The Andaz Wall Street’s Plan to Get Back on Top

The General Manager of the Andaz Wall Street stopped by to comment on yesterday’s post about the hotel which noted declining service offerings there.

For a New York hotel frequently pricing substantially under $300 it seems a spectacular value provided the location on Wall Street can work for you.

But it isn’t offering as much as it used to, there have clearly been cutbacks, and my expectations had been set based on previous stays and the overall Andaz brand.

The gist of the issues I shared:

  • Elimination of evening wine reception and 24 hour coffee in the lobby
  • Hotel no longer offering a restaurant with dinner service
  • There were cutbacks in the restaurant breakfast offerings (which as a Hyatt Diamond member for whom breakfast is complimentary, this is disappointing — though perhaps I shouldn’t complain too much over what I get for free!)
  • Minor room servicing items – like no minibar snacks on my first day, toileteries never refreshed during the stay, no newspaper provided.
  • Room maintenance – flooring bubbling up so that steps can be felt and make noise.

I’ll share the hotel General Manager’s post from the comments first, and then some notes on my conversation with him.

I’m disappointed to hear about your most recent experience at Andaz Wall Street. Please know that anything that falls short of great service is unacceptable in our book. Rest assured that we are looking into your most recent booking to identify and address any possible gaps in service.

Despite it all, I’m glad you are still able to acknowledge that Andaz Wall Street provides great value to its guests, or as you put it “more than my money’s worth.”

As General Manager, I guarantee you that not a single day goes by when we do not try to both exceed guest expectations and successfully run a business to the very best of our ability. While sometimes we have to make some changes in order to address the ever-evolving nature of this business, it is never an option to compromise on service or our guests’ experiences.

We work diligently each day to maintain a high level of excellence, so I appreciate your thoughts and feedback. It helps keep us on track. In fact, I will give you a call shortly to discuss further.

With kind regards,
Jeffrey Miller
General Manager
Andaz Wall Street

Here’s what I learned in speaking with him:

  • When the hotel opened they expected to draw $500 room rates. The economy and location have not supported that, and they’ve had to manage their costs.

  • Right now the bar is on one level of the hotel and the restaurant is on a level above. They plan to use the ground floor for food and beverage, recreating a restaurant concept in the lounge, and offering a proper dinner service. The restaurant will become catering space.

  • They’re working to bring back the evening beverages, and expect to have that done in the coming three weeks. They also plan to bring back morning coffee as well, and are considering in-room coffee makers.

  • The floating floors have been challenging, with maintenance in each room being different. He didn’t offer any current plans to address them systematically.

I had dinner during the stay with an executive from another hotel chain whom I’ve known for years, and who told me stories about the city’s union cost structure for hotels.

I certainly understand work rules that may require dedicated employees for offerings like a wine reception, and how much those employees cost (and that hotels often have to eliminate services in order to reduce those costs, and then negotiate to bring services back in modified form).

Ultimately the Andaz Wall Street isn’t likely to offer a product equal to the Andaz 5th Avenue, given the latter hotel’s room rates that are often $150+ higher. But the Wall Street property is working to bring back many of the features like complimentary wine in the evenings that guests love, and to satisfy core needs like restaurant dinner service.

To be clear, I did not complain to the hotel. I did not ask for compensation. That wasn’t the direction of our conversation, the GM just wanted me to know the reasons for some of the changes and how they were planning to bring back some of the services guests have come to expect. He did not offer me anything (and I was not disappointed by that).


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 InsideFlyer.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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. “…told me stories about the city’s union cost structure for hotels.”

    Friggin’ unions. Hope they all lose their jobs.

  2. Gary, thanks for being our advocate!

    How an organization responds to comments says a lot about them, and I commend Andaz Wall Street for taking the time.

    Now if you could get Parker to listen, that would be awesome!

  3. Obviously a smart PR strategy by the GM to reach out to you with an explanation, since a certain % of “the 30,000+ people who see these deals and analysis every day” probably make some trips to NYC.

  4. …”He did not offer me anything (and I was not disappointed by that).”

    Gary, you continue to be a class act. No other blogger is this open about their behind-the-scene conversations.

  5. I’ve stayed at this property a dozen times, the last six as a Diamond and it’s my go-to spot in NYC due to the great value it offers.

    For some reason, I’m always treated exceptionally well. I’ve documented my stays over at Flyertalk where the master thread is dominated with trash-talking about how the hotel has declined and you can find me in that thread constantly defending the hotel, being thrilled I continually receive a great upgrade and the delicious breakfast.

    Yet, I do realize that I could just be the anamoly. And I must say that even though I love the breakfast, they have the least interested waiters on the planet. On my last stay, I complained to the manager on duty about being ignored and he replied, “Yeah, we get that a lot.” Not exactly the kind of response one looks for and, when I think about it, soon after the complaints really flooded in about the property, including yours most recently, Gary, so maybe I just caught the beginning of the downward trend…

  6. The Andaz management knows what’s coming soon in NY, and is just preparing for it. Soon Mayor elect Bill de Blasio will end stop and frisk, and tell the police to stop containing the gang bangers. Crime will skyrocket back to pre-Giuliani levels. And to pay off the far-left unions for helping elect him, he will support even more draconian union demands that will drain the resources of other formerly high standard properties.

    High income earners have been fleeing the city for some years now. Some 3 million have left in the past decade. Perhaps due to the combination of usurious Federal, State, and also City Income taxes? de Blasio and his union backers have just the solution to that; raise the taxes on the “rich” even higher.

