Finally Back at the Andaz 5th Avenue

This was only maybe my sixth stay of the year at the Andaz 5th Avenue.

I’ve been trying out a variety of hotels this year in New York — sometimes due to location (like the Conrad New York when I was attending an event there, or the Renaissance Newark for the Freddie Awards), sometimes due to getting simply too good a deal to pass up (the couple of times I stayed at the Andaz Wall Street), and sometimes because the 5th Avenue Andaz was full and I don’t have deep enough pockets to cover a Diamond guaranteed availability stay (so I took refuge at the Grand Hyatt and the Parker Meridien).

Every time I stay in New York and it’s not at the Andaz 5th Avenue, I’m disappointed.

It’s not the single best hotel in New York. And it’s certainly not the cheapest acceptable hotel in New York, either.

But from an overall price-value standpoint, it’s really tough to beat.

The Andaz value proposition includes free wireless internet and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks from the minibar free for all guests.

This Andaz offers Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members the opportunity to take the complimentary breakfast from room service, and the food quality is really good. As long as you stay underneath the $75 cap or thereabouts for your room service order, they bring your food but don’t even bring you a bill to sign. It’s my favorite hotel breakfast outside of Asia, although breakfast at Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle comes close.

You’ll see, of course, my beloved lemon poppyseed pancakes. Recently a journalist who interviewed a Hyatt exec reported back, “no one has ever had these pancakes.” My love of these is apparently famous enough that it was a topic of conversation in the interview. I believe all Hyatt executives should be required to eat them so that they can encourage other properties to make them. (While Hyatt execs may not all eat the pancakes, both Million Mile Secrets and One Mile at a Time have raved about them, referencing my recommendation.)

The Andaz Wall Street has a busy lobby, the lobby here is smaller which I like because once you walk inside the hotel it seems so much more peaceful — there aren’t as many people milling about, it isn’t as loud.

The rooms here are really large for Manhattan, even the standard rooms. And the bathrooms are probably my favorite of ay hotel, anywhere.

Plus I really like the location, in Midtown directly across from the New York Public Library. The lobby even has its own small library, in keeping with the theme.

Despite only half a dozen stays here this year, I’m a regular enough that many of the hotel staff know me. I walk through the door and the person welcoming me in knows my face well enough to say, “welcome back.” He acknowledges at the desk that he’s checked me in before.

I didn’t use a confirmed suite upgrade, but they do do a pretty good job with Diamond upgrades here, at least considering the constraints. The hotel is frequently completely full. When they first opened they weren’t especially good with elite upgrades. They would endeavor to offer the best available room at check-in, but they didn’t do any pre-blocking of elites. As I understand it, they still don’t pre-block rooms most of the time but instead they upgrade the room category that Diamonds are booked into — they try to upgrade two categories if possible, one if they’re completely booked solid, and then assign Diamond members to a room in that higher category at check-in.

On one night stays I tend to luck into suites, it probably helps the number of times I stayed here last year and it’s also one an additional reason I don’t want to stay elsewhere when I’m in town. I don’t want to lose that sort of frequent guest recognition.

This trip I had a “12” room on the 11th floor. I’ve had this same room before. It’s a suite with a balcony, and what distinguishes it from others is that it isn’t just a walkout terrace but an actual large balcony with a couple of chairs.

The room isn’t as big as a splash suite, but I find it exceedingly comfortable.

I’m so happy with this hotel that I was almost disappointed to be gone only for a day. Fortunately the next New York trip that I have set is booked here again.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Have you ever tried any of the Kimptons in NYC? I highly recommend them if you are paying with cash and are not worried about getting points (crazy I know) for anything other than other Kimptons. The quality vs. price is great for NYC. And Kimpton hotels are among the best in the industry in my opinion. They also have stuff like free wireless and a free wine hour everyday. You should check them out.

  2. Paul is correct. As one of Kimpton’s elite “inner circle” members, I get the same personalized treatment at Kimpton as I do as Diamond at Hyatt/Andaz properties.

    I agree 100% on loving the Andaz brand and esp Andaz 5th ave. The value is incredible and the location is perfect. Andaz 5th is of my favs too (after Andaz West Holly $ Hyatt London)

  3. SHHHHHHHH! I love that hotel. Quick convenient SUBWAY access through Bryant Park or Grand Central. Great location. Amazing rooms.

  4. Deja vu. Another post about this hotel? Are they paying or something?
    And another stay coming up…guess we’ll hear about those lemon poppyseed pancakes yet again soon…

  5. @Ann – just for the record – no, they do not pay me. They’ve never even comped me a meal, other than my breakfast which is a benefit of Hyatt’s Diamond status. What can I say, it’s my favorite hotel in the U.S. right now I think.

    @mark I’ll try to do better next time!!

  6. Gary – timely post for me. Am on the fence between the IC Times Square and Andaz 5th Ave for an upcoming 2 night mid Oct. weekend stay. On the one hand I have RA bennies with IC and a free weekend night cert (2 for 1)- on the other hand, the Diamond bennies,location and $75 b-fast credit make the Andaz mighty appealing (not to mention Poppyseed pancakes!). If I could get a suite at the Andaz and even use my Anniv night cert, that would be ideal, but probably dreaming that would happen!
    Thoughts?

  7. Gary:

    You are one of my favorite bloggers, and I love your work and will always follow everything you do

    But I must say that I’m rapidly tiring of reading about five stays at the same hotel, with endless pictures of the same minibar, etc.

    Just a thought that you may want to consider from an editing perspective.

    I mean this in the best way 🙂

  8. @Vlad – agree. 🙂

    @John Peters – editing? What’s that? 🙂 In all seriousness, if you want to see a lack of editing, check out Lucky’s blog. You will see pictures of glasses of water shot from every conceivable angle. Gary is a lightweight when compared to Lucky. 🙂

  9. @Gary, in all seriousness, I share your opinion of this property and hope that you keep your current approach. For those who don’t a like a posting, it’s easy enough to move on and check out other bloggers’ adventures in frugality.

    Love those pancakes!

  10. Quickie question…

    I had my eye set on this property too for soon-to-be upcoming trip. Is it worth spending out 22,000 UR converted pts per night, or shelling out $300-400 / night in cash….

  11. @rob: yes you are definitely dreaming if you think you are gonna use your Anniversary night certain here……..

  12. The Hyatt Visa anniversary night is good up to category 4, Andaz 5th Avenue is category 6. The only Manhattan option for that certificate is the Hyatt 48 Lex.

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