The newest Andaz hotel, one I’ve been waiting for opening for a while now, finally opened its doors on December 31, 2016. I had been wanting to do a stay at the inaugural night, but given I was all the way away in Australia, that did not seem like a possibility anymore. So I waited for the next opportunity to get over to Delhi, and it presented itself to us in February 2017. It was important to get in through February, given that Shipra was still going to be a top-tier elite with Hyatt, i.e., a Diamond Guest, and that would have allowed us to assess the doors it opens up.
The concept of the Andaz hotels is to be locally inspired, and usually, boutique. Given that Andaz is borrowed from the Urdu language and means an expression of personal style. Our first Andaz stay was at the Andaz West Hollywood over a year ago, and loved it. So, I really wanted to try out the one that was opening in my own backyard in Delhi.
The Andaz Delhi had a welcome offer ongoing, which works at INR 8888 for the first guest, plus taxes. With two guests, it became INR 9888 plus taxes. The promotion, called Love Delhi Opening offer, included, daily buffet breakfast for two, two way airport transfers, 24-hours check-in/check-out, minibar (non-alcoholic), wi-fi and unlimited local calling. Once we were booked up, which was a night before the travel, we applied a Diamond Suite Upgrade as well to upgrade to the suites. This was confirmed by the Hyatt helpline without any problem.
Shipra & I were scheduled for a very short stay at the hotel, because we were tagging this along with our trip to Dehradun and Mussoorie. We arrived on Air India, and once we were out of the airport, had a representative of the Andaz Delhi waiting for us. The car that drove in to pick us up, was this beautiful Hindustan Motors Ambassador, remodelled from the inside to give it the quirky Delhi feel. While the car company just shut down production of these cars, the hotel has a few of these Ambassadors in their fleet at the moment as their go to car for the hotel, signifying Delhi.
The hotel is located in the Delhi Airport Aerocity complex, and was just about 5 minutes away from Delhi Airport’s Terminal 3. So, after a quick chat along the way, we arrived at the hotel and pulled into the driveway.
Andaz has moved on from the concept of a reception, to offer their guests a host experience. The Andaz Host looks after you at the reception, checks you in, and then also helps you with your bags and brings you to your room. There is no big stiff reception area stuck to a wall, but just some open counters where the hosts can log in to check you in. Shared with a library where you can actually pick a book and read.
The conversation with the host was very short one albeit, and he was just interested in receiving a credit card for authorization and our identity documentation. No interest whatsoever in checking how our day was going et al. This was a weekday afternoon, and we were the only guests checking in, so it was not like he was very busy at the moment. The only question he remembered to ask was if we wanted the points amenity or a local F&B amenity. We stuck to receiving the 1000 points.
The Andaz View King Room
We were going into this blind, and our host had not told us we were heading to a regular room. I had a very amusing look on my face when I walked in and saw that we were in a room, rather than a suite. I wasn’t sure if I was amused or pissed actually, or if this was a joke, but as soon as we shut the door behind us, I called the front office, and they confirmed this wasn’t a joke and we were booked into a room. They said, while we were booked into a base category room, they had upgraded us to a View room as a Diamond guest. I asked them what happened to the Suite, and they did not have a convincing response. The whole situation, as it played out, was described here.
Anyhow, this gave us a chance to have a look at the View rooms, and color me impressed with them the first time around. With a king bed in the centre of the room, the view room had a long daybed lining up with the wall, along with a nice view of the Delhi Airport apron. I was in #avgeek heaven actually. A long table in front of the daybed could be used for work or in-room dining, as you like it.
The bathrooms had a sliding door separation, as is the norm with most hotels designed in today’s era. The makeup/vanity mirror doubled up inside the sliding door of the bathroom.
Each room had a capsule coffee dispenser. I’d assume that to be a base level thing to do, and Andaz does come across rightly on this. This is no Nespresso, but does the job. Water was already placed, a couple of bottles in the room. A brand called Veen, which is spring water sourced from Bhutan. Colour me wondering, because in terms of local, I see most hotels use Mulshi or Himalayan, which are both local Indian. Of course we are happy to support our neighbors
The Minibar had copperware, in line with the belief that water in contact with copper actually helps the body. However, I was disappointed that the glasses were not cleaned up before putting them in the minibar.
In any Andaz hotel around the world, the minibar is free. Actually this includes only the non-alcoholic beverages selection and snacks. At the Andaz Delhi, the non-alco beverages included some Coke products along with some buttermilk and Patanjali products including snackbars.
I do have a bone to pick here, for the choice of Patanjali as a snack provider. I know they set out with a noble intention to provide locally inspired goods, but Patanjali over Britannia or HUL products is a controversial choice in my view, given that there is enough discussion out there about how Patanjali products are not the safest and are under regulatory scanner for not delivering what they promise (check here). I’d be actually running for cover if they told me they use Patanjali for cooking in their kitchens.
While we were waiting for a resolution to the Room versus Suite issue, I was beginning to lose patience. What should have actually taken ten minutes and a new key, had no resolution an hour later. I called back and they continued to ask ten minutes more. The thing is, I wasn’t asking for something that was a whim, but a confirmed suite. I had a 20-hour stay in Delhi, and a meeting to make it to, and the hotel was now creeping into my work time.
In a bit I had the hotel Director of Rooms at my door. I figured he had come to apologize for the mix-up and brought a new key card along but he was there just to introduce himself. I’ve certainly met hotel crew before, but in the lobby or lounges, and it was a first to have him in the room! Err…
We debated why I should have a suite, and clearly the news had not reached him yet. He told me, that effective March 1, with the World of Hyatt coming in, I could be put in a suite if available, but right now not. I showed him the confirmation, and the note changed to conciliatory. It was another thirty to forty-five minutes before we actually were moved to the right room.
I could understand that this could be a big wide mix-up, and the hotel promised I’d hear back on what exactly happened here, but ten days down the line, nobody wrote back about where the mix-up actually happened. I will write about Suite and the rest of the experience in the next episode.
I actually do love the rooms at Andaz. They were spacious and done up very nicely for a millennial experience. Pricing however, is at the top-end. I have no problem paying the money, but I’d usually expect city centre hotels to charge the price, not those in the vicinity of the airport. But the Andaz is one of those places I’d like to go back to sometime and have a full stay at.