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We've talked about our favorite and least-favorite W Hotels, the best Kimpton Hotels and the Sofitel Hotels we're most thankful for but now, on the eve of Love Day (which is what our three-year-old calls February 14), it's time to talk about our favorite place to have an Andazm.* For those not in the know, we're talking about Andaz Hotels.
The HotelChatter team has been in just about every Andaz out there, (except for Peninsula Papagayo which just opened in late December), and the general consensus is that Andaz Hotels are awesome. What's not to love? Personalized check-in, free wine hours, complimentary minibar snacks and free WiFi. Each Andaz also has its own distinct design, ensuring that no two Andazes are exactly alike.
Keep reading to see this editor's personal fave Andaz Hotel!
Andaz Wall Street and Andaz 5th Avenue partnered with upstate New York’s Beekman1802 farm to introduce a new in-room amenity line featuring a custom "Fresh Air" fragrance. The line includes a shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, as well as a goat milk facial bar and body bar, made exclusively for Andaz and available in all rooms and suites.
Beekman 1802 was founded in 2007 and is owned and operated by Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, businessmen turned “accidental goat farmers” who in 2012 won the CBS reality show, The Amazing Race. The soap and skin care line is made from only natural ingredients, which means no use of parabens, banned phthalates, petroleum, paraffin, diethanolamine or mineral oil.
We are even more pleased to hear that the products are cruelty-free and made with purified water. Sleek product packaging, too, is 100 % recycled material, so it's safe to say we will feel pretty good about slipping these into our bags next time we stay at a New York Andaz.
[Photo: Andaz Fifth Avenue/Facebook]
Andaz Hotels pride themselves on their connection to the authentic, local experience, so when we heard that they may be opening up far off the beaten track in Aruba, we got pretty excited.
Though it's still very much in the early, unconfirmed rumor stage, we hear a whisper that there may be a new Andaz coming to Isla di Oro in Aruba, a site thick with mangroves where there used to be a restaurant on the water reachable via a pier. From what we can figure out, Isla di Oro is a diving spot, so how they plan to construct a hotel here kinda makes our heads spin. We'll just wait to see if it actually happens. Our source says there will be a decision made in the spring.
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Since 2011, Andaz Hotels has worked with Women for Women International (WfWI) to provide women in war-torn countries with economic opportunities and be positive catalysts for change. Through these efforts, the Andaz Holiday Bazaar was born.
The Andaz Holiday Bazaar is a virtual pop-up shop offering locally inspired, unique gifts with proceeds donated to WfWI. The hotel brand collaborated with its Cultural Insiders from around the globe to curate the bespoke online Holiday Bazaar available through e-retailer, Joyus.
With everything from custom created home décor to one-of-a-kind artwork and artisanal food, here are a couple of our favorites:
The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
Well, now, THIS is different. Andaz Liverpool Street in London just unveiled a giant golden "Santa Gorilla" in their front window, along with a barrel of gold 3D-printed monkeys that cascade down the lobby's rotunda with mistletoe in their hands.
The "Andaz Goes Ape" display was designed by Bobby Patmore from Inspitalfields and Ravensbourne College on behalf of Andaz and the Old Spitalfields shopping market in town.
But the ape theme doesn't just stop at the window display. Each evening in the Andaz lounge, guests can enjoy mini-banana bread loaves, banana chips, monkey nuts and mulled wine. Mini-tasters from the hotel restaurant's Christmas menus will also be on offer including quince chutney, pistachio purée, mulled wine jelly, turkey, stuffing & cranberry terrine and Butternut squash soup with spiced maple syrup.
The hotel has even created two Monkey-themed cocktailspriced at £10 each. “Monkey Business”, made for the ladies, is a fruity blend of Cruzan Rum, Crème de Banane, cranberry juice, apple juice and elderflower cordial. For the men, “Maker’s Monkey” serves up Maker’s Mark, Drambuie, Banana liqueur and dark chocolate liqueur. But of course, these drinks can be interchanged amongst the sexes. (Or so we hope!)
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In case you thought your visit to the new Andaz Peninsula Papagayo would be just a sunny, luxe vacation filled with nothing but gluttonous me time, forget about it. Andaz has painstakingly curated the hotel experience with the help of its team of Cultural Insiders.
Who qualifies as a Cultural Insider? You may ask. Well, the team the hotel has recruited are all people at the top of their industries of art, music and surf. First up there's twin brothers, Alex and Mike Faherty of the Faherty Brand clothing label who will together take the position of Cultural Insider: Surf. The Fahertys will provide guests with their own ‘How to Surf Costa Rica’ guide, created exclusively for the hotel, which will reveal a list of the hottest hidden surf spots in the country. Guests who book the Witches Rock Surf Package, which includes a full day excursion to Witches Rock National Park plus a professional photographer to shoot the ride, will also receive Faherty Brand board shorts or bikini.
