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Breaking down barriers at the Andaz.

by Rajul on April 7, 2010

The unusual open lobby at the Andaz (with no front desk) immediately sets the scene for its "barrier-free" atmosphere

London Hotels Insight likes to pick up on hotels which are “gaining momentum” through improving guest reviews.

One example is the Andaz by Liverpool Street – a hotel that thrives on being well-connected to its locality, as recently featured.  It has also now entered the top 50 London hotels according to TripAdvisor.

When I recently met the hotel’s management, I was taken on a tour and learned of other ways in which this striking hotel is innovating.  Here are a few examples of how it is reinventing certain hotel industry norms:

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  • There’s no conventional front desk at check-in.  You instead take a comfy seat and a staff member offers you a drink and does the formalities with a tablet PC.  The efficacy of this approach has so far had mixed reviews.
  • They don’t label customer-facing staff with job titles, calling them all “hosts” instead.  Where possible, you keep the same “host” as your key contact throughout your stay.  Hosts are trained to provide local tips.
  • Public areas are also designed to be “barrier-free”.  I was shown a typical bar set up like an island which customers stand around.  Staff serve you side by side or around you to encourage interaction.
  • Meeting rooms also have an interactive vibe.  I saw an unusual open meeting area called the “Studio” with its own open-plan kitchen.
  • Unusual events are organised and open to guests and local residents.  Examples include summer parties, “House of Love” readings, a “silent cinema” and even bedtime stories read by a professional journalist!

Parties are frequently held at the Andaz for guests and local residents alike

The Andaz also showcases art from local artists.  The “art in the lobby” idea has been seen at the gorgeous Sofitel St James too.

There’s an impressive range of restaurants and bars (five in total) to cater to any whim, which also makes the hotel ideal for longer stays.

Recent guest reviews state that bedrooms are generally quite spacious and well-equipped with generous free amenities including free WiFi.

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Guest rooms at the Andaz are very modern and well-equipped

Although the hotel’s location near the City has naturally led it to be seen as one of London’s best business hotels, it’s also a good base for tourists wishing to explore an underrated corner of London away from the crowd.

Check out our recommended historic pubs and secret churches which are within easy reach of the hotel, as well as Broadway Market.

The Andaz is by no means cheap but offers value for money compared to more centrally-located luxury hotels.  If you enjoy modern design and a slightly “different” experience it is well worth considering for your next trip.

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Photo credits: Marianne Taylor Photography – creative wedding reportage and Andaz Hotel.

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