Diverse, eclectic, buzzing and creative are the words I’d use to describe the multi-faceted and historic, yet urban City of London. With its mix of modern star architecture and buildings deeply rooted in history it is surely a neighbourhood worth discovering. At the same time it is a popular hub for multi-nationals and London’s primary financial district, which makes the Andaz London Liverpool Street an ideal address for business and leisure travellers alike.
The Andaz London Liverpool Street, formerly the Great Eastern Hotel, is a 5-star boutique hotel and has got a long-standing history of its own. The hotel first opened its doors in 1884 by the Great Eastern Railway Company to accommodate the increasing number of travelers using this then modern way of transport. The luxury hotel even had its own train track for their deliveries, which included a daily supply of fresh sea water, so that their wealthy customers could enjoy a salt water bath. Sadly the hotel was neglected over the years and eventually closed in 1996. Four years later, after a massive renovation, the hotel reopened its doors revealing its true beauty mixing authentic Victorian architecture with modern eclectic interiors.
In 2006 the hotel once again changed ownership and became the first Andaz hotel, the design brand of Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. The brand Andaz defines itself by ‘personal style’, however, I would take it a step further and describe it as ‘Hyatt standards with a touch of quirkiness, lots of individuality and a true sense of place.’
Only a few steps away from the hustle and bustle of Liverpool Street Station, it feels like stepping back in time into a haven of peace when you enter the hotel. The lobby area consists of a lounge featuring a 10m tall ceiling with a rim displaying tools and parts of railway construction as well as the original logo of the Great Eastern Hotel. One of the walls is covered with rectangular pieces of mirror of varying sizes, arranged to create a geometrical pattern. Each piece is backlit, creating a stunning 3D effect. Quotes and writings from the East End Film Festival and quirky sculptures complete the arty feel of the space.
The 267 rooms and suites feature a minimalist décor mostly held in black, white and red as well as touches of wood. Many rooms boast splendid city views overlooking the roofs of old terraced houses contrasted by modern architecture such as The Gherkin. Some rooms have been personalised by famous London street artists with graffiti walls. The Deluxe rooms offer a generous sitting area, larger than many London flats. Personally, I am not particularly fond of carpets in hotel rooms, but I did appreciate the tall ceiling, the space, the oversized bed and the huge windows. All rooms offer a comfortable bathroom with tub and shower, a black and white colour scheme with old style mosaics, famous London metro tiles and traditional British taps.
Lacking a stomach or two, I ‘only’ got to experience 2 of the 5 outlets that form part of the hotel. The Restaurant 1901 with its gorgeous stained glass dome is located in the original ballroom of the Great Eastern hotel. The grade II listed room also boasts stunning columns and arches emphasized by a dramatic lighting scheme. Whether it is for the sumptuous breakfast buffet, the traditional English afternoon tea or some fine dining, guests are guaranteed a sophisticated dining experience. As for me, I surely felt like a queen sipping on my cappuccino and enjoying my breakfast eggs…
Eastway Brasserie offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed ambiance with bistro style cuisine and décor and an open kitchen. The restaurant is also popular with the local office crowd and I now know why…
The historic George Pub being one of the oldest pubs in the City of London features some impressive oak paneled walls and a remarkable Victorian coffered ceiling. It serves traditional pub food and has got an oversized plasma screen TV welcoming local and visiting sports fans.
The no-fuss décor, straight lines, wooden walls and red accents typical of Japanese interiors set the scene for the Japanese restaurant Miyako.
Catch Champagne Bar & Lounge successfully blends the traditional architecture of the building with contemporary interiors. The elegant space certainly sets the mood to enjoy one of 70 champagnes, whilst listening to the DJ play some tunes.
Then, there is the temple! Yes, you heard right! During the renovations in the year 2000, engineers noticed discrepancies from the original blueprints and much like in a fairy tale, discovered the most magnificent Masonic Temple hidden behind a wall. The lavishly decorated ‘Grecian Temple’ was built in 1912. It is fitted out with some of the most exclusive Italian marble, a checkerboard floor, mahogany chairs, bronze candelabras, a blazed golden ceiling star and a massive throne. Legend has it that the infamous Jack the Ripper used to be one of the members attending the rites at the temple back in the days… However, today the space is popular for weddings and other formal events.
To complete your stay at the Andaz London Liverpool Street, you can either get moving in the Fitness room after a long day of meetings or relax those sore feet after walking the busy streets of The City in the steam room…
Big city greetings!