My friends are the first to admit that it takes a lot for me to venture to Midtown. Mostly, it’s because I’m never home — when I am, I like the comfort and familiarity of the Lower East Side. So it was a special occasion when I found myself headed north to visit my out-of-state friend, who was staying at the Andaz Fifth Avenue. The hotel never lost its buzz since it opened last July, and after the trek to the hotel—across from the New York Public Library—I found out why.
Andaz is Hyatt’s boutique option, less cookie-cutter than your average Midtown hotel. The second floor had wall-size bookcases full of works by Magritte (did they know I was coming?) and a gorgeous outdoor space with perfectly placed gravel, which I’m sure I’ve seen as a backdrop in fashion magazines. Everything in my friend’s room was functional, sleek, and aesthetically pleasing, without being in your face. The mini-bar was free, the windows actually opened, and all the tech was activated by touch sensors. But the biggest surprise was the oversize bathrooms. They were huge and equipped with C.O Bigelow toiletries. The shower itself had a separate spout for a foot bath, such a nice touch for travelers who might be spending all day on their feet.
We ventured down to the signature restaurant, the Shop, which was a little stuffy for a cool hotel, but I didn’t pay any mind after that seasonal pumpkin bread pudding arrived. The downstairs bar was upbeat but had a downtown feel, with indie rock music playing and a nice variety of cocktails (apparently Alchemy Consulting helped create the menu). Another cool touch was that there was no front desk. You’re greeted upon check-in, then sort of whisked away to your room. I ended up staying the night (I blame it on the stiff cocktails at the bar) despite my friend losing a potential overnight hook-up. He’ll get over it.