assigned to one of the clunkers. I was hoping he’d proactively offer to change rooms right away, but alas, he didn’t.

I did like that the hotel was only about a 5 minute walk to the hipster neighborhoods of Shoreditch and Hoxton, which are becoming a crucial part of the London “scene.” I’d never seen Shoreditch before, and had a great dinner out on the town there.

In any event, the shower did end up being fixed when I returned to the room. I had to leave the hotel relatively early, so I hit the sack and set my alarm for 7:30am.

After a successful morning shower without scalding myself (always look for the small victories), I checked out of the hotel and called an Uber. The lobby attendant mentioned that my two in-room beers from the minibar had been comped because of the problems I had with my key and shower, which was a nice touch, though sort of a halfway gesture, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Annoyingly, as soon as I pulled up my Uber app, I realized I’d lost my internet connection. It seems the Andaz cuts your Wifi signal the moment you’re checked out, which when you think about it is fairly inconvenient for precisely these reasons. One of the bellmen gave me the password for the Andaz Conference Center Wifi network so that I could call an Uber, but I was irritated that it took an extra few minutes when I was already in a bit of a hurry.

Andaz Liverpool Street London Bottom Line

I think there’s probably a right way to do the Andaz Liverpool Street and a wrong way.

Ben seemed to do it the right way earlier this year. Photos of his room look beautiful, and his room and bathroom were airy and spacious.

I think I must have done it the wrong way.

Essentially, the rooms seem to vary wildly at the Andaz Liverpool Street, so your mileage will vary based on which room you get. It’s absolutely worth asking for a bright, large-windowed room if possible. It’s also potentially worth asking for a room “closer to” (though not adjacent to) the elevators if you’re bothered by a labyrinthine walk to your room (as I was).

Service was largely helpful and quick, but I can’t say my experience wasn’t a bit tainted by an inoperative shower, an inoperative key, and a desk and television setup marred by a mess of tangled cables.

London is an expensive city, so if you’re looking to use your Gold Passport points to stay there, it’s worth noting both the Andaz Liverpool Street and the Hyatt Regency – The Churchill (which is more in the swankier western side of town) require the same level of points. If you’re in London for hip things, you’ll appreciate the Andaz’s location over the Hyatt Regency’s, but be sure to reach out to the hotel in advance to ensure a decent room, since some of the rooms are most definitely clunkers, as mine was.

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Comments

  1. It sounds like a real mixed bag of a hotel! I can offer an answer for one point though: under British building regulations it is illegal to have a plug socket within three metres of a bath or shower which is why you never find sockets for hairdryers in bathrooms of hotels or even people’s homes. That’s why the hairdryer is always elsewhere.

  2. Sounds like an all rebound disappointing experience.

    Just to let you know though, you will never find the hairdryer in the bathroom in the UK. It is a legal requirement that you can’t have power points (aside from shaver outlets) in the bathroom. Even in private residences, you need to have outside of the bathroom. Hence why the British are so big on dressing tables I guess .

  3. I stayed at this Andaz (on Hyatt points) in June and had a very different experience. Spacious room not far from the elevator, big window, very comfortable. My only problem was the bathroom had a very tall tub/shower combo, and I had a challenge climbing in and out! Being just a oneminute walk down the block from Liverpool Station is a huge plus. I would certainly stay here again.

  4. The gatwick express is a bit of a scam, much better to purchase a ticket for the Southern or Thameslink train it’s cheaper and not much slower. Plus for Liverpool st you’d have been much better served by taking the Thameslink to St Paul’s then getting a cab or Farringdon and hopping a few stops on the circle line. Gatwick can be a much better choice of airport if you are heading to the city, east or even some bits of north london.

  5. I think Thameslink will drop you off at London Bridge, which would be better in this scenario than dumping you off at Victoria.

    $3.50 for a tube ticket sounds very cheap compared to what writers on Lucky’s blog seem to be spending! You will also eliminate any time spent on ticket purchases if you get an Oyster (can be mailed to you in advance).

