I love visiting New York. I’m not sure I would ever want to live in this crazy city, but a visit is always such fun with so much to see and do.
My last trip to NYC gave me the opportunity to try out a couple of hotels. I enjoyed my stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Times Square as I appreciate the style of accommodation and the quality of customer service offered by this hotel chain. For my second night I decided to go old school and look for something a little more iconic and so decided to try out the Waldorf Astoria located on the upscale Park Avenue.
New York Park Avenue is synonymous with style and luxury. This midtown Manhattan location has plenty to offer. Next door to the Waldorf Astoria is the famous St Bartholomew’s Church but other iconic attractions such as Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, and the Museum of Modern Art are just a short stroll away. The Theatre District with all the shops and restaurants are a few blocks walk but if you prefer a less energetic option then taxis are plentiful along Park Avenue plus the subway and bus stops are just a block away.
The Waldorf Astoria opened its doors in this location in 1931 as the tallest and largest hotel in the world. You begin to appreciate just how huge this hotel is as soon as you enter and walk through lobby after lobby just to reach the reception desks. The German Renaissance style of the architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh is still very much on display with the crowning jewel being the Goldsmiths Clock sitting proudly in the center of the main lobby area.
The lobby areas seem to be full of people coming and going at all times of the day and I greatly enjoyed my 10 minute people watching session as I sat on one of the sofas in the main entrance room. I read an interesting article about the restoration of this area and learned more about its original design.
Sad to say that the restoration, while amazing in the lobby area, has not been completed in the rooms; or at least not in the one I stayed in on this visit. Space in NYC is always at a premium and the layout of the older hotels will give designers more than a few headaches when trying to update. The huge corridors, probably double the size of most modern hotels, only adds to the disappointment when you open the door to your space-squeezed hotel room.
There is something poetic about the fact that my photos (taken late at night) have a dingy yellow tone to them, kind of sums up my first impression. The carpet, drapes, and furniture plus the decaying bathroom fixtures did not make me think old world charm or luxury but simply boy this room needs an update. Also note that my photos look nothing like any of the room photos on the Waldorf Astoria website (shocking I know and why you need to read bloggers REAL reviews).
As this was a very quick one night stopover I really didn’t get a chance to explore that much of the hotel. Of course my husband did get to use the gym (fee waived if a Silver, Gold or Diamond HiltonHonors reward member) and while certainly nothing spectacular, it was nice to have the option to get a quick workout in during our stay. The hotel offers a spa and extensive meeting facilities. Interestingly the hotels own website lists room service as one of its 4 top amenities, but isn’t that pretty standard in any hotel?
We decided to order room service, as we were just too exhausted to venture outside on this particular evening. Service was prompt and delivered by a very friendly server but boy the sticker shock was crazy. A pizza, club sandwich, and two bottles of beer – with all the various taxes and tips was around $120 so be warned.
Of course the hotel does offer a number of dining options, including their Peacock Alley with its signature busy carpeting and delicious cocktails. You can find out more by visiting their website although I would recommend visiting Zomato.com to read a few actual customer reviews.
This hotel has been a part of the Manhattan skyline for so many decades I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to sample its hospitality. If the restoration of the public areas were continued to all the hotel rooms then I would surely keep this hotel on my recommended list. However, while my actual hotel room cost was quite comparable to other luxury hotels in the area, I cannot say that I left feeling impressed.
Address: 301 Park Avenue, NY 10022
Contact info: +! 212 355 3000
Website: Waldorf Astoria
Other Info: WiFi charged at $18.95 a day but free for HHonors Reward Members.
Number of Guest Rooms: 1232