Hotel Desk

What’s Your Andaz?

written by | Posted on January 1st, 2009

If you were curious enough to inquire about a hotel chain on the name alone, Andaz would be your choice. You would find that it is the Urdu word for “style” and the title of a 1949 film by Mehboob Khan and the 1971 remake by Ramesh Sippy.

What your whirlwind tour of words would fail to tell you is about Hyatt Hotels & Resorts’ latest venture under the exotic moniker—a chic, style-driven, artsy, slightly funky and tech-forward brand of properties opening in hip neighborhoods around Los Angeles, Austin, New York and London so far, with more cities and sites on the way.

As the second Andaz property (and first North American endeavor) prepares to open in West Hollywood, CA, this month, it is easy to look to the Andaz Liverpool Street in London to know just what might be in store. The first and flagship of the Hyatt sub-brand launched in 2007 with an eye toward simplicity and locality. It’s a refreshing departure from convention.

Guests arrive in the Andaz Lounge, a non-traditional, multi-use social space where they check into their quarters via an Andaz “host”—basically a complete hospitality facilitator for the guests. The 267-room property offers a complement of eye-opening elements starting with the designs and furnishings that include high ceilings and period features—some rooms are detailed with ornate components typical of late Victoriana, while other rooms contain a restrained feel. All rooms are united by a distinct sense of modern design.

“Andaz was the result of extensive research, which told us that both travelers and developers are looking for a high-quality hotel experience that is uncomplicated and relaxed, yet characterized by consistently great service,” says Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO, Global Hyatt Corp. “Andaz is an authentic and vibrant product, reflective of local culture, with a highly personal, streamlined service model.”

Beyond the design-intensive bar and restaurant settings in the London hotel lie several out-of-the-box concepts that help shape the hotel’s identity into a must-experience venue. In a program called Silent Cinema, guests wear wireless headphones and watch films on a full-size cinema screen, relaxing in a screening room without having to weather noisy talkers nearby or passing interruptions while enjoying the service and setting of the surroundings. The hotel offers East End Contemporary Art Tours featuring local and hard-to-find galleries and studios.

Inside and out, Andaz seeks design that is unusual, innovative and environmentally conscious. Each property reflects the local flavor and texture of its location with handpicked designers and architects that include such legendary names as Janson Goldstein LLP, Tony Chi and The Rockwell Group.

The 14-story Andaz West Hollywood, designed by New York-based architecture and interior design firm Janson Goldstein LLP, features a dramatic glass garden pavilion off the main entrance and an 11-ft. cascading hand-painted metal disk sculpture by Jacob Hashimoto. Throughout the hotel, visitors will uncover odd details of the West Hollywood culture such as quotes from local neighborhood personalities, art installations from Los Angeles artists and impromptu music performances from some of the city’s up-and-coming musicians.

The 257 rooms and suites have fun sitting areas that can be used to work, rest, or play. Many of the guestrooms have been designed with a glass-enclosed sunroom that overlooks Sunset Boulevard. Among the public spaces is a dramatic rooftop terrace with heated pool and daybed seating expected to become a new “it” spot in Hollywood.

The venue has always been a preferred hotspot for rockers. It originally opened in 1963 as Gene Autry’s Hotel Continental, the first high-rise hotel on the Sunset Strip and became a Hyatt in 1976. Within walking distance from the Whiskey a Go-Go and House of Blues, it was the preferred accommodation in Los Angeles for traveling rock bands fondly tabbed locally as The Riot House, due to the wild antics carried out by band members of such rock groups as Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Doors and the Rolling Stones.

Andaz Wall Street will be the third hotel in the Andaz collection and second property in North America when it opens later this year. In a building soaring 42 stories above lower Manhattan, the 253-room hotel will be located in the lower portion of the mixed-use edifice, showcasing the talents of The Rockwell Group. The Andaz Lounge here will serve as a communal living room, a place where lounge meets library and light-fare bar, enhanced by large windows and plenty of natural light. Guestrooms will feature dark stained oak floors, textured walls, and bleached wood accents, large soaking tubs that open into the bedroom and a customized personal “valet” that incorporates mini-bar, closet, and full-height mirror into one rotating unit.