Moving house for the sixth time in under four years, you'd think I'd be immune to the stress it generates. Oh how I wish that were true! But alas, as it happens, move six was the most stressful. I shall spare you the details of that dreary event, but I must tell you about my post move escape to the Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel.
Having booked a stay at Andaz Liverpool Street for Friday the 13th, prior to any knowledge or expectation of a move, the date of my stay could not have come at a more felicitous time. I awoke on that morning with a pain in my head that screamed of lemmings trampolining on my brain and a fever that had my balance wavering furiously, like a bird with an injured wing. I hate having to take conventional medicine but I was determined to feel well enough to get to Andaz, and begrudgingly popped a couple of paracetamol in the hope that my fever would break.
A few hours later, feeling a little better, I ventured into the City and to the Luxury 5 star hotel that is Andaz Liverpool Street. Located just a stone's throwaway from Liverpool Street Station, I was lucky to avoid the afternoon rain by strolling from the station to the hotel where I was greeted with a welcoming smile by the doorman.
Over the years, the hotel has been painstakingly maintained and restored to reveal magnificent design and features with a melding of Victorian and contemporary aesthetic, now listed by English Heritage. The building sits comfortably in the midst of London's hip and trendy quarters that are Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Spitalfields and rather proudly in its financial district locale; an excellent residence for a weekend of shopping and a rainbow of eateries and a perfect stop for city workers.
My first reaction when entering the hotel was, 'where is reception?' but I was soon to discover Andaz's unique ethos of non-traditional hospitality, which echoes throughout the Andaz experience. You see, there is no reception! Instead, a friendly iPad clutching staff member rapidly walked me through check-in - painless and surprisingly pleasant. The 'no reception' idea gives a sense of homeliness and informality in what is usually considered a formal setting. I like that there are no queues and that the very few that are waiting to be attended to are able to enjoy light snacks and refreshments whilst lounging on cushy settees as they tarry.
Every detail of every feature of every element of the hotel has been considered. The atrium is especially delightful and provokes a sense of adventure - I believe I could quite happily lose myself within the domain of Andaz Liverpool Street.
My suite is free of the grandiose of the communal areas, but is instead practical, spacious, excellently lit and most importantly for a hotel of its caliber, luxurious. The bed is huge and I was tempted to throw myself upon it, but was certain I would fall asleep instantly and did not want to miss my massage at Andaz's Health Club.
Exploring the room I discovered a well stocked minibar with not only a range of chargeable alcoholic drinks, but also, a range of complimentary non-alcoholic drinks, as well as fresh milk - yes, that's right - not that long lasting UHT stuff, but the real deal. The room also offers up a range of different coffees and (a gift to the city worker, I'm sure!) a Nespresso machine. In my petite sitting room resided the tools of productivity; an oversized ergonomic work-desk offering a range of power points and stationary whilst a sleek Eames chair offered an invitation to relax. The bathroom is an opulent scene of monochrome features and indulgent products, an ample shower, luxurious robes, towels and slippers and a bath my troubled muscles could not wait to try.
Slightly late for my appointment at the Health Club, I was afraid I might have to rebook. But Ioanna, the therapist that greeted me, allayed my worry and encouraged me to spend some time in the steam room before my massage. Ten minutes in the steam room and I was invited to one of the treatment rooms by Habiba for my massage. Ambient light and soothing atmospheric music filled the room, inciting an acceptance to relax and a well needed and well deserved kneading of muscles ensued. Post a most excellent and very much appreciated massage, I was offered a reviving cup of Lotus flower tea, before I headed back out to the real world.
That evening, I dined at one of the hotel's five restaurants. 1901, the restaurant boasting the stunning stained-glass dome was my choice and I was joined by The Science of Style's Sabrina Bangladesh. My prawn starter, followed by the John Dory main were both excellently prepared, well-seasoned and very enjoyable, though the greens and potato accompaniments tasted slightly over-cooked. It was the cheese board and selection of desserts though, that were the real champions of the meal. Our charming and sterling waiter Emiliano recommended the Dark Chocolate Fondant, which is by far the best chocolate fondant I have tasted. We also thoroughly enjoyed the Pear Tart Tatin and the Burnt Cream, as well as a delectable selection of British cheeses.
A wonderful massage and a delicious meal later, there was little chance I wouldn't sleep well and my tremendous bed and fantastic pillows promised a peaceful and comfortable night. For a hotel that stands but a leap away from Liverpool Street Station, it is surprisingly quiet at night and I slept like a baby.
Breakfast at 1901 offered an enticing array of baked goods, fresh fruit, yoghurt, muesli and granola and charcuterie as well as a menu offering a range of eggs, waffles and French toast. I opted for the French toast, with berries and maple syrup - a filling breakfast, but (disappointingly) nothing special I'm afraid.
All in all though, Andaz Liverpool Street rates highly in terms of ethos, luxury and comfort and faultless service. It's an excellent base for City touring, trendy shopping and a luxurious escape for the Londoner who wishes to take a break, but does not want to or cannot venture far from home.
So will I return? Most definitely!