History Waldorf-Astoria Present Waldorf-Astoria


An icon of New York hospitality, the Waldorf was among the first Select Members of The Most Famous Hotels in the World. Its first general manager, George C. Boldt, set new standards of hospitality in America. It started as two hotels: one owned by William Waldorf Astor, whose 13-story Waldorf Hotel was opened in 1893 and the other owned by his cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, called the Astoria Hotel and opened four years later and four stories higher. The hotel we see today is "new". It opened in 1931 as the largest hotel in the world and became a legend. It is a true icon of American hospitality.

Enjoy the legendary stories we have researched for you, the history and please pay attention to the links provided to the left. They take you to a series of interesting articles about this legend of American hospitality.

1893: An Astor family feud contributed to the events which led to the construction of the original Waldorf-Astoria on Fifth Avenue. It started as two hotels: one owned by William Waldorf Astor, whose 13-story Waldorf Hotel was opened in 1893 and the other owned by his cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, called the Astoria Hotel and opened four years later and four stories higher. William Astor, motivated in part by a dispute with his aunt, built the original Waldorf Hotel next door to her home, on the site of his father's mansion and today's Empire State Building.

The hotel was built to the specifications of founding proprietor George Boldt ; he and his wife Louise had become known as the owners and operators of the Bellevue, an elite boutique hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Broad Street, subsequently expanded and renamed the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. Boldt continued to own the Bellevue (and, later, the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel) even after his relationship with the Astors blossomed. William Astor's construction of a hotel next to his aunt's home worsened his feud with her, but, with Boldt's help, John Astor persuaded his aunt to move uptown. John Astor then built the Astor Hotel and leased it to Boldt. Initially foreseen as two separate entities, Boldt had planned the new structure so that it could be connected to the old by means that became known as Peacock Alley. The combined Waldorf-Astoria became the largest hotel in the world at the time, while maintaining the original Waldorf's high standards.

The Waldorf-Astoria is historically significant for transforming the contemporary hotel, then a facility for transients, into a social center of the city as well as a prestigious destination for visitors. The Waldorf-Astoria was influential in advancing the status of women, who were admitted singly without escorts. Founding proprietor, George C. Boldt, became wealthy and prominent internationally, if not so much a popular celebrity as his famous employee, Oscar Tschirky, "Oscar of the Waldorf." Boldt built one of American's most ambitious houses, Boldt Castle, on one of the Thousand Islands.

George Boldt's wife, Louise Kehrer Boldt, was influential in evolving the idea of the grand urban hotel as a social center, particularly in making it appealing to women as a venue for social events.

1931 Two years after William Waldorf Astor’s original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was demolished to make way for the Empire State Building, the new Waldorf-Astoria, occupying a full city block and then the largest hotel in the world, opened in 1931 on Park Avenue at 50th Street. Rising 47 stories, this Art Deco landmark has welcomed every U.S. president since Herbert Hoover checked in as a permanent resident in The Waldorf Towers. The hotel’s richly decorated lobby, with its famous massive bronze and mahogany clock from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, is one of the most well-known meeting places in the city. In 2006 Hilton Hotels announced plans to create a Waldorf collection. They want to build a second Waldorf-Astoria near Walt Disney World in Florida, and in 2007, plans were announced that another Waldorf-Astoria will be built in Beverly Hills, where Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard cross. Once again a legendary hotel name is used to create a chain of legendary hotels (see: Raffles, The Peninsula, Ritz-Carlton, etc.). Finally, Hilton has launched its high-end luxury line and called it "Waldorf".

However, please rest assured, there will always be only one Waldorf-Astoria.

The Waldorf Towers is the hotel within the hotel (28th-42nd floor) offering direct access to Waldorf Astoria.
The US Govenrment has rented an entire floor for the period of 50 years. It's there that they arrange meetings with international diplomats (President George Bush met with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder).
During the 1950s and early 1960s, former U.S. president Herbert Hoover and retired U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, lived in suites on different floors of the hotel. A plaque affixed to the wall on the 49th Street side commemorates this.

Around the time of World War I, inventor Nikola Tesla had lived in the earlier Waldorf-Astoria.

There is a recreation of one of the living room of Hoover's Waldorf-Astoria suite in the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. The U.S. government keeps a large suite on the hotel's 42nd floor as the ambassadorial residence for its United Nations ambassador. The hotel has its own platform as part of Grand Central Terminal, used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, and Douglas MacArthur, among others.

Waldorf salad — a salad consisting of apple, nuts (especially walnuts), celery, and mayonnaise or a mayonnaise-based dressing — was first created in 1896 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York by Oscar Tschirky, who was the maître d'hôtel.

Cole Porter and Linda Lee Thomas had an apartment in the Waldorf Towers, where she died in 1954. Porter's 1934 song "You're the Top," contains the lyric, "You're the top, you're a Waldorf salad..."

The original Waldorf-Astoria was used in the investigation into the Titanic sinking.

The Nascar Nextel Cup end-of-season awards banquet has been held at the Waldorf-Astoria every year since 1981, initially in the Starlight Room, but since 1985 in the Grand Ballroom, except 2001 and 2002. A formal awards ceremony (not a banquet) was held in those two years, with the 2002 awards ceremony was held at Hammerstein Ballroom, with the pre-show banquet held at the Waldorf-Astoria.

