Before the legendary landmark on Park Avenue came to be, millionaire William Waldorf Astor opened the 13-storey Waldorf Hotel at Fifth Avenue in 1893. At the time it was the first hotel to have electricity throughout and private bathrooms for the guest chambers. Relocating to its current location on Park Avenue, Waldorf Astoria opened in 1931 as the world’s largest and tallest hotel with 47 floors. Today it remains as one of the world’s largest Art Deco buildings occupying an entire city block of midtown Manhattan. The Art Deco style is another first in America in addition to being the first hotel to introduce Room Service.
A total of 1,415 rooms and suites that occupy the entire premises are adorned with original Art Deco motifs and no two rooms are exactly alike. The Towers of the hotel that occupy the top 15 floors is a luxury ‘hotel atop a hotel’ and has had notable guests such as every sitting president, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn staying in its suites. The Towers is equipped with 181 rooms of which 123 are suites and incidentally the Waldorf Astoria is recognised for another first for having guests take up permanent residence in private suites. Among these apartment suites that have served as residences are presidential style suites and historic suites. The Towers has exclusive entrance off Park Avenue at 50th street and a personal concierge is assigned to every guest who can also avail of a private underground motor court making The Towers one of the most exclusive accommodations in New York.
Among the notable suites, The Presidential suite is the NYC residence of every American president since Herbert Hoover. The suite is designed to reflect the details of the White House and is furnished with presidential artefacts such as the the personal desk of General Douglas MacArthur and one of President John F Kennedy’s rocking chairs.
No doubt, The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria has a storied past having served as the home away from home to royalty, world leaders and celebrities.
The Cole Porter suite named after the American composer and songwriter, remained his residence for 30 years, and was later occupied by Frank Sinatra. It is an impressive suite able to transform from one to five bedrooms and features the largest kitchen of the hotel suites. Overlooking the St Patrick’s Cathedral the suite is made resplendent with a grand marble entrance foyer, luxurious moulding in gold and light green, statement furniture pieces and golden sheers in the bedroom. The Royal Suite is the former Park Avenue home of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Its Aubosson-inspired hand-woven floral carpets and Tiffany-blue walls with gold leaf moulding are among details that capture the feel of Windor’s French Manor House.
The Penthouse located at the top floor is one of the more extravagant accommodations, with views over Manhattan, high ceilings, a 10-person dining room, and a fitness room. No doubt, The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria has a storied past having served as the home away from home to royalty, world leaders and celebrities. Other comforts at The Towers include the Astoria Lounge to enjoy a continental breakfast, 24-hour access fitness centre, and the Guerlain Spa. The spa’s design inspired by the hotel’s Art Deco feature is complete with 15 individual treatment rooms affords stunning views over Manhattan.
Waldorf Astoria boasts of acclaimed restaurants, bars and lounges. Aside from the Bull and Bear Prime Steakhouse, Oscar’s American Brasserie for casual dining, the hotel’s signature restaurant is the Peacock Alley. Described as the jewel of the hotel’s lobby, the interiors are embellished with a gilded ceiling, Deco design and frieze work and offer an equally extravagant brunch and seafood menu.
Suites: USD 699 upwards
Presidential-style suites: USD 1,499 upwards
Historic suites (Presidential, Royal, Cole Porter): USD 1,999 upwards
Guests can also enjoy a guided tour to get acquainted with the hotel’s unique historic and architectural heritage, and its legacy as an unparalleled culinary innovator and gourmet destination. This includes the new 20th floor rooftop garden which is home to six beehives.
Countless famous faces may have found favour with its hospitality but the Waldorf Astoria is an iconic celebrity in its own right. The hotel has often served as a romantic backdrop for films that date as far back as 1945 and more than 20 movies have been filmed at the hotel including the Scent of a Woman, You’ve Got Mail, Serendipity, Maid in Manhattan and Mr and Mrs Smith!