Legendary Waldorf Astoria New York closes for renovation
New York City – 28 February 2017 –
The legendary Waldorf Astoria is closing for renovation.
When it opened at its Park Avenue location in midtown Manhattan in 1931 with more than 1,400 rooms, the largest – and tallest – anywhere at the time, Agence France-Presse reported.
It has hosted a stream of international political leaders, movie stars, tycoons and power players of all kinds for more than 85 years.
Famous for its upscale services, the Waldorf says it invented the concept of 24-hour room service.
The Art Deco style is carried through details down to the door handles in the lobby bathrooms. However, the grande dame is showing her age. Guests have complained about dated rooms, peeling paint and issues with cleanliness.
Owner Anbang Insurance Group says it will close the hotel for major renovations starting March 1 and the work is due to last two to three years.
The Chinese company bought the historic gem in 2014 from Hilton hotel chain for US$1.95 billion.
Although it has released no official renovation plan, Anbang is expected to convert a large number of rooms into luxury apartments with boutique stores on the ground floor, leaving only a small part of the building as a hotel.
The facade – which became an official landmark in 1993, joining the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge – is in no danger. But the interior is not protected under the landmark designation, and some are worried that such treasures as the four-story grand ballroom and sprawling
mosaic by the French artist Louis Rigal decorating the entrance will disappear forever, despite Anbang’s promise to consult preservation officials.