The Andaz free minibar is here to stay, Hyatt tells TPG
This post has been updated with new information from Hyatt. It was originally published on Dec. 8, 2022.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Hyatt's Andaz brand was making changes to one of its most beloved perks: its complimentary minibars stocked with nonalcoholic beverages and local snacks.
A guest at Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows was the first to notice the change and shared in a post on FlyerTalk (first reported by View From the Wing), that the only complimentary item offered in the room was bottled water — a departure from the local snacks, sodas and other goodies usually offered for free.
"We are currently working to refresh the Andaz minibar experience to better suit the needs of today’s travelers," Hyatt said in a statement to VFTW published Tuesday. "During this interim period, properties can determine what minibar selections are offered on a complimentary basis."
This vague statement left us with questions about the future of free items altogether and seemed in stark contrast to Andaz's own website which reads, “Our complimentary minibar invites guests to taste local treats and nonalcoholic beverages.”
On Wednesday, TPG reached out to Hyatt for further clarification on Andaz's current and previous brand standards regarding the complimentary minibar items to get a better understanding of the changes and what guests should expect moving forward. Despite multiple follow-ups for more than a day, Hyatt declined to comment.
After we published the original article, Hyatt returned with the following statement:
"As one of the first hospitality brands to deliver such a differentiating guest experience, the Andaz brand is proud to offer complimentary mini bars as a brand standard. Though the specific quantities and items may vary by property, we understand this is an offering guests have come to know, love and expect, and as such, we are pleased to continue to offer it.
While this standard was impacted during the pandemic and hotels have local flexibility within their individual markets, we will be sure that each of our Andaz hotels are living up to this brand standard fully, delivering unique items such as non-alcoholic beverages beyond water and local snacks."
Some travelers may think that paying $4 for a soda or $8 for a bag of chips is trivial, but as we stated previously, travelers are tired of the nickel-and-dime effect that's rippled across the hotel industry during the pandemic — especially at brands where we expect consistency.
For Andaz in particular, guests have always loved entering a room knowing that there's a little treat that won't break the bank waiting by the minibar, like locally baked New York brownies at the Andaz 5th Avenue, fiber-filled Enjambre bars at the Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya in Mexico, Maui-style potato chips at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort in Hawaii or plantain chips and garlic peanuts at the Andaz Bali.
"Looking ahead, as a result of continuing to listen to our guests and members, we are currently working to reimagine the Andaz minibar experience to better suit the needs of today’s travelers and to highlight local purveyors to tailor minibar provisions to reflect both its hotel and destination," Hyatt added in its statement to TPG.
Though we're excited to see what the reimagined product will look like, it's still disappointing to see at least one property cut all complimentary items but water — even if it's just in the interim.
We're glad to hear Hyatt promise to enforce "complimentary mini bars as a brand standard" and that it's doubling down on the product to make it more unique and individualized across properties. However, it's also disappointing that some hotels seem to have completely done away with those little free goodies in the meantime.
As insignificant as it might seem to some, it's oftentimes the most subtle part of a brand's standards that build the most loyal following. Unexpected changes to the things we love most about a hotel or brand can be a reminder that there are a lot of hotels and brands to choose from.
As always, we'll keep you updated on changes across the hotel industry, from massive new hotel projects to the smallest bag of chips.