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Eating All The Free Snacks Our Heart Desires at Andaz 5th Avenue

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  Site Where: 485 5th Avenue [map], New York, NY, United States, 10017
July 7, 2010 at 10:15 AM | by | ()

Hot damn. On its second day in business, we checked into Andaz 5th Avenue to take advantage of its Summer Preview rate. It was also the hottest day in New York City in years. We're talking triple digits. So escaping into a brand new hotel with brand new air-conditioning was not a bad way to spend a Tuesday evening at all.

Check-In: We arrived in the lobby just as our partner was, and the floating Andaz check-in process was already underway. We liked the absence of lines and our host was enthusiastic and friendly. She disappeared after running our card and before bringing us our keys--and didn't explain what the hold-up was--but we were happy to wait on an oversized ottoman.

We were offered water or wine but really just needed to bask in that crisp, cool air-conditioning after being outside. Our host also asked if we were familiar with Andaz and walked us to our room, which was in the North Tower, so required an elevator change on the 2nd floor. (You walk past all the meeting spaces to reach the North Tower elevators. Stay tuned for photos of those soon.)

Room Reaction: For New York, this is big. It feels more spacious than its 322 sq. ft due to the 12-ft ceilings. The room layout reminded us of the room at The Ames in Boston, but while Andaz 5th Ave shares that hotel's minimalist, modern aesthetic, it feels just a bit warmer. It may be the carpet in the bedroom portion of the room. But we like the wooden floorboards in the entryway..

Amenity Madness: You see the mini-bar when you first walk in, and if you know anything about Andaz, you know these goodies are yours for the taking. As long as it's not booze. There are North Fork Potato Chips, a Jacques Torres dark chocolate, a gluten-free energy bar, sodas including Boylans and Fizzy Lizzy drinks, and waters both flat and sparkling.

In the bathroom, the amenities are from C.O. Bigelow and smell yummy.

Internet Connect: Free. Although we did have to sign in with our name and room number each time we turned on our laptop or iPod Touch. The TV's RoomLinx system also provides access to the Internet -- there's a free trial for about 15 minutes and then it prompts you to pay a $15 fee for all-day access to the system, which also includes other entertainment and business features.

What We Liked: The friendly service, the spacious rooms, and of course the amenities we've come to expect and love from Andaz: free WiFi, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. We also love the location -- near Grand Central Terminal and Times Square but not in them. Our room in the North Tower faced the interior rock garden so we slept like babies.

What We Didn't Like: Very little. We wish the bar was open but then there's wine served in the lobby if you want it, and drinks with dinner or from room service. (Thanks to yesterday's commenter who noted that the bar was not ready for the opening. The hotel tells us it will be open in October.)

Bottom Line: We loved the rooms, and the bathrooms are extraordinary. The hotel has friendly staff and it's in a fantastic location that can feel residential despite being right opposite the New York Public Library.

We paid $295 a night + tax (the Summer Preview Rate, available until September 1). For what you get in service and amenities, plus that location, this seems fair. Will we fork out over $400 a night once the rates jump? Hmm, perhaps not. But for tourists with cash to burn, this is a modern oasis in the middle of (a hot, dirty) city.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we reveal more of the hotel's event spaces and restaurant.

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