When you live in San Diego, you tend to feel like you’re on vacation 365 days a year. The weather is perfect, the beaches are only a 15-minute drive from most every neighborhood and our rooftop bars are the reason happy hours exist. Because of this, locals love their staycations since it means mixing up their daily routine while still enjoying the many benefits of SD.
This past weekend I made my way over to the Andaz, a four-star hotel in the center of the Gaslamp District, for a quick refresher before the work week. In March, the property completed a $4 million renovation which transformed the seven-year-old hotel into a chic new retreat. Designed by the Gensler firm, the full facelift was inspired by the neighborhood’s art culture and was fashioned with the intention of providing a space that fostered interaction, creativity and relaxation.
Upon entering the lobby (called The Lounge), guests are met with large columns, comfy sofas, work stations and an intimate front desk area that adds a more personal touch to the check-in process. One of the main things you’ll notice around the property are the various works of art donning its interiors. A few of its signature pieces include a black-and-white abstract mural by San Diego street artist Kelsey Montague, a mural by local photographer Christine Finkelson and a 12-foot tall giraffe sculpture painted by Andaz employee and artist Tyson King. Be sure to spend some time walking around to view these pieces and others to get a feel for the city’s art scene.
As a part of the renovations, all 155 guestrooms and suites were refreshed, including a redesign of the hotel’s four lifestyle suites. The new rooms feature updated, modern décor with a California-esque laid-back style—a notable update from their previous look. Each accommodation also comes with complimentary Wi-Fi, 46″ HDTVs, Keurig coffeemakers and spa-like bath products by natural skincare line Lather. During my stay, I checked into the Andaz Sweet Suite, an 800-square-foot space situated on the top floor. The one-bedroom dwelling is spacious without feeling too grand and showcases exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and a blue, grey and white color scheme. The suite is elegant yet has a very distinct flirty side which comes out in various parts of the room.
In the public areas, a four-person wooden dining table sits underneath an industrial-like chandelier and nearby the wet bar with stoked snacks (some complimentary), alcoholic beverages, and a Keurig. One nice touch is the room’s additional mini fridge kept empty in order for guests to store their own drinks or leftover meals. The living room boasts a plush sofa, an HDTV and floor-to-ceiling windows that are scattered throughout the space.
The piece de résistance, however, is the suite’s master bath. Occupying almost half the bedroom, the bathroom is designed behind large glass walls that add a fun, sensual touch to the retreat. Immediately upon entering the room you’ll notice the deep soaking tub sitting within the shower area, which is spacious enough to have a mini dinner party inside (no, we’re not exaggerating).
The double rain shower bathroom is heaven, and even includes a temperature valve which guests can use to add steam into the mix. Pro tip: Start with a bath and then slowly transition to the rain shower experience, you’ll thank me later. Aside from the bathroom, the bedroom features a king-sized bed and a mini lounge area with coffee table, HDTV and dresser. Guests will also find two bathrobes in the suite, a cozier one for lounging around the room and another one for post showers. Because the Gaslamp doesn’t have an off-switch, there are also two sets of earplugs next to the bed which will come in handy for light sleepers.
On the rooftop, guests will find an outdoor restaurant with retractable roof, bar and the pool area lined with lounge chairs and cabanas. By day, the Rooftop by STK is a place for guests and the public (no charge to use the pool) to mingle under the sun with cocktails in hand. In the evenings, the space turns into a lively nightclub with a DJ spinning beats on Fridays and Saturday. Although cocktail servers don’t roam the pool area in the daytime, bottle service is available after dark. Throughout the day, the restaurant serves American cuisine with a So-Cal twist and features dishes such as Ahi tuna appetizers, truffle flatbreads and ricotta gnocchi.
The refreshed Andaz gives off a greater air of confidence, one it was previously lacking. Over the past couple of years, the city’s high-end properties have been noticeably transforming to adapt to the growing demand for luxury digs in San Diego. And thanks to its new contemporary, modish aesthetic, the Andaz is able to re-position itself as one of SD’s best four-star hotels, turning into a major player in the luxury game. Whether you’re an out-of-towner or a resident, you’ll want to book a night’s stay here; that master steam bath and tub are reason enough.
Local Luxe | May 2017