Wednesday, February 5, 2014

JUST THE TWO OF US - ANDAZ AMSTERDAM

                                     

Entering a 5 star luxury hotel always has something magical. By stepping into these splendid creations the customer gets transcended into a world where perfection is norm. I experience the same pleasant state of mind everytime I pass their doors. You'll find me enjoying the impressive interior design while catching the fragrance of the place, getting taken away by the background music and foremost slowing down on the outside and inside, telling myself that I can calm down and relax for a little while in this comfort zone...
... until! (would have been to good to be true), until a very well trained staff member allows himself to burst my bubble in less than a second by disturbing my absence of mind by imposing his service to me.

Herewith I am officially not the easiest guest but definitely not the only one feeling bothered by fuzzy customer service. Though, none of the employees wants to be annoying. Quite the contrary; they follow a well defined code adapted to the luxury industry and each company's values and missions in order to make the guest have the best quality stay. As a former hotel management student with experience within a few of such hotels I remember myself in front of this bible of 227 rules and quotes that I was supposed to follow and preach. Obviously, these standards are supposed to complete this striving to perfection but on the other hand don't they entail a very impersonal level of interaction, turning their guests into a dime a dozen?

Previous summer I finally made a very different experience. The Hyatt company seems to have noticed this consumer insight and has developed a distinguished concept: the Andaz brand. I had learned about the launch of the brand years ago during my internship at the Park Hyatt in Paris, so while planning the weekend trip to Amsterdam, I did not think twice about where to stay. 

I must admit, with their very casual approach , Andaz brings the customer experience to another level. At a time where many actors are still having a hard time with emotional marketing and still think in B to C (business to consumer) instead of H to H (human to human), Hyatt managed to lead the way with this innovative concept.

It is not just the open-space architecture, designed by Marcel Wanders, that enables the feeling of freedom. This principle runs like a red thread trough the entire stay. From the check-in to the departure, they let you be yourself. Instead of throwing all the information at us at the arrival, the receptionist (if you can call him a receptionist as there is no real reception in the lobby) noticed how lost we were on a geographical level and invited us with "hey folks, have a drink at the bar while I'll do your check-in and explain the entire map to you!". He made this moment even more casual and brought it to a personal level by letting us know his opinion and giving some really tailor-made advise. Probably they just let him be himself and his does not have 227 quotes to remember under his pillow (...).

During the entire stay nobody would ever come and disturb us. At the same time they provided excellent customer service and went the extra-mile when we requested their help. Isn't that true luxury and real perfection ?

Simplicity always will be the ultimate form of sophistication.


NB : The pictures above are the evident proof of them letting me be myself; I was feeling so free end ended up picturing the entire hotel, thus combining my passion for the hotel industry and branding with the one for photography. For two entire hours it was just the two of us : the Andaz Amsterdam and myself.
I now understand more and more my emotional marketing class, where we study the love for a brand. I am only dedicating this review to this hotel because of my love towards the place (no commercial post ;) ), a result of their respect and personal interactions with me, during and after the stay. It's not just the place - it's the people.
Yet, another post in the collection of "make your life memorable!".