One of my most memorable birthday presents, courtesy of the boyfriend was a surprise two night stay at Andaz, formerly the Great Eastern Hotel, next to London’s Liverpool Street Station and close to Spitalfields and Brick Lane.
The red brick Victorian facade speaks of traditional railway hotel glamour, yet inside, Andaz is a vast, modern space dedicated to contemporary art, cutting-edge technology and minimalist luxury.
There is no reception desk as such, so staff seat you in the living room and check you in on a cool portable computer while you get comfortable. After coming out of the lifts, you enter an other-worldly ‘atrium’ – an eerily clinical beehive meets the Guggenheim.
Rooms on the new side of the building have windows overlooking this unusual little village, but it’s a welcome retreat from the sounds of the streets and the Shoreditch sirens (those of the police, not the gentlemens clubs)!
Our room was exceptionally large and kitted out with the most sumptuously soft bed, Frette linen, REN toiletries, fluffy bathrobes and an fully-loaded iPod (just ask concierge). The oversized furniture and burnt ochre touches fill the space and give the room a more homely feel.
The bathrooms are also massive and have a clinical but sexy feel, adding to the appealing oddness of the hotel. During our visit, it poured down for two days non-stop, so the furthest we ventured out was to Spitalfields for some vintage shopping and dinner.
Instead of sightseeing, we explored the hotel’s art exhibition and snooped around the hotel like mischievous boarding school kids. Andaz is a real wonderland, with concealed messages and hidden staircases and to make it even more mystical, there is a former Masonic Temple.
One night, after the London rain treat us so badly, we ordered cocktails (£10) from room service. The well-mixed concoctions were served by a sleek zen-like waitress with model look in a black kimono.
Andaz has superior dining options – you can eat sushi at Miyaki, have a pint at the ‘Tudorbethan’ George pub, fine dining at 1901, crustacea and champagne at Catch Champagne Bar and a quick bite at the Eastway brasserie.
Andaz is perfect for design-lovers who appreciate small, unique touches. It’s an intriguing meeting of traditional and contemporary, with a commitment to contemporary art and a whole lot of style!
Highs: iPod deck, luxurious room, good dining options, art exhibitions, attractive decor.
Lows: Very quiet, so little ambiance.
Andaz, 40 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7QN