+ CLOSE

I know, I know. Staying a Hyatt? So not Truant. However, friends had highly recommended the Andaz Fifth Avenue and I couldn’t fault the location, directly opposite the New York Public Library and just steps from the gorgeous Bryant Park.

Arriving in the dead of night after a long flight from the east coast, I was still star-struck by the lunar landscape over which I had flown. California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah – all presenting endless spaces of red and white bisected by highways far far below, like razor cuts, and punctuated by incredible rockscapes and water sculpted canyons. 

The rest of the journey changed from sunset-lit desert to darkness. Tiny pinpoints of light below coalesced into small glowing cities,  until finally we reached the glittering East coast, dropping through the atmosphere towards New York, its lights pulsing like the heart of the Eastern Seaboard. And indeed it is. Driving into Manhattan, people bustled everywhere like busy ants, yellow cabs crowded the streets and everywhere you looked up was light and colour and movement.

I was so entranced by the streetlife that I barely noticed our arrival in middle of Fifth Avenue. There was no sign of the fairly dreadful Hyatt logo. Massive doors opened to a small dark lobby area where two handsome young men looked up from a central square “station”. As it transpired, they were bellmen, reception, concierge and all round helpers and a fine job they did too, friendly, efficient and helpful with all queries, from arranging a driver, to orienting me with a map, to explaining the well-chosen artworks dotting the hotel.

I was shown to my room which looked directly over the Library and I couldn’t help but be glad it wasn’t The Day After Tomorrow.

The room itself was very narrow and at first a little minimalist for my tastes. Aman-style zen is a favourite but it’s a slippery slope to a prison cell. The Andaz fortunately doesn’t cross that bridge but it’s certainly in contrast to the many flouncy options offered by some of the establishment hotels around town. I’d say it was simple and well designed rather than empty. The saving grace was in the quality of the fitout and the details – C O Bigelow toiletries, from Manhattan’s oldest chemist, inclusive minibar, a beautiful hand-illustrated compendium box, good tech, an extremely comfortable bed, huge windows and best of all, a footbath for the weary traveller.

I also had a peek at their two-bedroom penthouse, and if you were staying with friends or children this was a lovely option, with an apartment like feel, two of those wonderful bathrooms, and best of all, a large wraparound terrace on which you could settle in for an alfresco dinner of your Dean and DeLuca goodies, surrounded by the neon-lit windows of the towers of midtown. Picture book NY.