I checked into the hotel at nearly midnight. There were a couple of guests hovering around the front desk and there was a bit of a party scene as well.
One thing I’ve noticed about San Diego’s Gaslamp region is that it is a going out town — the women get dressed up to party, and the guys with them look like they rolled out of bed in what they’re wearing out (shorts, flip flops). They wouldn’t get into clubs anywhere else. I’ve tried to figure out the economics of it — is there a surplus of women relative to men, so they have to impress but the guys do not? — but I lack the data to develop a coherent theory.
The Andaz San Diego has a traditional front desk rather than roving check-in agents, but that desk is also where they serve the evening happy hour complimentary wine from.
They have coffee and pastries in the morning by the desk as well.
The agent checking me in recognized by Gold Passport Diamond status and mentioned that I had been upgraded to ‘a loft room, which is our Andaz Suite’. That’s great since I wasn’t using a confirmed upgrade instrument. She mentioned breakfast at the rooftop restaurant. I asked about room service, since I hadn’t checked on how this hotel handles breakfast before I arrived and she stumbled, “oh, yes of course, you can order your complimentary breakfast by room service too if you prefer.” I asked her what the allowance was and she didn’t know, she said she hadn’t ever seen a Diamond exceed it “so it must be more than $80.”
That’s simultaneously unhelpful and generous at the same time, I figured I would order extensively just to test it! And indeed I ran up a bill the next morning that was about $90 and it was taken off. A big breakfast bill wasn’t all that easy to do because room service pricing was relatively inexpensive, at least for a hotel of this category. Most items were in the low to mid teens. But the food was also pretty average.
I love the overall look of the hotel.
Even the hallway by the elevator and down towards the room is stylishly attractive.
The room was more of a junior suite — it had a separate living area and bedroom but the two weren’t walled off completely from each other.
The placement of the desk underneath the television in the living room was awkward, especially with little room between the desk and the table in front of the couch. It was necessary to get down on hands and knees to access a nearby power outlet as well.
The junior suite had a gorgeous bathroom, although the shower itself was a bit small. There was a cutout in the glass that served as a passthrough for a towel but it would be quite easy to get that wet given the positioning above knee level next to the toilet and at the front near the showerhead.
Non-alcoholic beverages in the minibar are of course free at an Andaz.
There were plenty of alcoholic drinks, too, all very good looking bottles, along with an in-room single cup coffee maker.
Andaz hotels provide complimentary snacks as well, in this case only a little basket of snacks was free along with several premium items next to those in a larger basket.
There are three major areas that I found unsatisfactory.
- Housekeeping. They never once replenished toilet paper in the room over the course of a three-night stay. Pillows remained strewn about the living room (as I had left them – my bad, but usually housekeeping will straighten). And I came back one evening to find this spill that wasn’t there when I had left the room:
- Noise from above. Footsteps are my pet peeve and I’m especially sensitive to them. I want my room to be quiet, not just isolated from any party scene but especially from noise emanating from adjoining rooms. There are hardwood floors in the room, I could hear every step from the room above me when I first got there at nearly midnight. The sound from above is a deal-breaker for me.
- Valet parking. When I first arrived at the hotel I was told to go inside and check in, they would bring me my valet ticket. Check-in took awhile, but by the end no valet ticket. I had to go back outside to retrieve it from the two valets who were standing around chatting. When finally departing at the end of the stay I had an early flight. I called down for the car to be brought around at 5:25am. When I came outside at 5:40am the car wasn’t there and neither was the valet, they were getting someone else’s car who had apparently requested theirs even earlier. The valet wasn’t busy, just in no hurry.
You know you’re in the Gaslamp quarter when staying at the Andaz San Diego, because not only is the lobby hopping but next door is the Double Deuce which I’m told features a mechanical bull. To me, though, anything with that name is complete without some sort of homage to Patrick Swayze. Sadly from the outside I saw none.
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