There are so many different hotel choices when visiting New York City. Each hotel, just like each neighborhood, offers visitors a different experience and flavor of New York. This past week I was so lucky to stay at the Andaz 5th Avenue, a concept by Hyatt. Andaz hotels look to create a more intimate, sophisticated experience using local cuisine and the social scene of the local area. Andaz actually means “personal style” in Hindi. This hotel has major style of its own but also pays attention to each individual guest with incredible service.
Located on 41st Street and 5th Avenue, the Andaz 5th provides stylish accommodations, fabulous amenities, a delicious restaurant and bar and incredibly cool art. Andaz 5th offers one other priceless amenity: a prime midtown location near countless New York landmarks including Bryant Park, The New York Public Library Main Branch, the shops of 5th Avenue, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center to name a few. I absolutely fell in love with this oasis in the heart of the city.
This Tony Chi designed boutique hotel was inspired by the culture of New York. It combines the vibe of fifth avenue and its shopping with the vibe of New York’s art galleries. This thread is evident throughout every part of the building. Prior to being a hotel, the building actually housed clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger’s warehouse. The 184 rooms (with 54 suites) reflect this industrial look in both its architecture and décor creating a hip yet comfortable feeling. I loved my room with its 12 feet ceiling; simple, sleek furniture; modern, warm bathroom; and, floor to ceiling windows.
It was my view through these windows, however, that took my breath away. While I love art and travel, my other passion is books. I am a voracious reader so the enormous New York City Public Library is like heaven to me! My room was located on the third floor. Not only was my view fantastic, it was also incredibly quiet with triple paned windows. During my stay, we had an amazing tour of the library but more on that in another post.
After relaxing in the room for a bit, several friends from Tzell Travel and the hotel and I met in one of the most incredible suites on the 11th floor for a special treat. To be honest, just being in the room and taking in the astounding views was a treat. While the 11th floor doesn’t sound so high, the views were some of the most spectacular views of New York City I've ever seen. The location near the library allows for this since the library is only about 4 stories tall. This 2-bedroom suite also had the most amazing outdoor terrace with tables and big, comfy lounge chairs. Standing on the terrace looking west provided views of the library, Bryant Park, and even parts of Time Square. This is the perfect spot to watch the ball drop on New Year's! The southern views looked straight down 5th Avenue to the Empire State building and even the Freedom Tower. Stunning!!! As if the views and suite weren’t enough, the Andaz partner, Nomi, arrived in the suite to give us a beauty treatment with make-up and hair. Nomi provides beauty services to guests in their rooms. If you stay at the Andaz 5th for 3 nights or more, one beauty service is complimentary. The make-up artist and stylists were phenomenal. Nomi did an amazing job of making us very glamorous. We were ready to head to dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, The Shop.
Each dining option- The Shop, The Bar and even the private party spaces- provides the concept of the open kitchen (The party spaces are so cool; I’d love to throw a party here!) The Shop serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It offers food based on seasonal ingredients from various local New York farms and stores prepared in an open kitchen. My dinner was delicious- with the Brussel Sprout flatbread, Chicken Schnitzel, and a delicious dessert of crème brulee and warm chocolate brownie. The ambience and menu of The Shop reflects the attitude of the hotel- supporting the local community while presenting a refined yet relaxed atmosphere.
A must to visit while at the Andaz 5th is The Bar Downstairs. While the bar was closed the night that I was there (due to the filming of a scene from the hit T.V. show, Quantico) we were able to take a quick peek in. I cannot wait to go back for a cocktail! The Bar is based on the idea of the underground speakeasies during Prohibition time. Just entering The Bar gives off the feeling of stepping back in time. The dark brick lined stairs and hall lead to a very nondescript door with a golden sculpture of a rat sitting outside of it. During Prohibition, patrons would know alcohol was being served by the presence of this sculpture. The Bar features communal tables, a large open bar where guest can sit right next to the bartenders as they create premium drinks or serve Latin inspired tapas! NO detail is overlooked in this space. From my few minutes of visiting The Bar, I can’t wait to go back and sample the food and drinks in this discreet, elegant space. It's not a shock that is was voted one of the "Top 3" Best Hotel Bars in Uptown New York City!
While the Andaz 5th embraces the local culinary scene, it also is a big supporter of local artists. The door on the first floor at the top of the stairs to The Bar is the perfect example. The art on this door (both inside and out) rotates artists throughout the year. The hotel debuted the current door in October, 2017. It is hard to miss this bright, vivid work by notable graffiti artist, King Saladeen. The artist, Raheen Saladeen Johnson grew up in Philadelphia loving art but excelling at basketball. Unable to focus on both, he spent his youth and part of high school playing AAU basketball. When he was 15, however, he was in a car accident ending his basketball career. Fortunately for art lovers, after a stint designing clothes, he turned his attention to creating art. His work has appeared in many places notably Art Basel in Miami, tons of galleries, and recently curating the Neiman Marcus Holiday windows. I loved the door! King Saladeen pays homage (just as the Andaz 5th does) to the local area by including into his work logos and quotes referring to the stores of Fifth Avenue. Combined with the bright, bold colors and lines, the work is just phenomenal.
The hotel continued its support of local artists by commissioning murals in the hallways on each floor. Different artists were given a floor to create their own mural. The results are stunning. My favorite was definitely on the 11th floor; the hallway mural depicts the front stairs of the Public Library with one of the imposing lions, Fortitude, guarding the entrance. It was a colorful interpretation of the view out of my window. I loved it! In the morning, I decided to work out in the spacious gym. I loved the entry mural that presented the gym rules in a fun, cartoon-like mural. The Andaz 5th’s attention to detail and their mission is evident everywhere.
Due to its location, right across from the main branch of the New York Public Library at Bryant Park, the Andaz 5th has a unique relationship with this incredible institution. The hotel arranged for us to have a private tour of the main branch which was incredible. The hotel features an intimate library of its own. All of the books are loaned from the NY Public Library. This is so unique because the main branch does not allow people to check out books (other than in the children’s section). The library at the hotel includes a set of stairs to a lounge on the second floor. The walls were created to reflect the pages of a book. So cool!
The Andaz 5th is a wonderful choice for any discerning visitor to New York City. The hotel strives to create an experience based on the social scene and local vibe. They have clearly succeeded. Incorporating local seasonal food, local artist, and art reflecting the neighborhood, the Andaz 5th embraces its location and the vibe of 5th Avenue and mid-town Manhattan. The Andaz 5th strives to appeal to the personal style of guests; in doing so the hotel creates a stylish, sophisticated, intimate experience for visitors.