New Andaz Wall Street Capitalizes on Smart Design

by  Stephanie Johnnidis | Jan 28, 2010
Andaz Wall Street
Andaz Wall Street / Photo courtesy of the property

Hyatt’s newest brand, Andaz, opened its first New York hotel in the heart of the Financial District on January 18. I manhandled my way down to Wall Street (battling the 5pm exodus from the neighborhood) to check out David Rockwell’s latest digs. Like its boutique sisters in London and Los Angeles, the “Andaz experience” is just as exceptional as its smart, space-conserving rooms (room video preview above).

THE CONCEPT The idea behind the Andaz brand is to remove the barriers between the guest and the employee. At the Andaz Wall Street, there’s no check-in desk in lobby. Instead guests check in with hosts via Tablet PCs. Bar Seven Five, up the curvy, white-steel staircase from the lobby, doesn’t have one long bar like your typical watering hole. Instead, there are a few stations scattered around the space and servers work together in preparing your drink (sort of assembly-line style) then shake it, mix it, or stir it in front of you at your table. Their inspiration for this method originated from back-in-the-day Pullman trains which used a similar approach to serve travelers tableside while on the moving coach. The restaurant, Wall & Water, which opened for lunch and dinner on January 25, carries on the concept with an open kitchen and “Pullman caddies” for drink making.

THE DESIGN David Rockwell (by the way, he also designed the set for the Oscars last year) incorporates very subtle hints of the banking business (the hotel is located in a former JP Morgan Chase building) and its FIDI neighborhood into his design. The abstract pattern woven into the curtains in Wall & Water resemble the watermark on a dollar bill, while the soaring 16-foot-high bamboo walls in the lobby have a paneled design reminiscent of bank lockboxes. The pearlescent wallpaper in rooms, designed by Maya Romanoff, evokes the mother-of-pearl oyster shells that were original used to pave neighboring Pearl Street.

THE ROOMS The 253 rooms offer about 345 square feet of space and a clean, practical design with a few delightful twists. My favorite is the rotating wardrobe valet with a full-length mirror on one side, draws and a hanging area on the other, and a mini-bar and shelves on the other (genius!). A flirty, peek-a-boo deep-soaking tub and shower sits on one side of the room's hallway while the sink area and toilet (enclosed by a frosted-glass door) is on the other. The TV console doubles as a vanity; the flat-screen TV has a mirrored back so you can sit behind it or spin it around to apply your makeup. Rooms also feature dark-stained oak floors, leather headboards and chairs, and stenciled metal artwork.

THE SPA The Spa at Andaz, though petite, offers an invaluable service for the busy businessperson: Quickie, stress-relieving neck and shoulder massages, shoe shine, and a bagged lunch to go – so you’re in and out in 15 minutes (treatments start from $35 a pop)!

THE RATES Prices start from $275/night for a King or Double room (and go up to $325 for a Deluxe King and $425 for an Executive King). Rates include free Internet access in your room, non-alcoholic mini-bar drinks and snacks, breakfast pastries and coffee/espresso in the lobby’s pantry, afternoon snacks (cheese assortments and such) and a glass of wine, also in the lobby.

If you’re wishing there was an Andaz closer to Midtown, like I am, you’re in luck: Their next New York addition will be Andaz 5th Avenue due later this year.

For more on the latest boutique brands, check out our Big Hotels Go Boutique post.

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