Hotel Review: Andaz Wall Street in New York City
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Think of everything that's ever irked you about the "boutique hotel experience": the zombie staff; the overhyped scene and undersize rooms; hitting your head on some Philippe Starck chandelier while groping for an elusive light switch. Well, the people have spoken, and Andaz, a new Hyatt brand, listened. The Andaz Wall Street, which opened in January, was impeccably designed by the Rockwell Group -- the New York firm behind several W Hotels, Nobu restaurants and the stage sets of this year's Academy Awards -- with clever but not overbearing surprises like multifunctional furniture and an "open concept" bar. To be sure, one could say it feels a bit focus-grouped and corporate. But you won't have problems turning on the lights.
On Wall Street, in a former Barclays Bank building constructed in 1982. You're close to tourist sites like Trinity Church, the South Street Seaport and, of course, ground zero. Nonetheless, despite a residential surge in recent years, the area can still feel desolate, especially during off-hours. But if you're closing a million-dollar deal nearby, this is the spot.
Spacious, airy and open -- almost loftlike -- with dark wood floors, light wood cabinetry, automatic blackout screens and handy one-touch light settings ("All Off," "All On," "Relax," "Work," "Nightlight"). The multipurpose furniture in my standard room offered clever configurations: spin the armoire and you'll find a full-length mirror. Spin it again and it reveals the minibar. The desk doubles as a media center that doubles as a vanity when you realize the flat-screen TV is backed by a mirror; a bench pulls out from underneath. It might sound complicated, but it's not.
A palette of black travertine, sandstone and tile floors, with smoky glass and mirrors. The toilet was separate, as was the roomy shower stocked with Bigelow bath products. The highlight, however, was the extra-large tub. Separated from the main room by panes of glass, it was big enough to fit a small family (though, with its stingy tap, it took over 30 minutes to fill).
Free Wi-Fi and local telephone calls? Check. Free minibar sodas, water, Terra Chips, Clif Bars and Dagoba chocolates? Check, check, check. (Sadly, beer and liquor cost extra.) Not only was my room big (big check), but the lobby was a warm, living-room-like space where I was promptly informed of the free 24-hour snack table and evening-hours wine by an attentive hostess. For my taste, the staff was a bit overfriendly in that "Hi, my name is Jenny and I'll be your server tonight" sort of way. But who's complaining? The hotel also has a "locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant" called Wall & Water, the "open concept" bar (picture drink stations at your table); a well-equipped fitness center; meeting rooms and other business services.
There's an extensive menu that includes 24-hour breakfasts, make-your-own salads and sandwiches, and straightforward entrees like spaghetti Bolognese and organic chicken breast. I ordered a late-night snack of a Black Angus hamburger ($16) -- it was a bit more than a "snack"-- and it arrived in just under 15 minutes.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For a business-oriented boutique hotel in Lower Manhattan, this seals the deal. Andaz Wall Street, 75 Wall Street (Water Street); (212) 590-1234; andaz.com. Standard rooms from $275.
First Published April 25, 2010 2:00 am