Worn Out on Wall Street: A Review of the Andaz Wall Street in New York City
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Room rates in New York City were pretty fantastic across the board this past January, which meant lots of opportunities to check out both new hotels and those that I’ve been meaning to stay at for years. During one quick visit, I settled on the Andaz Wall Street so I could check in on how one of the first Andaz properties in the world was looking after nearly a decade of welcoming guests.
My stay was for two nights over a weekend at the end of January. During that time, room rates started at $140 per night.
Award nights were also available for 25,000 points or 12,500 points plus $78.
Given how low the room rates were, though, I decided just to book a paid rate. I have the old Hyatt Visa from Chase, so I have Discoverist status and would earn 5.5x World of Hyatt points per dollar on my stay. Normally, I would have paid with my Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the travel purchase. Since I was visiting for work, though, I used my Chase Ink Business Preferred, because that card also earns 3x points per dollar on travel for the first $150,000 of annual spend.
Imagine the sticker shock I felt when the room I thought I would get for $280 plus taxes and fees actually came out to $384! The jump was over $100, thanks to New York’s high city and state taxes, but moreso because of a $25 daily destination fee. More and more hotels in New York City seem to be adding this fee to room rates as an equivalent to an urban-resort fee that supposedly gets you extra amenities.
The inclusions vary by hotel, but at the Andaz Wall Street, they were: a $10 daily credit at Andaz Kitchen & Bar; two tickets for a sightseeing cruise; a 20% discount on standard admission and 10% off priority admission at the World Trade Center observatory; a 20% discount on Wall Street walking tours; discounted fitness classes at at a nearby barre studio; a 15% discount at Bluestone Lane Coffee Shop; and a VIP Shopping Passport at Westfield Mall at the Oculus.
The only one of these that seemed remotely useful to me was the $10 daily food credit, and that didn’t even account for half the value of the destination fee. This hotel in particular needs to rethink what it includes for such a pricey add-on.
I found the hotel at the edge of Manhattan’s Financial District, at the corner of Wall Street and Water Street. It was a five-minute walk to South Street Seaport and took about 10 minutes to get to the 9/11 Memorial. During the weekdays, this area was bustling with people coming to and from work. Over the weekend, however, it was deserted.
The exterior of the building in which the Andaz was located was not remarkable, and it shared the edifice with residential units.
I arrived at the hotel at 2:30pm and was promptly greeted by the three hosts hanging out in the reception area. Unlike other Andaz properties, where there are no formal reception desks, this one had three standing stations down at one end of the lobby.
A friendly young woman helped me, taking down my details and thanking me for my Discoverist status. She said that my room was ready and that they had been able to upgrade me to a king-bed deluxe room, which was 450 square feet versus the 345 square feet of the room I’d originally booked, and also had a bathtub. She did note that it was close to the elevators, which I have on my profile to avoid, but that it was a much nicer room and that I’d enjoy the view. I figured I’d be able to see some interesting buildings or the water, but that was not the case, as you’ll see.
She explained that the main restaurant, Andaz Kitchen & Bar, was around the corner and up a short flight of stairs. The gym was downstairs on the concourse level. She also reminded me that snacks and nonalcoholic minibar items were free at Andaz, as was the Wi-Fi.
Then she pointed out the corner behind her where coffee and tea were available throughout the day. The staff put out miniature muffins in the morning and chocolate-chip cookies later in the day. They also served complimentary wine during a happy hour from 6pm to 7pm, though I skipped it both days.
My room was on the 11th floor. The hallway was dark and quiet with a mostly gray palette, except for one accent wall that was painted red.
Entering the room, I found the bath facilities immediately inside, with the main section of the room beyond.
To the left was the single sink with a lot of counter space and a small box of amenities like Q-tips and facial wipes.
The space was open to the rest of the room, so no privacy there.
The WC with the toilet was just next to this, though it had a closing door.
Across the entryway, the shower and bath were combined into a single suite with a glass door.
I thought the black, stone tiling on the walls and floor gave it a sophisticated look. There was a single shower head.
The bath was a wide, rectangular soaking tub with a window that looked out to the bedroom.
There were no shutters, blinds or anything else to provide privacy, so if you come here, make sure you’re staying with someone you know well. The bath amenities were C.O. Bigelow lavender-peppermint formula, which smelled nice and clean without being overwhelming.
Walking further into the main room, I was immediately struck by this enormous furniture fixture.
On one side was a full-length mirror. Another held a shallow closet. The third side just had a peg where I hung up my overcoat. The final side held part of the minibar. Oh, and it rotated, so you could access whatever side you wanted from several directions. I thought it was a fun, interesting touch, but also a bit annoying when I kept slamming the closet doors into the back wall.
