We must admit to being particularly excited when we were invited a few weeks back to a press conference at the Andaz London Liverpool Street hotel, to interview legendary designer Sir Terence Conran. It was for the launch of the hotel’s stunning new (RED) Suite – a partnership supporting the AIDS charity of the same name founded by Bono.
But Conran + Partners had also just recently given the hotel a swish makeover, revisiting Sir Terence’s previous revitalization in 2000 of the rickety old Great Eastern Hotel – which was its name until it became the inaugural Andaz in 2008. We were indeed absolutely thrilled to be back, as we’d had some rather monumental times at the former GEH; and despite a few pangs of nostalgia, were enthused to take in the hotel’s latest incarnation.
With his unmistakable stylistic stamp visible throughout, Sir Terence himself said of his firm’s new design, “This is the way I like to live.” As it turned out, so did we.
The Andaz, as happens, notably sits at the border between The City and Shoreditch – meaning its public spaces are uniquely replete with bankers and stylistas alike. Here’s what we loved about the hotel, and its unique surrounds.
Considering the claustrophobic proportions of the rooms of most trendy London hotels, the rather generous space here does not go unappreciated. Some have murals reflecting the local street art scene, and newer ones on the higher floors have cool porthole windows with dramatic views across the East London rooftops. Bathrooms are fabulous.
Precisely the sort of spot we gravitate to for a buzzy lunchtime stop, the hotel’s cool brasserie flaunts a stylish, high-energy room, and a menu of trend-aware dishes like roasted baby beets, leek & cheddar risotto and grilled tuna with quinoa. The bar is aces for early evening classic cocktails.
Seriously, the Andaz has its own Masonic Temple. Furtively hidden away, it’s not only the current site of actual Mason meetings, but is also used for regular yoga sessions…and Lady Gaga even did a photo shoot here recently. It’s done up in the flamboyant Greek Revival style, so it’s all masculine opulence, with a striking zodiac ceiling. Amazing.
The most sprawling flea market in East London, it draws gawkers and hipsters in equal measure. Make a point to pop in for a to-die-for curry at one of the local houses – they’re all pretty much great.
In late 2017, the exalted British concept shop Browns opened this impressive Shoreditch outpost. Stocking the bleeding edge of men’s and women’s fashions – everything from cult labels Off White and Rejina Pyo to Balenciaga and Yamamoto – it’s like a one stop edification on current international style. Exceedingly “on trend,” there’s even an Immersive Experience Room, for heady meditation sessions.
When the storied Covent Garden celeb-magnet The Ivy took to coming down from its high perch a bit in 2014, the result was this more approachable, if still quite fabulous edition of itself. Just a short walk from the Andaz, the Ivy City Garden has the breezy chic of a Provençal bistro, with a people-watching breakfast scene, and a menu that runs the gamut from duck liver pâté to beef wellington to afternoon tea. Super cute staff is a bonus.
If you’d prefer a guide, the Go East Walking Art Tour takes you to key destinations in the area, including notable street art. But for independent gallery hoppers, make a point to pop in to the likes of Kate McGarry, Hoxton Arches, Parasol Unit, Pure Evil Gallery (for something a little cheekier), and the legendary Whitechapel Gallery.
With a distinctly duel personality, the Andaz’s newest hotspot Rake’s (a reference to the Hogarth famous triptych A Rake’s Progress) is a stylish casual cafe – albeit one with a sort of gazebo covered in hanging vines – serving chicken liver pâté, devon crab tagliatelle, and homemade ice cream. In the evenings, the Parlour room becomes one of the sexiest spots in the neighborhood, with DJs manning the opulent space, and a cool wait staff serving provocative signature cocktails like The Orgy and The Mad House.
This is a distinctly intimate and refined spot in the Andaz for a well-chosen glass of vino (from a Euro-leaning list) by day, and a sophisticated tipple by night- with its neo-classical archways and theatrical chandeliers.
Our new fave Shoreditch restaurant is actually hipping up Irish cuisine, if you can imagine. It presents a starkly minimalist menu – meaning no pompously elaborate descriptions of the dishes, something we have come to appreciate in the age of pretentiously over-elaborate chefs. And the smoked eel croquettes, beef tartare and woodfire chicken are all life-altering. Interiors have a sort of sleek woodsiness about them – we even noticed a pile of firewood. Which is not as hipster as it sounds.