A recent business trip brought me to San Diego, and while I usually stay at the W Gaslamp or the Sheraton in Mission Valley, I figured it was time to start shifting some stays over to Hyatt. I looked online, and I found an Andaz downtown. I had never stayed at an Andaz before, and I was excited to try one out for the first time! When I arrived at the Andaz, I realized that they actually took over the Ivy Hotel, which I had visited before.
The check-in experience at an Andaz is interesting. Instead of checking in at a normal desk, they check you in on an iPad. I suppose it’s a cute touch. We used a confirmed suite upgrade for this stay, and I was informed by the receptionist that I would be in one of the “loft suites.” She told me that wi-fi was complimentary and that there were a selection of complimentary snacks at the mini bar in the room. Free? Neat! I was on the 3rd floor, and I was looking forward to checking out the room.
When you walk in, the mini bar / snack bar is directly on the left. It turns out that most of the stuff on the snack bar is actually not free. The little basket on the left has some chips, a granola bar, and a chocolate bar. The stuff in the basket is free, but everything else costs money.
It also turns out that the “loft suite” isn’t actually a full suite, assuming you define a suite as a habitation that spans multiple rooms. The loft suite has a divider between the lounging area / desk and the bed, but they aren’t separate rooms. It was quite a nice room, but I think it’s a bit lame that the hotel would count that as a suite and use a confirmed suite upgrade to get that.
So when you walk in, you pass the mini bar, and you’re in the lounging area. You hang a right for the bed area and bathroom.
I had no problems with the bed and fount it to be quite comfortable. The bathroom was spacious, large, and modern, with a glass counter and dark tiling.
The only thing rather odd about the bathroom was the floating shelf above the toilet. First of all, there was nothing on it. A glass floating shelf with zero objects on it can be difficult to notice. Furthermore, it is placed at just the right elevation for an average height human to see eye to eye with it, and it sticks out just past the top of the toilet. What am I getting at? Well, I banged my head on this darn floating shelf like three times! After peeing, my next logical reaction is to lean forward and flush. After a few tries, I finally learned how to dodge this floating glass punisher, but it definitely took some getting used to ;-).
I’m picking nits here. The room was really nice. I like the Andaz style. It’s modern, kinda like a W, but it’s also not as in your face as the W styling is. Besides the fact that they used a confirmed suite upgrade for a room that was only borderline a suite, the other issue was the view.
It turns out that all of the loft suites are internal facing, at least that’s what I was told. So if you get a loft suite, instead of getting great views of San Diego’s Gaslamp District, you’re looking at some piping and an air conditioning system on gravel. Being there for work, I didn’t care too much about the view, but if you’re thinking about doing a San Diego vacation with a suite upgrade at the Andaz, consider that your view will be bad. In fact, it’s a bit worse than looking at a brick wall. At least I know brick walls aren’t looking back at me. Here you look at all the other rooms so you need to make sure that all your curtains are closed when you shower, which is actually a bit of an inconvenience. I went to go check out the gym.
The gym was disappointing. It was a room full of cardio machines, a single small rack of light weights, and a single weight machine in the corner. I was surprised too. With its rooftop bar and image of swank, the Andaz is obviously targeting the “young party goer with money” demographic. This demographic is typically interested in fitness so the poor gym doesn’t seem to fit. On the flipside, there is a 24 Hour Fitness in Horton Plaza, a five minute walk away, so I just used that gym instead, but I do think the Andaz San Diego should think about upgrading its gym.
Moving on, the view from the rooftop pool / bar / restaurant combo is pretty nice. That’s Petco Park, home of the Padres, in the distance.
There’s a bar on the roof, but you may or may not have access to it in the evenings. One of the nights I was there, there was a private event and it was closed. This bar area is also the hotel restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Speaking of breakfast, I made sure to take advantage of that Hyatt Diamond benefit and get some free breakfast at the restaurant. The french toast there was some of the best french toast I’ve ever had. My wife had the eggs, and they were quite delicious as well.
I’ve read reports of the famous lemon poppyseed pancakes at the Andaz Fifth Avenue New York, and I can’t vouch for how good those are, but I can tell you that the french toast at the Andaz San Diego was pretty darn good. Anyone had both? The breakfast experience on a beautiful day is pretty nice at the Andaz. My wife and I sat at the bar on the rooftop, soaking in the view, and eating our food.
The rooftop pool at the Andaz is small, but it’s nice. I didn’t have time to enjoy it, but it did seem pretty crowded. If you’re going there over a weekend and want to use the pool, I’d make sure to get there early enough to grab a spot!
I liked my experience at the Andaz San Diego. If you want to be downtown, the location is perfect, and the proximity to Horton Plaza is certainly convenient. It was very clean, the staff was very attentive and professional, and I would definitely stay there again. I wish they had a nicer gym. I wish they didn’t take suite upgrades away for “lofts,” and I wish said lofts weren’t inward facing. All things considered, though, I’ll definitely be back!