The Waldorf Astoria New York is a famous luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
The building is a 47-story 190.5 meters (625 feet) Art Deco landmark designed by architects Schultze and Weaver, which was completed in 1931.
Recognized as one of the world’s most significant examples of Art Deco art and architecture, this New York City luxury hotel is a living museum of decorative ornamentation, design, remarkable paintings and beautiful motifs.
The name of the hotel is ultimately derived from the town of Walldorf in Germany, the ancestral home of the prominent German-American Astor family who originated there.
The Waldorf Astoria actually started out as two different hotels: The Waldorf Hotel, built in 1893 and the Astor Hotel, built in 1897. These buildings — connected by a bridge called Peacock Alley, now the name of one of the hotel’s three main restaurants — were situated on the site where the Empire State Building now stands.
Demolished in 1929 in order to make room for the Empire State Building’s construction, a new Waldorf Astoria was completed on its current location – Park Avenue in 1931.
The new building opened on Park Avenue was the tallest and largest hotel in the world at the time, covering the entire block. It was the world’s tallest hotel from 1931 until 1963, when it was surpassed by Moscow’s Hotel Ukraina by 7 meters (23 ft).
From its inception, the Waldorf Astoria gained international renown for its lavish dinner parties and galas, often at the center of political and business conferences and fundraising schemes involving the rich and famous.
The Waldorf Astoria New York has a total of 1,413 hotel rooms. Today, the rooms retain the original Art Deco motifs, although each room is decorated differently.
The most expensive room, the Presidential Suite, is designed with Georgian-style furniture to emulate that of the White House.
The Waldorf Astoria was the first hotel to offer room service and was the first major hotel in the world to hire women as chefs, beginning in 1931.
The fantastic clock in the lobby of hotel was built by the Goldsmith’s Company of London originally for the 1893 World Columbia Exposition in Chicago, but was purchased by the Waldorf owners. The clock is made from bronze and weight 1,800 kilograms (4,000 pounds).
The hotel had its own railway platform, Track 61, that was part of the New York City Subway, and was connected to the Grand Central Terminal complex.
Soon after the opening of the hotel in 1931, hotelier Conrad Hilton, almost bankrupt at the time, reportedly cut out a photograph of the hotel from a magazine and wrote across it, “The Greatest of Them All”. He acquired management rights to the hotel on October 12, 1949. The Hilton Hotels Corporation finally bought the hotel outright in 1972.
In October 2014, the Anbang Insurance Group, based in China, was announced to have purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York for US$1.95 billion, making it the most expensive hotel ever sold.
An icon of glamour and luxury, the Waldorf Astoria New York is one of the world’s most prestigious and best known hotels.
On the 100th anniversary of the hotel in 1993, one publication wrote: “It isn’t the biggest hotel in New York, nor the most expensive. But when it comes to prestige, the Waldorf-Astoria has no peer. When presidents come to New York, they stay at the Waldorf-Astoria. Kings and queens make it their home away from home, as have people as diverse as Cary Grant, the Dalai Lama and Chris Evert.
During the 1930s, gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel owned an apartment at the Waldorf, and Frank Costello was said to have got his haircut and nails done in the Barber’s Shop at the Waldorf.
Around the time of World War I, inventor Nikola Tesla lived in the earlier Waldorf-Astoria.
Frank Sinatra paid nearly $1 million a year to keep it as his personal suite at the hotel between 1979 and 1988, which he called “home” when out of Los Angeles.
The Waldorf Astoria has been a filming location for numerous films and TV series.