I spent the weekend up in New York and stayed at the Andaz Wall Street. I was looking for New York hotel prices in the middle of the week and found a great rate at the Wall Street property. It’s usually quite reasonable on weekends, since the primary function of the hotel is for business travelers wanting to stay in the financial district. Although it remains surprisingly busy on the weeknds, there were apparently 3 wedding parties at the hotel while I was there. It’s just that most of the area isn’t especially vibrant once the business week ends.

“Andaz suite” rooms were pricing the same as base-level rooms, and the weekend rate was especially low, so I booked it In fact, I made a couple of bookings. By the time I completed that, and was going to share my experience on the blog, the rate was gone.

I generally prefer the Andaz 5th Avenue, both for the hotel experience itself and for the location. But if I need to be down on Wall Street this would be my hotel of choice. I had only stayed here once before, just over a year ago, and had several minor annoyances but on the whole found it a solid property.

Since then three changes have been made that downgrade the experience for me, though my judgment remains the same, at the price point and compared to the competition in the area this would be my hotel of choice for this part of Manhattan. This is New York and my expectations are generally low (though I’ve been spoiled by 5th Avenue).

The three changes are:

  • They’ve reclassified “XL King” rooms as suites.
  • The Diamond member breakfast benefit can no longer be taken from room service.
  • Room service is no longer available 24 hours a day.

A suite at this property used to be 1000 square feet or thereabouts. The “XL King” is what I had last year and can best be described as a junior suite, there’s not actually a separate living room and bedroom, it’s a large (650-ish square feet) corner room with a piece of furniture and television separating the room in two. It used to be fairly standard as a Diamond member upgrade, which was great. Hyatt Gold Passport doesn’t promise suite upgrades to Diamonds subject to availability, Diamond members get to confirm suites in advance four times annually (for up to 7 nights each time). But otherwise the upgrade is to the best available non-suite room. Which is what this was.

Now they call it a suite, it’s the room type that you get when you use a confirmed suite upgrade (although some folks have reported further upgrades to the larger suite that used to be the standard, and even to a named Buttonwood suite, but that’s subject to the good graces of the hotel and not something folks are entitled to).

I assumed I was booking what used to be called a suite, the room that was 50% larger, since I hadn’t kept up on the change in room designation at the property. My fault, I didn’t read the room description when booking, and I would have booked it anyway. But I was surprised at check-in to have reserved a suite, to get the XL King I had last year (now called an “Andaz Suite” with the old suite now refered to as a “Large Suite”). I assumed I had been downgraded, but I went online and figured out that I had gotten what I had reserved.

When I checked in I asked about the breakfast benefit. There was no Diamond welcome letter describing breakfast, and I had also booked the AAA Breakfast Rate (which was cheapest). They didn’t differentiate the two, told me that breakfast was “a $50 credit in the restaurant.” Last year when I stayed breakfast was the biggest area of confusion, since I had been given three different stories and what was actually removed from the bill at checkout didn’t match any of the three. It was explained that they had changed their policy and I could no longer use the credit towards room service, which is fine and certainly they’re entitled to as the Gold Passport Diamond breakfast benefit doesn’t include room service and there was no description of the AAA breakfast rate and so it didn’t specify room service either. Again, though, it’s not obvious what they actually do in practice since there are plenty of reports that larger amounts than $50 will get wiped off a Diamond member’s bill.

Saturday morning when I woke up it was 5:30am and I wanted coffee. The lobby has a coffee machine and staff will get you complimentary coffee or tea 24 hours a day it seems. But I didn’t want to go downstairs. Even though room service was no longer complimentary, I wanted them to bring up a coffee pot. No can do. “Room service doesn’t begin until 6:30am, we no longer offer room service 24 hours a day.” It’s no a long schlepp to the lobby (or to Starbucks for that matter, though the nearby Starbucks doesn’t open until 7am). But not being able to get coffee brought to my room, when I’m staying at an ostensibly full service hotel, is a bit of a deal breaker for me.

The room itself is great for New York, my standards in the city (the Andaz 5th Avenue notwithstanding) are quite low and this was an inexpensive room that was over 600 square feet with a semi-separate living room and bedroom. Two televisions. Lovely bathroom, I find the 5th Avenue bathrooms to be beautiful while the Wall Street ones are merely stylish. Neither property has enough lighting in the bathroom, though the problem is much more pronounced at Wall Street.

