Global Traveler: ANdAZ is a most unusual name. Please explain its derivation and how that ties in with what guests can expect when they stay at an ANdAZ Hotel.
Arnaud de Saint Exupery: “Andaz” quite literally translates from the Hindi language as “personal style.” It came about after extensive research with a diverse range of global travelers. What came to light, as a result of these global think tanks, was the desire for a new hotel experience that identified with the guests’ individuality.
This research has since evolved and, put simply, means ANdAZ is all about personality — the individual personality of the guest, and us responding to that, alongside the individual personality and spirit of the hotel and its location. This spirit of personality can best be witnessed with various innovations which have been introduced to the hotel.
We have no check-in desk, we have no separate concierge, no separate luggage porter, and we have introduced an uncomplicated approach to billing. In essence, we have thrown out the rule book and rewritten it based on what the hotel-savvy, experienced global business and leisure traveler now truly wants from a hotel experience.
Without a check-in desk (we use portable, hand-held PCs) we greet our guests more informally, offer coffee or a glass of wine, and sit with them to register their details. Or, if they’re in a hurry, we will do this on the way to their guestroom. The same host will also take care of their luggage and discuss any specific requirements they may have concerning their stay. Media have labeled this style as “casual luxury.” The feedback so far has been a more sincere, informal and relaxed experience.
Our pricing system has also been applauded by guests and visitors. The rate encompasses breakfast, movies, healthy mini-bar, local calls, laundry and WiFi. I am very much encouraged by the customer feedback to all our new innovations. It proves we are doing something right.
GT: The ANdAZ Liverpool Street has redefined the whole luxury hotel experience from check-in to checkout. Please give us an overview of what guests can expect upon entering the hotel.
ADSP: While we hope guests will find the new experience familiar, we think they will also notice the changes we have made. They are designed around an uncomplicated and natural approach, a warmer and more authentic experience, moving away from the cold and minimal aesthetics of the design hotel era. Our product is warmer and so, too, is the service. I encourage all staff to express their personalities within the culture of what ANdAZ is all about. If my team feel comfortable and actively part of our evolving brand, then this will come across to guests in a positive way.
The ANdAZ team is all about communication and building relationships. We believe this helps create a stronger relationship with our guests.
GT: The ANdAZ Liverpool Street is the first hotel up and running in what will be a chain of Hyatt’s casual luxury hotels. What are the plans to expand this brand?
ADSP: We are at the start of ANdAZ here in London. At present, two properties are planned to open in New York [and one in] Los Angeles later in the year. Toward 2009 more properties will be announced.
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