You often visit a city hotel and find yourself feeling slightly excluded from the local community. There’s frequently no sense of time, season or place.
Some hotels are so “neutral” in décor that international jetsetters will wake up in the morning and not even realise where they are, let alone interact with any “real Londoners” during their stay.
The Andaz Hotel near Liverpool Street (close to London’s “East End”) is finding some interesting ways to counter this.
It has launched an inviting “summer garden” with indoor grass, flowers, trees and benches – all nicely sheltered from the good old British weather!
The area is specially designed to host a series of vibrant public and private events throughout the summer season.
It makes good use of the hotel’s Atrium space (previously used as an indoor beach) and creates a nice buzz around this ultra-modern hotel.
The launch event was a singles party. Various sports events, jumble sales, book clubs and parties are scheduled through the summer.
It’s a nice way to give the hotel some bustle and involve the local community as well as hotel guests. It also shows that a modern hotel with cutting-edge contemporary décor need not feel “cold”.
Delving deeper, it seems the Andaz Hotel has a philosophy of consciously looking to “bring out the personality” of the area around its hotel.
For example, it holds five restaurants and five bars with a diverse offering to suit a myriad of tastes, designed to attract locals as well as hotel guests.
The idea of a hotel with a sense of community is an interesting concept. It may appeal to visitors who’ve already ticked off the standard sights of London and are looking for something extra.
We saw something similar at the equally-hip Hoxton Hotel featured recently which showcases the work of local artists in its public areas.
The Andaz also houses state-of-the-art business facilities (featured in our earlier review of London’s top business hotels) and cutting-edge design.
As our pictures illustrate, it’s not a hotel for traditionalists. But the management deserve credit for trying to carve out a distinctive niche.
Since the Andaz is next to Liverpool Street station, it’s handy for transport links to Stansted airport as well as the Eurostar terminal at Kings Cross.
The hotel also provides free wifi and an intriguing “healthy” mini-bar.
It is currently in TripAdvisor’s top 100 for London. Guest reviews focus on the attractive public spaces and the fact that bathrooms are often generously-proportioned. Service is generally good but not perfect.
Do note that there’s no formal check-in when you arrive: staff will attend you as you sit comfortably in the lobby lounge. This system sounds good in theory but reviews suggest it doesn’t always work smoothly in practice.
However, the hotel is still a solid choice for business people who need to be near the City of London’s financial district, as well as adventurous leisure travellers who want to try something a bit different.
An alternative “buzzy” hotel also good for business travellers and closer to the West End is the Hilton Metropole, featured earlier for its location near Little Venice and as one of London’s leading business venues.
Finally, if you want a different kind of “buzz” where you can spot celebrities, there’s no better destination than The Dorchester or Claridge’s.
Photo credits: Marianne Taylor Photography – creative wedding reportage and Andaz Hotel