    How did you get internet to order Uber at Victoria–is there wifi at Victoria? It sounds like you were dependent on hotel wifi when checking out of your hotel, so I’m just wondering how you were able to do it earlier in the trip.

  6. Another top tip: You no longer need an oyster card for the tube, any contactless credit card will work in place of an oyster. Just make sure your card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

  7. Ed mentioned this earlier, but I just want to emphasise what a scam Gatwick Express is. There is absolutely no reason to go to Victoria when you’re heading any further east than W1.

    Victoria is a hellhole that I’m sure us Londoners deserve in some ways, but everyone else should avoid it if possible. Thameslink and Southern are so much better.

  8. @Lucky’s Reader – Yes, Victoria Station has its proprietary, free of charge WiFi. Moreover there are lot of fast foods and restaurants in the station that offer their WiFi too, so it’s quite easy to get online. Plus most of London’s major stations offer free “The Cloud” WiFi (it just requires a simple registration).

  9. Strangely, I’m somewhat relieved to read this review. I stayed here a year ago (my first Andaz stay ever) and got a similar room to what you got (minus the shower problems). It did not leave me with a good impression of Andaz at all, which left me wondering what the fuss was about. After reading Ben’s review, I was more perplexed, but assumed that part of the difference was that he had a better room. Reading this suggests to me that the Andaz Liverpool Street is hit or miss, but it is not reflective of the brand overall, so I shouldn’t write off Andaz altogether solely because of this place.

  10. As others have said, either get an Oyster card (still makes sense if traveling as a family as you need a separate one for wax person) or use a contactless credit card for the tube in London. There’s no point to ever wait for a tube ticket machine.

    Also, the train to Farringdon would have been a much better option.

  11. Staying here for two nights next weekend and using a DSU. Rates are really good on weekends, and it’s the perfect location for where I need to be. Nonetheless, I’m glad to see this helpful review – sorry you had a clunker.

  12. I stayed here and had a suite and basically just hated the hotel…… the bed was fine, the bathroom hospital sterile and the suite part was an textra 9×9 room hat there wasn’t any use except to put a desk there.
    The staff seemed to not to care about anything…. I guess I would have uber-hated it if if I had been in a regular room.
    ok… I give it a thumbs down and don’t recommend it unless you really need to be in the area.
    (This post is against my “if you don;t have anything good to say ” principles)

  13. @glennpokk contactless payment card – ExprsssPay, PayWave or PayPass. They certainly exist in the US, I had a chase and a citi card with the tech before I left the US a few years ago.

  14. Egads! You typically don’t expect to fight with your hotel shower lol. Sounds like you definitely suffered some bad luck there Nick.

    Always an issue in that – even within a room grade – all rooms within a hotel are not created equal (it’s a surprise when it is). Sounds like you lucked out with the dog room (that gets minimum TLC – I mean, the shower in that room has serious design problems if pipes just work free).

    Two free beers, in my view, is less than what the hotel should have done to restore good faith – but, alas, it’s the trend these days (no responsibility).

  15. Definitely not a great stay with the shower fiasco! As others have said a contactless card is the way to go on the Tube – you get the cheaper Oyster pricing, no hassle to top up etc, and still get the daily cap if making lots of trips. Not sure which banks offer them in the US though – they’re pretty much ubiquitous in Europe and Australia for the last year or so though.

  16. @Ed, Emily- thanks for the data points. Very helpful. Anyone know how to get one of these contact less cards (strange name-not very catchy) in the U.S.?

  17. Thanks Nick for such a helpful review! I will be staying there two weeks later. I think customers staying at nicer hotels expect all same-type rooms to be similar… but I guess Andaz Liverpool st is not the case.
    Now only thing I can do is to pray that I will get nicer room.
    On my last visit to London, I stayed at ME London. I never got to visit the Radio Bar and stuff like that cause I was pretty exhausted (it was something in line of business trip). I liked the hotel since it was very modern and sleek, but ME did lack some “poshness” that other 5-stars have.
    Overall thx for a great review

  18. Yeah… London hotel rooms are, in my experience, very ordinary unless one is spending upwards of one-thousand quid per night.

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