Into the Blue

By Lenny J. Ploffer
Photo by Brevin Blach

(Published in the May 2010 issue)

What once was the Ivy is now Andaz (Hindi for style), the newest member of a small group of posh boutique hotels operated by Hyatt.

The brand’s other locations include London, West Hollywood and two properties in Manhattan, but Hyatt says they don’t plan to make major changes to the physical attributes of the San Diego hotspot.

“Instead, Andaz is overhauling the customer service experience,” says general manager, Rusty Middleton. “For example, curbside guest check-ins are now facilitated by tablet computer-toting hosts who are responsible for escorting guests and their luggage to the rooms, simplifying the standard valet-to-bellhop-to-registration-to-room process.”

Once inside the rooms, guests are treated to the same caliber of opulence offered by Ivy, with a few exceptions: the telephone now works for 24-hour room service, and there are complimentary beverages and snacks in the mini-bar.

Unfortunately (for now, anyway), beverages still aren’t free on Andaz’ rooftop pool-deck and lounge. They are, however, frequently poured from the deft hands of bartender Julie Rodenhiser, who provides insight into the life of a whistle-whetter and a simple tip for scoring a free drink.

PacificSD: Dr. Phil , The Situation and Elton John; you have to have sex with one, slap one, and marry one.

Rodenhiser: All of the above with Elton John, obviously.

What’s the biggest tip you’ve received?

It was $5,000 from a regular, but I didn’t take it. My first night working here, a guest gave me $100 for handing him a pen.

Cheesiest pickup line anyone has used on you?

Do you have any Irish in you?

Have you ever found love from behind the bar?

I don’t usually date people I meet at work, or people I work with, but sometimes it just happens. So, yes.

What’s your favorite breakfast spot?

I like going to Brian’s 24 on Sixth Avenue after work (late at night) and getting either the Thai chicken pizza or fried pickles. Their fried pickles are insane.

How about dinner?

Santana’s, at 3 a.m. I work late.

What’s your favorite place to dance?

For me, dancing is something that happens sometimes, but not something that I set out that night to do. Translation: I only dance when I’m drunk.

Shaken or stirred?


How can I get a free drink?

Saying “please” and “thank you” goes such a long way.

May I please have a free drink?


The hotel’s director of marketing, Jessica Cline, says the hotel is offering complimentary poolside manicures, pedicures and massages during Sunday chill-out parties this summer. Three cheers for plastic martini glasses.