    If the Wall Street property isn’t getting the rates they had hoped for, might it have anything to do with the large number of former Wall Street firms that have moved much of their operations to the new financial centers sprouting up in such unlikely, but business friendly, places as Salt Lake City ?

    Anyone wishing to enjoy a vacation visit to NYC should go as soon as possible. If you liked your clean and safe NYC, sadly you cannot keep it. It’s soon to be declared “sub-standard” and “racist”. Hope and change will “transform” NYC in very “progressive” ways.

    Flames about “Faux News”, and “Right Wingers”, coming in 3,2,1….. Oh wait, while I was writing this Haldami, only bothering to write two talking points sentences, has already posted that.

  7. @Haldami
    Is it or is it not true that union workers generally have cost more than non union workers? Is it or is it not true that union workers generally have more restrictive work rules than non union workers?

    While I think the general consensus among informed people is that unions are not the workers’ savior they claim to be, Gary didn’t inject opinion, just shared facts.

  8. @Kris,

    But Robert did!

    “Soon Mayor elect Bill de Blasio will end stop and frisk, and tell the police to stop containing the gang bangers. Crime will skyrocket back to pre-Giuliani levels. And to pay off the far-left unions for helping elect him, he will support even more draconian union demands that will drain the resources of other formerly high standard properties.

    High income earners have been fleeing the city for some years now. Some 3 million have left in the past decade. Perhaps due to the combination of usurious Federal, State, and also City Income taxes? de Blasio and his union backers have just the solution to that; raise the taxes on the “rich” even higher.”

    Always glad to see how well neocons can predict the future while distorting both the past and present. It’s a freaking travel blog dude! Take that trash to some other site and keep focused on Hyatt.

    Same goes to Haldami.

  9. Andaz has gone from great brand to sub-par. The service and room upkeep @ Andaz West Hollywood is a complete joke these days.

  10. I completely agree with the breakfast service. I stayed there as a diamond member with 2 young kids and my bill was calculated differently each time. They just did not have enough servers. The welcome amenity was also disappointing.

  11. This place used to be great. Sadly, you don’t make a property better by just cutting back and back further. No European country has seen a benefit doing so. Up the game and guests will come back. The current point level is an absolute joke.

  12. In a city where a studio apartment costs $3000 a month, and hotel rooms frequently charge (and get) upwards of $500 a night, I don’t think unions are the problem here.

    The reality is that the location of the Andaz Wall Street is not ideal for weekend tourists and visitors, so its occupancy and room rates suffer. During the week, they’re competing with a handful of other hotels, who are generally offering a similar product to well-healed corporate travelers.

    The reason that they can’t raise their rates is that the product and location doesn’t allow them. That’s why the Regent left the neighborhood, and turned into condos. And that’s why Goldman Sachs turned its Embassy Suites into a Conrad.

    Hotel rooms are overpriced by any normal standard in New York, and a lot of them are doing very, very well. I don’t think that union costs (which I feel whenever I do an event at a hotel in NYC) are the main issue. I think the location, the $40 coffee and bagel meeting packages, and $400+ room rates might have something to do with it.

    As for you, Robert Hanson, no flaming intended here. Money is not fleeing the city, and black people have the right to walk down the street without being harassed by cops.

    This is one of the most business friendly cities in the USA, despite the high taxes. No one’s going anywhere, especially Wall St.

  13. I stayed at Hyatt 48 this summer on a five night stay and the toiletries were not restocked as needed. We were using them not stashing them to take home and we had to call to get more shampoo. Same with the toilet paper. I wonder if it’s part of an overall cost-cutting strategy for Hyatt which they are not willing to admit and they brush it off as a one-off service issue.

  14. @Joe, The bashing and taxing the rich are giving a greater incentive to people who are mobile to give up residency in NYC and for companies to shift jobs out. Between federal and city income tax increases, it’s becoming diseconomical to remain a resident.

    And how can you not take costs into account when taking about high hotel rates and/or poor service. Whether it’s construction or maintenance costs or service costs, I’m sure it’s a bigger challenge to deliver a great hotel experience in NYC than in many other cities.

    @Gary if you can get Doug Parker to list, please work on Jeff Smisek too.

  15. Hi Gary,

    I’ve just stayed at the Andaz Wall Street — actually, I’m there right now, and checking out in an hour or so. It’s about two months after your post and none of the short-term changes seem to have yet been implemented.

    I can’t say I’m disappointed — it is a fantastic deal given the new Hyatt My Elite Rate and with a Diamond upgrade I’m in a room that looks exactly like the one from your previous post. With the included restaurant breakfast and two guests the price is right.

    The lack of coffee is super annoying to me. I don’t particularly care for single-cup coffee systems, but having something would be nice. (The only exception is the Nespresso pods like in the Park Hyatt Tokyo; those are actually good.) On the other hand, having complimentary sparkling water and soda in the room is great.

    While our room was not dirty, it was in amazingly poor repair for such a young hotel — I hope they have a long-term maintenance agreement with their builder. The wood floors float, the bathroom tiles are loose on the floor and some have popped off the walls, and the veneer is damaged and peeling on most of the furniture. The windows are drafty without the blackout shades down, and there are lots of questionable design choices like an almost absolute lack of drawers, no water glasses near the sink, and incandescent bulbs everywhere. It feels like a 15 year old hotel.

    Also the diamond welcome amenity is an iPad screen cleaner (or 1000 points); that’s just chintzy. No F&B option.

    As a new Hyatt Diamond I’d still be hard-pressed not to stay here; it makes too much sense for me, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to a non-Hyatt traveler. Next time I’ll try the Andaz 5th, and I’m at the Andaz Napa next month which I hope will be fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *