As part of our “Christmas in NYC” visit, we spent a couple of nights at the Andaz Fifth Avenue. I have been looking forward to this visit for a very long time as I consistently have heard it is one of the best Hyatt Hotels in Manhattan. If you are interested in catching up on some of the other posts in this series, here they are:
Andaz Fifth Avenue – Splash Suite Review (this post)
NYC Logistics with a Family
Andaz Fifth Avenue Location:
The Andaz Fifth Avenue is located directly across from the Public Library on Fifth Avenue. The actual entrance to the hotel is on a side street, but the location is right across from Patience and Fortitude (the lions). My daughter loved them! The nearest major cross street is 41st Street, so that makes this location very walkable to Times Square, Empire State Building, Macy’s at 34th Street, Bryant Park, Grand Central, etc. Even my daughter was able to handle most of those walks, so older children should have no trouble at all.
We did not have the easiest times getting cabs here. There is no official “doorman” who hails cabs for you the way they do at the Grand Hyatt, and for whatever reason, we often had to wait quite a long time on that part of Fifth Avenue to get a cab. So, if that is something that is important to you, take it into consideration.
Apologies for not having any great shots of the lobby, but it has a little reading area, a place you can get snacks like nuts, fruits, and water, and a sitting area. There is also a restaurant on the lobby level. The actual check-in section is one of the newer configurations where there is not a formal counter, but rather an informal area in the center and “hosts” who are available to assist you. It all feels very fancy and futuristic, but everyone was very nice and accommodating….even to our two-year-old.
The Splash Suite:
I knew from reading other reviews of this hotel that we would do best in the Splash Suite. Not only did it offer a separate living room and bedroom (important for nap time and toddler bedtime), but it also had a tub available. My kid does way better in tubs than showers, so we really wanted this particular suite both because it looked awesome and it afforded some practical amenities for our family. We were staying on points, so I knew getting into this suite wasn’t going to be easy.
I started up an email conversation with a person who worked at the Andaz and was offered an upgrade to the Splash Suite for $300 per night. I tried to negotiate it down and was presented with the option to use a confirmed suite upgrade to the Andaz King Suite, and could then pay just a $150 fee per night to upgrade from that suite to the Splash Suite. However, I think when that option was presented the man I was working with didn’t remember I was staying on points. I guess I could have probably used 33,000 points per night for a suite and then paid the $150 per night from that base suite to the Splash Suite, but by that point it was all getting too complicated so I went with the original offer.
I have heard of some Diamond members getting upgraded to this suite without paying an additional fee, but I didn’t want to risk it for such a special visit. It was a prime holiday weekend in Manhattan and I wanted it locked in. I think the extra money was worth it for our short stay, but you would have to do the math to determine if it is worth it for your family. We were able to not only sleep in our room, but comfortably hosted my parents a couple times (and had them babysit there one evening), and even some NYC friends which was a huge luxury. That would not have worked nearly as well if we were in a base-level room.
Here are some shots of the living room. It comfortably held 4-5 of us in the evenings.
One of the neat things about the Andaz is that the mini bar items are complimentary (other than alcohol), so we made good use of the snacks, sodas, and water. The snacks were not replenished while we were there, but the drinks were.
This bathtub is what gives the Splash Suite its name. The tub was ginormous and our daughter had an absolute bath “swimming” in it. For what it is worth, she also had fun pretending the hose was a phone.
The suite is laid out such that the bathtub area connects the living room to the bedroom, so there isn’t a ton of privacy if you want to soak while having guests over, but it is perfect for when you have the suite to yourselves. The shower and the rest of the bathroom area is located off of the bathtub section with sliding doors. The entire bathroom was very clean and modern. The shower was fantastic!
The bedroom section of the suite just has enough room for getting in the bed or sitting on the lounger. You should store your stuff in the tub area, or the bedroom will feel quite cramped. There is no room in the bedroom for a rollaway, but some small kids could probably sleep on the lounger, if you wanted. Our daughter just crawled in bed with us and it worked out just fine. We are sometimes a bit “challenged”, so we didn’t figure out that there were black0ut shades until the last day we were there. That would have been helpful, but it was also fun to enjoy the views of the city as we fell asleep.
The Diamond breakfast at this hotel is fantastic. They allow a $75 credit per day that you can use either in the restaurant or via room service. I wish all Hyatts offered something similar. There was no question as to what to order since my friend Gary at View From the Wing has raved so many times about the Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes. In my experience, he has very good taste in food, so who was I to question which item to select. Yes, pancakes were that good. They really didn’t taste like pancakes at all actually. They tasted just slightly crispy on top, and almost like a rich and fruity sponge cake on the bottom. It was perfect. I ordered them both days and would again in the future. I tasted some of the other food that my daughter and husband ordered over the course of the stay (as shown below), but the pancakes are not to be missed.
At least one of the days we did go over the $75 daily Diamond breakfast allowance and were billed accordingly, but if you order a little more selectively than we did then two people could certainly stay under the $75 cap.
For those interested, the Diamond amenity offered at check-in was either 1,000 Gold Passport points or a $15 food and beverage credit. I would personally prefer either the 1,000 points or a food and beverage amenity as is offered by most other Hyatts, but I just took the points and didn’t look back.
How You Can Do It:
Just like most other NYC hotels, this hotel can be pretty pricey in the $400 – $500 range some nights (though I have seen it under $300 from time to time). As such, the hotel is a top tier Category 6 Hyatt that requires 22,000 points per night. If you are short on Hyatt points you can transfer them in from Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 using cards like the
Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus Business Card. This is also a hotel that would be worth using your two free nights that come with the Hyatt Credit Card (make a reservation on Hyatt.com and you may get an offer for a $100 statement credit on top of the two free nights).
Be aware that technically, only some of the larger specialty rooms suites can accommodate 3 or 4 persons, and those specialty rooms are not available via point redemptions for standard rooms. You could use points and then pay a premium for a larger room, use 33,000 points per night for a suite, or try to negotiate another arrangement directly with the hotel.
I personally found this hotel to be a better redemption as a Category 6 hotel than the nearby Grand Hyatt that is also a Category 6.
While this is not a hotel marketed toward families, we did encounter several families with younger children on the weekend we were there, and we certainly felt welcome at the hotel with our daughter. The location can’t be beat for many NYC tourist attractions and the view is spectacular. They treat Diamond members very well with the breakfast benefit, and the food was almost reason enough to return by itself.
Honestly, I am going to have a hard time going to a different NYC hotel as I had such a great stay here. The Hyatt 48 Lex is arguably a better redemption value currently since it is just 15K points per night, but this hotel was just so darn comfortable, while at the same time “special”, that I loved it. I highly recommend that everyone try it out on a Manhattan visit at least once. Just don’t blame me if you get addicted to the Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes. Blame Gary.
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