The minibar side of it was just a shelf, really. It held glasses, spirits and the complimentary snacks … which amounted to a Kashi trail-mix bar and a 100-calorie chocolate-espresso bar. Compared to the snacks offered at other Andaz properties I’ve visited recently, including Scottsdale and Napa, this selection felt pretty pathetic. The room was also supposed to have a coffeemaker, per the website, but there was none to be found.
The rest of the minibar was in a cupboard in the long counter that functioned as a desk on one side and a pared-down vanity on the other with rolling wooden stools with leather, cushioned tops and a regular chair.
The double-duty desk/vanity was another interesting touch but also one that necessitated about three feet of wasted space between it and the wall on one side. That space could've been used for, say, a stand for luggage, since the closet was so small.
On the wall behind it was a brushed-metal sheet with a map of the eastern US and a quote by the author Thomas Hardy.
The power panel embedded in the desk seemed like it had been overused, so my plugs kept falling out of it.
The room’s 42-inch TV was perched on one side of the desk.
The refrigerator was hidden in a cupboard on the side of the desk. It contained sparkling and still water, soda, juice, beer and white wine.
The Hyatt Grand king bed was along the opposite wall. It was dressed simply, with white linens and pillows of varying softness.
The backboard consisted of two square leather panels, while the wall behind it had this kind of pearlescent wallpaper that looked like a mix between sails and snakeskin. Between the bed and the wall, there was a puffy gray armchair that was not very comfortable, and a floor lamp.
On the side of the bed closest to the bathroom, there were controls for the room lights and the window blackout shades, as well as the climate controls.
The room’s ceilings were 12 feet, so the windows that made up one entire wall were huge and let in a good amount of light. A narrow bench ran along them, though the cushion looked downright dingy and like it had not been cleaned in a while, so I did not sit there.
The windows had automated blackout shades, as I mentioned, but also these diaphanous sheer curtains to provide some privacy from the people living in the building across the street. So much for that view the check-in host had mentioned.
Because of the building orientation and the fact that those sheers were always down, the room only enjoyed a fraction of the natural light it could have.
The free Wi-Fi worked well on all my devices.
I appreciated several things about the room, including its size, the huge windows and the spacious shower suites. On the downside, the room really showed its wear and tear after a decade in use. One whole chunk of the desk was ripped off, and there were scuff marks and worn edges everywhere. It's definitely time to refresh the accommodations.
Food and Beverage
The hotel’s only restaurant was the Andaz Kitchen & Bar, up a short flight of stairs from the main lobby. I believe this is where the original restaurant, Wall & Water, was, followed by Dina Rata. Now it seems Hyatt has installed a generic concept just to have basic service for guests.
It was actually not even open all day, as you might expect. Rather, there were service breaks from 10:30am to 11:30am and from 2pm to 4pm. Apart from breakfast, though, it was completely empty whenever I passed through.
The breakfast menu included a buffet for $28, baked goods and specialties like lamb merguez shakshuka, steel-cut oatmeal and salmon eggs Benedict, which ranged from $12 to $23. The lunch menu included salads, pastas and sandwiches, while dinner was much the same, just with heavier plates, like pork sliders and seared salmon.
I did not read the terms and conditions of the destination fee clearly, and figured since room service was catered by Andaz Kitchen & Bar, orders would count toward my $10 daily credit. On the second morning of my stay, I ordered the eggs with fruit, toast and bacon, which came to $27. Upon checkout, I noticed the charge and asked about it. The host checking me out was kind enough to apply my daily food-and-beverage credit to the room-service charge, even though it technically should not have applied.
The hotel used to have another restaurant on the second floor, but it seemed to be closed for now. It also opens a beer garden from April through October, Tuesday through Friday from 4pm to 7:30pm, weather permitting.
The hotel’s other main amenities included meeting rooms and the fitness center down on the concourse level. I never saw anyone else there. The gym was not big, but the equipment was well-maintained, with one room of cardio equipment.
There was also another with a few weight machines and free weights.
There was a door down there labeled “Spa,” but when I asked about it, I was told it was not currently in service.
For folks who have business in Lower Manhattan, the Andaz Wall Street is a solid choice, thanks to its proximity to Wall Street and some of Downtown’s tourist sights, including the South Street Seaport and access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The staff were all very friendly and engaging, and I loved being able to grab a coffee or tea whenever I passed through the lobby. The restaurant was about as interesting as you’d expect, and I’m curious whether they will put another new restaurant in the unused space up on the second floor.
I thought my room was spacious and comfortable, but would like more privacy if sharing the space with another person. The main drawback was just how old and tired the furnishings were. It is definitely time for a redecoration of the guest rooms, as well as an update of the in-room technology. This could be a premier business destination for New York if Hyatt invested in bringing it up to date. Until it does (and hopefully finds more interesting amenities to include in its destination fee), I probably won’t stay there again.
All photos by the author for The Points Guy