A long, long time ago we wondered if a Hyatt could be coming to South Beach? Well guess what? Yes, Hyatt will finally be strapping on their roller blades to go cruising down Ocean Drive. Ok, well maybe not quite Ocean Drive but close.
According to South Florida Business Journal, the property will open at 1600 Collins Ave. It will be a small hotel with only 105 rooms, an outdoor pool, fitness center and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. And we're guessing some muy caliente F&B options too.
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Our "Hottest Hotel Chef in the World" contest was a hit with the battle for the ultimate golden spoon fierce between eventual final winner Antonio Minichiello and runner up (by eight votes!) Executive Chef Chad Minton of the Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue.
We thought it fair to share a couple of the tattooed-one's gems with you, as he was a great sport about the whole competition--and quite frankly, his fan club was a passionate bunch, often (illegally!) voting quadruple times for the skateboarding, freestlyin' kitchen master who rides a fixed-gear bike to work every day.
So, we tossed him a few questions and were delighted with his answers. We hope the Minton Minions (ha!) will be, too.
HotelChatter: If you would have won the competition, who would you have called first?
Chef Chad Minton: Definitely someone at Ford Modeling.
HC: Have you ever been called a “Hot Chef” before? What does it mean to you?
CM: I have not and now that I am so hot, I need to take a page from another famously hot New Yorker, Spiderman. “With great power comes great responsibility”. This more true now than ever. I need to be aware of this. I pledge to only use my “hotness” for the good of mankind.
HC: Did you read the comments people said about you? What was your favorite?
CM: I can’t believe what an amazing response there was. I want to sincerely thank everyone that took the time to log on and vote for me. So many hilarious comments and creative user names. “I saw him carving the lamb at a halal truck with a katana.” and “Chef Chad is soo hot, they had to re-calibrate all the fire detectors in the kitchen.” Plus, a poster said, “one time he made me soup, for free!!!”. Those were all standouts for me.
HC: Ok, quell our curiosity...What does this nickname Chaddah mean?
CM: I have no idea! I think some people were just having fun with my name, but I've never been called that.
More on Chef Minton after the break!
We can’t help but notice hotel employees are looking downright dapper these days. Seems like those sterile suit-and-tie numbers of yesteryear are being replaced with ensembles so enviable, we want to score them ourselves. (Just witness our Lacroix love at Sofitel's So Bangkok).
Known for working with New York City artisans in an array of capacities, the Andaz's latest collaboration is with American fashion designer Richard Chai. The CFDA award winner has worked with Marc Jacobs, Geoffrey Beene, Donna Karan and Lanvin. In 2008 his diffusion line with Target sold out within days and Blake Lively, Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker are fans of his work.
Chai has recently created a collection of new uniforms for the Andaz' hotel hosts. The eight simple, but sophisticated pieces were designed to replicate the property’s philosophy of attentive, yet uncomplicated service, and consist of a blue, navy, and black palette. Each host has been fitted with customized Chai pieces to ensure a casual, but tailored look.
Talk about haute hotel couture!
[Photo: Andaz Hotels]
Here are a few renderings of the property which sits on the Papagayo Gulf, along the Bay of Culebra. The Andaz will be a part of a 2,223-acre master planned development and will have 153 guest rooms (21 of these will be suites), three themed restaurants, a marina bar (which overlooks the 180-slip Marina Papagayo), ocean activities, two pools, a private beach and a spa and fitness center. Guests will also have access to the resort activities of Peninsula Papagayo, which includes an 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course and sport fishing.
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You may not be able to tell from this laid-back photo, but chef Masaharu Morimoto really is hard at work preparing for the opening of his second Hawaiian restaurant Morimoto Maui, now scheduled for October at the Andaz Maui at Wailea.
When we visited the resort for its grand opening on September 1st, we'd hoped to get a sneak peak at the restaurant too, but we were shut down on all fronts. In fact, the teak wood and black-stone tile restaurant is currently hidden behind a huge tent that's been lovingly called "Cirque du Sushi".
Morimoto did allow for a candid shot and we gotta say, he looks super cool outside the chefs whites, right?
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..this little guy! We've never seen such a cool looking kid decked out in the finest resort wear. The boy was one of the Andaz Maui at Wailea first guests (with his family, of course) when the hip hotel opened on September 1st. Check out our first look here.
Although the Andaz isn't your typical family resort--you won't find water slides, game rooms or a kid's club, they do support the area's local youth and have adopted the nearby Kihei Elementary School.
Part of the corporation's responsibility program, Hyatt Thrive, the hotel has already started volunteer work at the school, developed a monthly rewards program, and even installed a new refrigerator in the school’s faculty lounge.
The hotel's goal is to help strengthen education at the school and personal advancement within the local community. That's part of the Hawaii's ohana (family) spirit, and one of the reasons we love the islands so much.
[Photo: Trevor Durham/Andaz Maui at Wailea]