Waldorf Astoria New York | 301 Park Avenue, New York City, NY | ★★★★ | $$$$
What do you think of when you think of “old money” in New York City? Of course, the Upper East Side rings bright and true as the definition for the term. But for me, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Waldorf Astoria.
This beautiful Art Deco hotel was built in 1931 and is a vision of glamour and luxury. It has always been known for its lavish parties and galas, as a popular destination for political and business conferences, and also as the home of many big names for several years (including Frank Sinatra).
Stepping in, you can immediately admire the very expansive foyer with its high ceilings and wide stretch of marble flooring. There are a few comfortable sitting areas out here for visitors to lounge on and small staircases leading to some of the lobby-level meeting rooms. During the day, the foyer is packed with those staying at the hotel and curious passers-by hoping to get a look inside.
Further in is the hotel lobby, covered in extremely plush carpeting, with more impressive columns holding up the high ceiling. Situated in the center of the lobby and weighing two tons is the Waldorf clock, designed with bronze relief figures of presidents of the past (and Queen Victoria!) and Lady Liberty standing watch on top. The check-in counters sit along one side of the room, and service is quick and pleasant. We also got drink vouchers to use at any of the hotel’s restaurants/bars during our stay, like the Peacock Alley restaurant right in the lobby.
As you explore the rest of the main floor of the hotel, you’ll find more long expanses of soft and regal carpets, more sitting areas, and – of course – shops. The hotel is also home to Guerlain Spa. This is definitely a place one could easily drop hundreds to thousands of dollars during their visit.
We didn’t get to peek into any of the hotel’s ballrooms, but I can only imagine they are extravagant and a marvellous venue for weddings or other special occasions.
Upstairs, even the elevator lobbies on each floor are resplendent in their own right, with heavy curtains, crystal chandeliers, and more plush carpet.
Finally… our room! Unbeknownst to me, Jen had called ahead of our trip to request an upgrade, because she is amazing. I was extremely surprised when we entered our room and found ourselves in a little hallway, which had separate ways off to a sitting room and our bedroom.
The Waldorf’s One Bedroom Suite comes with a separate living room, a space that ended up being perfect to lounge around in whenever we came back to the hotel to rest or to kick back and watch TV before heading to bed.
The living room and bedroom are covered in yellow tones, dark mahogany furniture, and an array of different patterns, giving off a retro but opulent vibe. While I typically prefer more modern hotels with cooler tones and sleeker designs, there was a simple elegance to staying in a room such as this one that I enjoyed.
We were also able to opt for the two double beds, rather than the king, and were able to stretch out as we drifted off to sleep in our comfy beds watching old episodes of Friends on the second TV in our bedroom.
Possibly the best surprise? Our suite came with two bathrooms! Jen and I were able to take our sweet time getting ready without having to dance around each other to use the sink and mirror in the mornings or sit around waiting to use the shower. The marble bathrooms were clean and came stocked with Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries. Fancy! As usual, more counter space would have been appreciated, but having my own bathroom made the situation less pressing.
Having two bathrooms seems to be a perk usually enjoyed by guests of the Signature Suites, but it seems Jen and I got lucky and were able to snag this extra feature.
Even without the room upgrade, I would say that staying at The Waldorf is definitely worth the extra splurge, even just to be able to stay here once.
We really enjoyed our stay, if not because of our marvellous room, then because of its resplendence, its beautiful design, and the wonderful service we received. One afternoon, the WiFi was down, and because Jen was paying for the high-speed connection to send work emails, it was important to call the front desk to figure out a solution. It turns out the network was having problems, but help was sent to our room to check our connections and troubleshoot, all charges were waived, and we even received a follow-up call later on to make sure everything had been remedied and that we were happy.
And as for the view… during the day, we had a nice view up Park Avenue! Although I couldn’t tell if they ever clean their window exteriors… unfortunately, the glass was quite dirty. But we were usually too busy marvelling at the interior to worry about seeing the exterior!