Most of us don’t know New York without the Waldorf Astoria. The luxury hotel, which opened in 1931 and occupies a full block on Park Avenue, has become an iconic city staple. In it’s 85 years of history it has hosted countless presidents from Herbert Hoover to Barack Obama and celebrities like Frank Sinatra. The Waldorf Astoria that these notables once knew however, will no longer exist.
An estimated $1 billion renovation will see the Chinese Anbang Insurance Group Co. managed property transform about 1,100 of the hotel’s rooms into luxury residential units. The remaining 300 to 500 rooms will be upgraded to high-end suites. The building will be totally gutted in what is expected to be a three-year renovation.
This announcement comes after what has been a public decline for the property in the past few years. Waldorf Astoria’s price point no longer reflects the standard of luxury found at other hotels in the same market. A night at the Waldorf Astoria during high season could cost you around $400. For the same price or less, you can get a more boutique luxury experience at many of their New York City rivals.
According to Conde Nast Traveler, Anbang CEO Wu Xiaohui reportedly mentioned the renovation to Harvard students in early 2015, saying: “We plan to renovate the two towers into luxury residential apartments with world-class amenities and finishes to reflect its culture and social status. […] At the same time, we will build the hotel section into a super five-star hotel, delivering unparalleled customer experience inspired by Anbang’s customer-orientation culture.”
While it is a bitter-sweet goodbye to the place that has held so much of New York City’s social history, we can’t wait to see what new memories will be made when it opens next!