A faded railway hotel until its £70m Conran overhaul in 2000, the red-brick Great Eastern became in 2007 the first of Hyatt’s new Andaz portfolio. The new approach means out with gimmicky menus, closet-sized minibars and even the lobby reception desk, and in with down-to-earth, well-informed service and eco-friendliness.
The bedrooms still wear style-magazine uniform – Eames chairs, Frette linens – but free services (local calls, wireless internet, healthy minibar) are an appreciated touch. Restaurant options include British nosh at the 1901 restaurant in a magnificent former ballroom with a stained-glass dome or Japanese at Miyako.
The cinema – set in the basement Masonic Temple, a feature of the original hotel – appropriately favours horror movies.