Internet is free for guests at the hotel, so are the snacks and non-alcoholic drinks from the minibar. For everyone, no status required. For a Diamond also getting complimentary breakfast it’s hard to argue the value proposition on any sub-$300 rates in my opinion.

The hotel’s restaurant, Wall & Water (named for the hotel’s cross streets, the hotel address is 75 Wall Street but the main entrance is actually on Water Street), has really good food. The foie gras, brioche French toast, and fried egg dish was outstanding. I’m definitely a fan.

Now, the breakfast buffet used to have oysters and none were in evidence the two mornings I had breakfast. Though I didn’t go for the buffet either time. The only drawback, though, was just like I noted on my previous stay at the property a year ago service is really really slow, and that seems to be true whether the restaurant is busy or not. You just can’t seem to get the attention of staff, whether you want a refill on coffee or the check.

Some folks really like the lobby of the Andaz Wall Street, it’s much larger than the 5th Avenue property’s lobby, and serves as a gathering place. There’s coffee and tea throughout the day, evening wine. To me though I want to walk into the hotel and immediately find peace in the midst of a busy city, I don’t especially look to interact with other guests, so I prefer serenity. The lobby of the Andaz Wall Street gets busy. They do have some delicious treats on display, though, but worth noting these are not part of the complimentary evening service but rather for sale.

In a matter of days I’ll be back at the Fifth Avenue Andaz. My last stay there (unblogged) I even had a room with a larger balcony than I’d gotten before, I’ve had several suites with walkout balconies but this one had a sitting area….

  1. mdr said,

    I stayed at Andaz Wall Street for a Saturday night back in November 2011 as a Hyatt Diamond. At that time, the Diamond breakfast credit was in fact $61.94, which I believe is the advertised $50, plus the 8.875% tax and a 15% gratuity.

    Of course this didn’t fully cover the cost of Sunday brunch of $28/person [there were two of us], but because I thought the quality and selection of the buffet were both very good [I'm sure I ate at least $20 worth of oysters!] and because I didn’t gauge it worth my time to argue over an extra ~$10, I let it go.

  2. A. S. said,

    Next time you want to stay in that area, you should consider the new Conrad. I just stayed there for the first time and do recommend it. The rooms are huge by NY standards — it used to be an Embassy Suites, so they’re all suites, though they’ve obviously gone through a major refurb since their Embassy Suites days. The building is an atrium style one with a very modern look and clean lines. You might not like the included breakfast benefit for Golds and above, because it’s the spartan “continental” of a couple of pastries and jams, but my breakfast at home is usually spartan, so I had no issues.

    Since all rooms are suites, the upgrade benefit involves more of a “location/view” upgrade. I got a nice room on a high floor with a view of the Statue of Liberty. It was very bright and cheery. The bathrooms are beautiful, but on the small side. If I were the architect, I would have taken some space from the living room and invested it in the bathroom…

    I stayed there on a 50K award, but for the going rates in NY during my dates it was a steal. It’s not like any other Conrad that I’ve stayed at in that service is very low-key rather than “hovering” like their properties in Asia, for example, but they’ll be happy to oblige if you ask for anything.

  3. Gary said,

    @AS been meaning to check out the Conrad, I stayed there when it was an Embassy Suites..

  4. thesilb said,

    You bring up in this thread one of the biggest silent downgrades of GP lately, and it just continues and continues: the hotel-level re-categorization of certain formerly “regular rooms” to suites. There are numerous hotels system wide that, since the introduction of the diamond suite benefit, have conveniently re-categorized “regular rooms” as suites. I talked to Jeff Zidell about this about a year ago, and thought maybe it would change, but if anything, its worse now and here you bring up the latest example.

  5. Jamison said,

    best part about this hotel is the complimentary red and white wine in the evening ;) It seems like anyone can just walk into the hotel and help themselves as they NEVER check for guests room # or room keys

  6. Mark Stamm said,

    I generally book through Amex Centurion Travel, and have to insist that every last detail be in the written confirmation–room size, # of bathrooms, separate bedroom, detail of benefits or credits, etc.
    That has served me well numerous times, especially at Ritz-Carltons

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