By Ann Castle
History combined with uber-cool style, this was originally The Great Eastern Hotel, which opened in 1884 and was one of London’s first railway hotels, sitting next to Liverpool Street Station. Now, however, Andaz is a five-star gem – named after a Hindi word for personal style – and comes under the Hyatt umbrella.
We were warmly greeted in the minimalist foyer with an offer of a glass of wine and canapés, a delight provided between the hours of 5pm and 8pm, when most guests check in. Tea and coffee is also available in the foyer throughout the day on a self-service basis. With 267 rooms including 14 suites to choose from, we recommend opting for one of the four ‘Rooms with A View’ due to the original artworks painted directly on one wall by different young East London artists. Our particular favourite is the ‘The Pearly Room’ showing a pearly king and queen in traditional garb.
Andaz is located in the heart of the city, bordering Shoreditch, so there is lots to see and do during your stay. However, just to wander around the hotel is a sight-seeing tour in its own right, taking you on a trip through time. There’s the courtyard atrium with break-out area and billiard table; the Victorian staircase with elegant wrought-iron balustrade leading to the original, majestic marble staircase; the labyrinth of doors and corridors through which is a tucked away old Masonic lodge and an amazing small hall of marble, gold-inlaid rich dark wood and a beautifully painted ceiling, now one of 14 meeting rooms used for private parties or conferences.
And so to dinner. With a choice of four restaurants, we opted for The Eastway Brasserie. And to start proceedings we entered into the spirit by sampling the special Great Fire of London Cocktails, aptly named ‘fire fighter’ and ‘smoked G&T’. The theatre of the open kitchen set the scene, with a good and varied selection on offer on the menu. I chose the dressed Cornish crab with sweetcorn fritters, avocado and cherry tomatoes and my companion decided upon the octopus salad; both were beautifully presented and big on flavour. The charcuterie platter to share also looked very tempting as it passed us on its way to a neighbouring table. Definitely one to order on our next visit. Mains were sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce, cooked exactly as asked, and lamb shoulder ragout on pappardelle with shaved Parmesan. Both were divine and washed down with a superb Argentinian Malbec. The manager asked if we trusted her to serve a selection of desserts. Of course we did, as by now we were putty in her hands. We were not disappointed: four different delights were beautifully arranged on a slate platter served with two glasses of mandarin pudding wine, heaven for those with a sweet tooth.
Pleasantly full, we headed to yet another venue within the hotel, The Catch Bar and Lounge, for a naughty little night-time tipple and where a DJ played a chilled set to the Friday night crowd.
With so many venues within the hotel to choose from, the Andaz still manages to maintain its intimacy. Staffed with warm and friendly people, who bend over backwards to help their guests, you will feel at ease from the moment you arrive until your lamentable departure.
Doubles from £323.
40 Liverpool Street, EC2M 7QN.