The Waldorf Astoria New York is a luxury hotel in Manhattan, New York City. The hotel has been housed in two historic landmark buildings in New York. The first, bearing the same name, was built in two stages, which accounts for its dual name.
The original hotel, situated on Astor properties along Fifth Avenue, was completed in 1893 and designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh. It was demolished in 1929 to make way for the construction of the Empire State Building. The present building, at 301 Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, is a 47-story 190.5 m (625 ft) Art Deco landmark designed by architects Schultze and Weaver, which was completed in 1931. The current hotel was the world’s tallest hotel from 1931 until 1963, when it was surpassed by Moscow’s Hotel Ukraina by 7 metres (23 ft). An icon of glamour and luxury, the current Waldorf Astoria is one of the world’s most prestigious and best known hotels.
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. Particularly after World War II it played a significant role in world politics and the Cold War, culminating in the controversial World Peace Conference of March 1949 at the hotel, in which Stalinism was widely denounced. Conrad Hilton acquired management rights to the hotel on 12 October 1949, and the Hilton Hotels Corporation finally bought the hotel outright in 1972. It underwent a $150 million renovation by Lee Jablin in the 1980s and early 1990s, and in October 2014 it was announced that the Anbang Insurance Group of China had purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York for US$1.95 billion, making it the most expensive hotel ever sold.
The Waldorf Astoria and Towers has a total of 1413 hotel rooms as of 2014. In 2009, when it had 1416 rooms, the main hotel had 1235 single and double rooms and 208 mini suites, while the Waldorf Towers, from the 28th floor up to the 42nd, had 181 rooms, of which 115 were suites, with one to four bedrooms. Several of the luxury suites are named after luminaries who lived or stayed in them such as The Cole Porter Suite, The Royal Suite, named after the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the MacArthur Suite and the Churchill Suite. The most expensive room, the Presidential Suite, is designed with Georgian-style furniture to emulate that of the White House. It was the residence of Herbert Hoover from his retirement for over 30 years, and Frank Sinatra kept a suite at the Waldorf from 1979 until 1988. The hotel has three main restaurants, Peacock Alley, The Bull and Bear Steak House, and Oscar’s Brasserie, named after Oscar Tschirky (Oscar of the Waldorf), who invented the Waldorf salad, Eggs Benedict, Thousand Island dressing during his 50 year career at the hotel. Sir Harry’s Bar, named after British explorer Sir Harry Johnston, is the home of the Rob Roy and the Bobbie Burns cocktails.