Craig’s review… I’m too old for a hotel like this. It’s for people under thirty, and people who love style over substance. I’d like to send the designers of the Andaz over to The Ritz or the Royal Horseguards, so they can see what a proper 5-star hotel looks like, because it’s immediately obvious as soon as you walk through the door that they’re trying too hard to be cool.
They need to turn some lights on, for a start, because the reception area is darker than space. And where’s the reception desk? They haven’t even got one! They are too cool for that – reception desks are what other hotels do.
What you have to do at the Andaz is introduce yourself to one of the suits who are just standing around in the dark, who will then lead you over to an office desk with a laptop on it, and start punching in some numbers.
Next problem: There’s no bath. I’ve got a shower and a sink, but no bath, and I’m too big to have a bath in the sink. Bear in mind that this is supposed to be a 5-star hotel and every house in the country has got a bathtub in it – so where is it? Maybe they’ve hidden it in the cupboard… let me go and have a look… nope. That’s where you’ll find a pair of slippers in a plastic bag, and a dressing gown that looks like a karate costume.
The Andaz is the hotel equivalent of that Stealers Wheel’ song, because it spends too much time worrying about whether something looks cool, and not enough time wondering if it’s actually any good. They give you pencils instead of pens. They give you Chinese news, Russian news, French news and Al Jazeera on the telly, but no Sky News. They give you a copy of Wired magazine instead of a newspaper. You get an IKEA-style pine desk and a tubular office chair instead of an armchair. You get peppermint tea and glutton-free crisps.
They even advertise the fact that their eco-friendly toilet uses 80% less water. Who honestly cares about that? When was the last time you booked a hotel room because the toilet uses less water?
Another thing that wound me up was this: the promise of a complimentary minibar. The guy downstairs made a big deal about that, but when you get up to the room all you’ll find inside the fridge is a bottle of water, a tiny tin-can of Coke and a little plastic bottle of Tropicana orange juice. All the booze has to be purchased separately from room service. That’s hardly a minibar, is it? That’s more like the contents of a child’s lunch box.
There’s no ironing board or iron, either – you have to order those from reception. But at least they give you some free Wi-Fi, I suppose – which is more than most hotels do.
They have a couple of restaurants and a couple of bars onsite. One of them looks like a traditional British pub, and the other one is a champagne bar with mood lighting and sofa seats. They certainly love the dark in this hotel – thank Christ the bar had some candles in it or I wouldn’t have been able to see what I was drinking.
The only good thing that I can say about this hotel is that it’s situated next-door to Liverpool Street station, which is a very busy and lively part of London.