This hotel is perfectly placed between the banking headquarters of the City and the bars, restaurants and clubs of arty, self-consciously cool Shoreditch. Spitalfields Market is just up the road, the Bank of England a short walk in the other direction. Not that you need to walk anywhere much: as a former railway hotel, Andaz is right next to Liverpool Street rail and Underground stations.
The 267 rooms are given a bit of designer heft with Eames chairs and Frette sheets, tick all the boxes for services (TV/DVD, free internet/local calls, free health drinks in the minibar) and are a good size, but their minimalist decor is a little hard-edged. REN smellies in the bathroom and free preloaded iPods from reception soften things up a bit.
The foyer area is at the bottom of a vast, absolutely stunning atrium and decorated by modern art, including David Nash’s tree-trunk sculpture. It’s called the Living Room and does have plenty of space and comfy chairs, but to me feels too austere to be properly relaxing.
Eating and drinking
There are five places to eat and drink: the single-room George pub in one corner, Japanese Miyako, cocktails and fine dining in the grand 1901, seafood at Catch, and the Eastway’s more casual drinks and eats.
Andaz seems to have fun organising events help to warm the space up a bit: the giant modern atrium has hosted Silent Cinema (guests plugged into headphones to watch a film) and a Designer Jumble Sale, while the sombre interior Masonic Temple has been used for comedy nights. There’s also a health club tucked among the pillars of an Egyptian Temple downstairs, with kettlebells, a variety of machines, three treatment rooms and a steam room.
I’m not totally convinced by the ‘no reception’ policy here - I’m used to this sort of thing, but I felt a touch overawed in the lobby, waiting for one of the receptionists (sorry, ‘hosts’) to zoom over with her laptop to check me in.. However, the staff were approachable and had real knowledge about the local area. They’ll organise accompanied runs for single women travellers, for example, and tours with the hip guide company Urban Gentry.
Who stays there
Reliant on weekday business custom, but does plenty of wedding guests and leisure travellers.
As with most hotels that thrive on business custom, you’ll get much better deals at the weekend here.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
Pros & Cons
- Handsome building
- Free internet and juice bar
- Savvy staff organise unusual events
- ‘No reception’ policy
- Austere public areas