Art Deco Interiors of Waldorf Astoria Hotel Now Protected by Landmark Designations

N ine members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission of the City of New York unanimously voted earlier today to preserve two dozen original public spaces of the interior of the iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel property, which first opened back on Thursday, October 1, 1931; and is currently closed as of Wednesday, March 1, 2017 for extensive renovations so that most of the greater than 1,400 rooms can be renovated and converted to luxury condominiums.

Art Deco Interiors of Waldorf Astoria Hotel Now Protected by Landmark Designations

“The landmarks vote protects parts of the first three floors of the 47-story building, including the grand ballroom and balconies, the entrance floor mosaic assembled with 140,000 marble tiles, and the lofty lobby with its chiseled tower supporting a small Statue of Liberty”, according to this article written by Verena Dobnik of the Associated Press. “Also landmarked are vestibules, foyers, lounges and arcades graced with gilded plaster reliefs, metalwork and exotic wood paneling.”

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Incorporated sold the historic Waldorf Astoria hotel property in New York to Anbang Insurance Group Company of China for $1.95 billion — or approximately $1.4 million per room — in February of 2015. To put that sale price in further context, Conrad Hilton reportedly acquired the iconic flagship hotel of Hilton Worldwide in 1949 for $3 million — an amount which would only purchase two rooms in the hotel today.

Recognizing the rich history of the Waldorf Astoria — where world leaders, celebrities and other dignitaries have stayed for eight decades — Anbang Insurance Group Company reportedly completely supports the recommendations by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for designation of the most important public spaces inside of the Park Avenue hotel property and applauds the commission on achieving landmark status for those public spaces.

A Brief History of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Property

The following information is verbatim from the aforementioned from the official Internet web site of the Waldorf Astoria New York:

The Waldorf Astoria New York hotel is an essential destination for enthusiasts of the Art Deco style. Recognized as one of the world’s most significant examples of Art Deco art and architecture, this New York City luxury hotel is a living museum of decorative ornamentation, design, remarkable paintings and beautiful motifs. An official New York City landmark since 1993, the Art Deco hotel occupies an entire city block in midtown Manhattan.

The original Waldorf Hotel was built on the site of millionaire William Waldorf Astor’s mansion at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street.  The 13-story hotel opened on 13 March 1893. Four years later, Waldorf’s cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, erected the 17-story Astoria Hotel on an adjacent site. John Jacob Astor IV died on the Titanic on 15 April 1912.  William Waldorf Astoria, having returned to England in 1893, died 18 October 1919.

In 1929, the owners decided to tear down the original building due to it becoming dated and the draining of its revenues caused by Prohibition.  The site was sold to the developers of what would become the Empire State Building. The current location on Park Avenue opened on 1 October 1931 as the tallest and largest hotel in the world.

Hilton purchased the property in 1949 — the building and management contract — for $3 million, from New York State Realty & Terminal Company. New York Central RR owned the land, which Hilton purchased in 1977.

Summary

“I would not be surprised to see the rate of the redemption of Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points increased as a result of the sale and renovations. Hopefully that will not happen.”

That is what I wrote in this article back on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 when news of the sale was first announced — and I am thinking that that could an understatement now that only approximately a third of the rooms in the storied hotel property will be used for the purpose of a hotel…

…but, of course, that all depends on the basic economic principle of supply and demand; and 300 rooms is not a paltry number in and of itself, as there are hotel properties which have even fewer rooms in total.

I have never stayed as a guest at this hotel — I never had a need to do so, being born and raised in New York — but I would like to do so sometime in the future. Many of the reviews by FlyerTalk members of this hotel property have not been favorable or flattering.

Only time will tell as to whether or not the rate of the redemption of Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points — as well as the room rates overall — increases at the Waldorf Astoria hotel…

…but I am certainly glad that many of the historic interiors will indeed be protected from the extensive renovations. This means that when the hotel portion of the building opens again, guests will have the best of both worlds: a refurbished and refreshed interior with the art deco areas which contributed towards the fame of the Waldorf Astoria New York.

Source: Hilton.

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