Andaz Liverpool Street London, London $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
No matter that many still refer to this hotel as the Great Eastern (its name from its inception in 1884 as one of London's finest railway hotels); in 2006, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts rebranded it under their new "big boutique" Andaz label. And big it is, with 267 bedrooms, five restaurants, and four bars, including a pub and Japanese and fish restaurants. There is no concierge or reception desk; in fact, there's no lobby at all. Instead, kick back and enjoy a vino in the Living Room, where you can meet with a member of the staff who will check you in there or on the walk to your room, on a handheld PC. The bedrooms have warm, muted tones and giant beds offset by the modernist feel of the ergonomic work desk, Eames chair, and Jacobson lamp. The best rooms are 374, 474, and 104 (all larger corner rooms with better views, at no extra cost), where Kate Moss and her girlfriends hang out from time to time. Andaz also ticks the green boxes: The bathrooms use 80 percent less water than your average hotel, the lights use less electricity, and the kitchens serve local produce. What's more, Andaz Liverpool Street plugs into its trendy neighbors in nearby Shoreditch by inviting them round to do comedy turns, music gigs, and art installations. It's this approach, along with the perfect pairing of the graceful old building and the bold new spaces (check out the modern Atrium Gallery and the Rotunda), that has this hotel buzzing with people again, just as in its Victorian heyday.