The Presidential Suite is reserved for the Series Champion. Pianist George Feyer spent his remaining years of public performing here, between 1980-1982. The annual International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria is held to formally introduce young high society women. The debutantes from Texas perform the "texas dip". On May 1, 2004, the Waldorf-Astoria was the venue for the Grand Europe Ball, a historic black-tie charitable affair co-chaired by Archduke Georg of Austria-Hungary which celebrated the Enlargement of the European Union.

In the 1988 movie Coming To America, the king of Zamunda (played by James Earl Jones) and his family stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria
In the 1992 movie Scent of a Woman, Lt. Col. Frank Slade (Al Pacino) and his traveling companion Charles Simms (Chris O’Donnell) stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria
In the 2001 film, Serendipity, the two main characters have a number of scenes that take place in the Waldorf-Astoria.
Statler & Waldorf, a pair of Muppet characters, are named after posh New York City hotels, the Statler Hotel and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Waldorf’s wife, Astoria, is Statler’s sister (and is portrayed as the Statler Muppet in drag), making the two brothers-in-law.

Eric Long
Rene Alexander Balin
and, to start with:
George Boldt: he was the man who made the Waldorf. He was born April 25, 1851, in Prussia. (Some sources state he was born in Damgarten on the island of Rügen, but actually, Damgarten is a good 50km west of the island.) When George was 13, he left Germany for the New World. He first worked in restaurants and hotels in New York City, but later left to take up farming in Texas. Unfortunately, farming turned out to be a disaster for him, and in 1871 he made his way back north.

After working in New York for a while, he moved to Philadelphia where he met Louise Kehrer. He was smitten by her immediately. When she reached the age of 15, the two married on June 14, 1877. They had two children, George Charles Jr. born 1879 and Louise “Clover”, born 1883.

George became more and more successful in the hotel business, eventually managing several hotels, including the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City and the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia, that catered almost exclusively to members of the upper crust of society. In fact, he purposely raised the prices at his establishments to ensure the exclusivity of his clientele.

George Boldt died December 5, 1916, in New York City.

1233 Rooms
177 Suites

Peacock Alley (continental), The Bull & Bear (hearty fare) Oscar´s(light fare), Inagiku (japanese), The Waldorf Cocktail Terrace, Sir Harry´s Bar

For visitors from around the world, New York City is a magnet for its works of art. Priceless pieces, in every genre from traditional to trendy, are displayed in galleries and museums throughout the city. For fans of the Art Deco period, there is no more thrilling destination than The Waldorf Astoria. Widely recognized as one of the most significant examples of Art Deco art and architecture in the entire world, the hotel is a living museum of design and decorative ornamentation, unusual paintings and striking motifs. Guests can enjoy a fascinating guided tour of the hotel. The tour focuses not only on the hotel’s unique historic and architectural heritage, but also on its legacy as an unparalleled culinary innovator and gourmet destination. The tour is offered with lunch at Oscar’s restaurant, named after The “Oscar of the Waldorf", where guest can sample the Eggs Benedict and the Waldorf Salad both popularized at The Waldorf Astoria. The tour begins by the clock in the hotel’s Main Lobby and proceeds to the Park Avenue Lobby. Guests then walk the dazzling Silver Corridor to the magnificent four-story Grand Ballroom. The elegant Basildon Room and The Starlight Roof, the restored grand space that formerly housed the country’s most noted supper club, complete the tour of public spaces. (Venues based on availability.) A final highlight is the visit of Guestrooms and Luxury suites. The hotel also invites guests and visitors to walk through the Waldorf Museum, just off the Main Lobby, which offers a fascinating “time capsule” peek at the hotel’s famous guests. Sidewalk windows outside the hotel have been turned into a walking museum, as well, highlighting the hotel’s architectural history and landmark Art Deco heritage. “Our tours, museum, and decorated sidewalk displays give visitors an opportunity to explore the extraordinary history of the hotel. Those who take a tour have the added pleasure of seeing public and private spaces many people only dream about. We look forward to sharing the history and heritage of the hotel with a new generation of visitors.” Jim Blauvelt - Executive Director of Catering. The Waldorf Museum and self-guided walking tour of the sidewalk displays are complimentary. Price for the tours start at $50.00 per person, with accompanying lunch in one of our restaurants. All prices are inclusive of taxes and gratuity. Reservations are required. Tours start at 11:30 am every Thursday. For your convenience, the tours are limited to 15 guests. For information and reservation, please call (212) 872-1275.

Fitness Club, massage,

T-shirts, tank tops, faded jeans, cut-offs, and casual hats are not permitted in the Main Lobby, Park Avenue Lobby, restaurants, or public areas of the hotel. While name badges may be worn by conference attendees in private conference rooms, we request that name badges be removed in the public areas of the hotel.

Dress attire for Bull and Bear is elegant casual.
Dress attire for Oscar's is casual.
Dress attire for Inagiku is smart casual.
Dress attire for Sir Harry's is smart casual.
Dress attire for Cocktail Terrace smart casual.
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Our Select Member Hotel

Country: USA
City: New York
Opening date: 1893/1931

Note from the Host

General Manager


301 Park Avenue
USA, New York

Tel: +1 212 355 3000
Fax: +1 212 872 7272

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