I recently visited the striking Andaz Hotel near Liverpool Street, just east of central London. It’s been doing well recently in terms of guest reviews so I was curious to take a tour and speak to management.
I quickly learned that the Andaz strives to be “different” in a way that goes beyond its cutting-edge modern design. And one of the main ways it does this is in fully embracing the locality immediately around the hotel.
I found this refreshing, having experienced at first hand how many hotels “cocoon you” from the local environment (especially so-called “luxury” hotels) so you almost have no idea which country you’re waking up in.
At the Andaz London they seem to go in the opposite direction, with a range of initiatives to “connect” hotel guests with the local area (in this case, the “East End” of London). As previously mentioned, this area is especially rich in great historic pubs and secret churches.
And here are a few more examples of how a stay at the Andaz helps you immerse yourself in the local area:
- There is a regular programme of events held at the hotel involving the local community, for example the summer parties which we previously covered as well as book readings and other events.
- A partnership has been established with the nearby Whitechapel Gallery to display its art throughout the hotel in support of local artists.
- Guests are offered some unusual local tours around East London including a street art and graffiti tour among others.
- Extensive information is provided to guests on the local area around the hotel, well beyond the conventional “tourist sights”.
- Staff are well-briefed on local attractions. Unusually, the Andaz has no single concierge: instead, each staff member is trained as a “host” and the guest is given a single point of contact for their entire stay.
Exploring districts like Islington, the South Bank, Covent Garden and Mayfair adds colour and a sense of discovery, something which many London visitors miss when they slavishly follow a “checklist” of flagship sites.
So I find it commendable that a hotel strives to give its guests the opportunity to enjoy a more in-depth London experience, in which the local art, culture and history is actually brought inside the walls of the hotel.
It’s a fascinating approach and one that I would love to see succeed.
Photo credits: Andaz London.