French savoir-faire behind the success of the first ANDAZ in Europe

Arnaud de Saint-Exupery, General Manager of ANDAZ Liverpool Street, the first ANDAZ Hotel in Europe speaks to CPP-LUXURY.COM about the success of HYATT’s premium contemporary and highly innovative brand.

Andaz London is housed in a heritage building. How has Hyatt instilled the Andaz DNA into the property?

Andaz Liverpool Street is part of a grade II listed building. Andaz as a brand is about delivering sophistication and simplicity in a barrier free environment and it encourages a personal and interactive relationship between guests and our employees. This can be seen through the changes made architecturally. For example, the check-in desk in the Lounge (lobby) was removed to allow more interaction between guest and staff. Unique to the Andaz brand, the Andaz Studio is another area where the concept has been put into action. It is a contemporary private dining room has an open plan kitchen where guests can interact with the chefs.

Liverpool street, the location of the Andaz is one of London’s hot spots, the area having evolved tremendously in the past years. Tell us more about the advantages of the location for the Andaz. Are there any disadvantages?

The location is indeed very unique. The brand is about authenticity and this part of the city is the most authentic part of London. It has iconic sites on its doorstep such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Tower of London. Moreover, the location of the hotel is ideal as we benefit from the best of both worlds by being on the limit of the City of London (financial district) and the vibrant area of Shoreditch and Hoxton. The hotel is also located adjacent to Liverpool Street station which has direct connection to the west end (15 minutes on the tube to Oxford Circus) but also further to the East to the Olympic park and Westfield Stratford City (Europe’s largest shopping mall). I don’t think enough people realise how close we are to everything and that the location is actually very central.

Andaz Liverpool Street is probably the 5 star hotel in London with the most complex of F&B, from a sushi bar, a fine dining restaurant to a pub. To what extent Andaz’s F&B caters to locals versus hotel guests?

All five of our restaurants and bars have their own identity and direct access from the street and most of our clientele using our restaurants and bars are non-resident guests. This provides a  “non-traditional hotel restaurant atmosphere” and gives our guest a unique opportunity to feel the vibe of the city.

Your team is made of various nationalities. What is the secret behind the very efficient and welcoming service provided by your hosts?

Our employees here at Andaz Liverpool Street are recruited more for their personality than anything else. All our Andaz Hosts provide the same warm welcome to each of our guests. It’s all about being personal and interactive with the guest and showing them we care about them. The fact Andaz has no check-in desk reduce the barriers between guests and staff therefore allow more interaction and complicity with the guest.

Apart from the host service, which replaces the traditional reception and concierge, which other innovations have you introduced already at the Andaz Liverpool Street? Are you planning to introduce any such innovations in the future?

Andaz being about personal and interaction through a barrier free environment, we constantly listen to our guests expectations when it comes to hospitality which leads us to trying news ideas, services, initiatives time to time. There isn’t any near future plans for further innovations at the moment but creativity is definitely part of the Andaz DNA so we are constantly switched on!

What is the profile of your most loyal consumer?

The profile of our guests is a mix of business, leisure and more and more Bleisure individuals, looking for authentic hospitality as well as simplicity. In that respect, from the beginning we decided to provide all our guests with the following complimentary amenities included in the rate: tea and coffee in the Lounge, wine & canapes in the evening in the Lounge, wifi, a non-alcoholic minibar (water, juices and snacks) and local landline phone calls. This has been innovative in the hotel industry and continues to generate loyalty with our guests.

Apart from your F&B, you engage closely with the local community. Tell us more about your themed events.

Being part of the local community is a key element of the Andaz brand. To start with, each Andaz hotel is unique and is true to its local environment. We support the local community through the arts, design, fashion and culture. Most recent projects include the Vintage pop-up shop we hosted in our secret Masonic Temple last weekend, in partnership with Leresse Atkinson, founder of Girl.Stole.Vintage (press release attached).

Another project dating from late last year and which we will carry on this year is our involvement in the London Design Festival. Last year, the hotel was the East End hub for the festival and was home to a number of installations from the latest wallpaper collection by Cole & Son (well established wallpaper company and appointed by the Queen), a bespoke installation in our Rotunda designed for Andaz Liverpool Street by Rowan Mersh from RCA and sponsored by Veuve Clicquot, a series of Secret Sensory Suppers in our Masonic Temple in partnership with FranklinTill, Bompas & Parr and Silent Studio, with all creatives based in East London or not very far away from it. (press release  also attached)

Last year, we also launched the Andaz Salon which is a series of events taking place a each Andaz hotel where a local expert talks about a subject matters and to which we invite guests but also people from our neighbourhood. In December last year, we had an advent table designed for Andaz Liverpool on display in our Lounge and we hosted an Andaz Salon with an in conversation with the designer where he explained where his inspiration came from and how he built the table. (press release attached about the Andaz Salon).

How has Andaz Liverpool street performed in the past three years and what are your expectations for the upcoming Olympics?

Like every hotel in London and in the world, Andaz had to adapt to the economical and financial crisis that we have been living in for the last few years but thanks to our concept and the quality of our service, we have kept growing our clientele base and have confidence the Olympics will bring additional hype to our business.

The Andaz Liverpool Street is rated as a five star hotel. How do you position your hotel? – luxury, upmarket, premium etc

Andaz is about delivering high end standards with sophistication and simplicity. Andaz is the boutique and lifestyle brand of Hyatt with Park Hyatt being the luxury brand of Hyatt.

Do you have plans for future Andaz hotels in London?

Development is an on-going focus in our company. The first property to open was Andaz Liverpool Street in London and since then we have had Andaz properties opening in New York, San Diego, West Hollywood, Shanghai. With another three hotels due to open in Amsterdam, Napa (California, USA), and Savannah (Georgia, USA), the brand continues to expand into interesting neighbourhoods where guests have the opportunity for creative inspiration andlocals are celebrated.