The Waldorf Astoria New York Is Closing In Spring 2017

Early last year, Chinese insurance company Anbang purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York for $1.95 billion, which was the highest amount ever paid for a US hotel. The Waldorf Astoria New York was once iconic, though perhaps nowadays can best be described as past its prime. I think it goes without saying that Anbang paid for the location and land as such, rather than specifically for the hotel.

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Keep in mind that Anbang is the same company which was vying to buy Starwood, though pulled out at the last minute, meaning the takeover by Marriott continued.

Now it’s interesting to learn the changes the Waldorf Astoria New York is undergoing while under Anbang’s ownership.

Per Bloomberg, the 1,400+ room Waldorf Astoria New York will be closing in Spring 2017, as Anbang will convert a majority of the rooms into luxury condominiums.

In a few years the building will reopen, with a much smaller hotel, likely consisting of 300-500 hotel rooms. The exact plans haven’t yet been revealed, though overall this seems like a smart decision.

It’s tough to operate a luxury hotel with 1,400+ rooms, and for that matter the hotel has been desperately in need of a renovation. If the place is properly renovated and the number of rooms they have is decreased greatly, chances are they can increase their average nightly rate significantly, while profiting nicely off the condo sales.

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Nonetheless it’s interesting that Anbang isn’t taking a hands off approach in their ownership of this property, given the changes they’re making. It doesn’t really change my thoughts on what would have happened if they bought Starwood, which I still think would have been a net positive. Keep in mind Starwood itself owns very few hotels, but rather only has management contracts for properties. Even if Anbang wanted to, it’s not like they could have converted Starwood properties into condos, etc.

What do you make of the plans Anbang has for the Waldorf Astoria?

(Tip of the hat to TravelinWilly)

Comments

  1. Stayed at the Waldorf for an early Christmas with my wife before deploying. Staff was great, room was old world luxury, competitively priced. Was the perfect place for a special weekend. Sad to see it go.

  2. Have stayed at the Waldorf a few times while in New York. Very, very sad to hear this. Beautiful, historic hotel. Was worried this might happen when sold. I love modern properties but can definitely appreciate older hotels.

  3. Terribly sad news (although press reports indicate the plans are to keep some of the rooms as hotel rooms). It’s an Art Deco treasure both outside and inside in the public areas, and I hope they keep all of that.
    My hubby and I stayed in the Waldorf several years ago prior to starting an 18-day sailing to Los Angeles — perfect way to celebrate traditional travel.
    The last morning we treated ourselves to room service and we of course had to order the Waldorf salad:-)

  4. Why are you guys saying this is sad? They are renovating the hotel, converting some rooms to condos and keeping some hotel rooms. I would imagine that hotel guests probably won’t notice the difference between 1,400 rooms and 500 rooms.

  5. A net positive. Get rid of the four decade perception as a convention / meeting property and back its roots as a luxury property. The bones are there, and the trappings need a major upgrade – have you SEEN the acoustic tile ceiling by the check in area? The tarnished 1979 brass plaques everywhere? Take it in the direction of the Plaza, for sure.

  6. I have stayed there twice. The first time was so bad they gave me a complimentary upgrade to a giant tower suite to return and make it right. The hotel is so dated, run down carpet. The club lounge was a run down and the breakfast was a joke. It has history and can certainly trade on the name, but it is certainly not “the greatest of them all” as it once was. Happy to see the upgrades.

  7. A lot of what’s wrong with the Waldorf is the result of previous, insensitive, ham-handed renovations. Maybe this won’t be another one; it doesn’t have to be. I’m hoping for a transformation like the one at the Carlyle. But if it gets a pimp-out like the Plaza renovation, I shudder to think.

    Great, historic hotels, well kept and well run, can be national treasures–the Crillon in Paris, or Claridge’s in London. The United States has precious few. Hold your breath.

  8. I stayed many times at the Waldorf and the Waldorf Towers . Yes the room were old fashioned and the hotel needed some works but it was so charming . Huge luxury rooms with boudoir , Wonderful spacious suites , I always have been upgraded and each of my journeys have been unique . Yes it is sad that an Iconic hotel such the Waldorf will close . This a an Art Deco monument …each time was in jump in the 50′ surrounded by history .

  9. I guess this is my cue to finally stay there before they change everything (I’d been considering it). I”m a Diamond member with Hilton so I could really get a lot of bang for my buck before they close down for the changes. I wonder if the prices will go up or down as people find out they’re closing and renovating? Will people try to get in one last stay before it closes and drive prices up? Will they do a “we’re closing soon” room sale?

  10. I am absolutely devastated to hear that The Waldorf is closing down for up to 3 years. When I go there next Christmas, 2016, it will be my fifth visit there. I have enjoyed every visit but in April this year, they really pushed the boat out for me on my birthday. I have made a lot of good friends in the Hotel and am gutted to hear that they will all be gone by 1st. March 2017. I am 70 years old now and am thinking this could be my last stay there. I have worked in the Hotel industry and I know what it’s like when new. owners and management take over. It never works out well and to me, the reason they are doing this, is to make money and to hell with the loyal staff and customers. If I’d known sooner, I probably would have booked somewhere else. The only way I found out about this was on Google. I wasn’t told about. any of this in April or, when I contacted the Hotel to book my room for Christmas. It all seems very underhand to me and has dented my faith in the Hilton brand.

  11. Stayed at the Waldorf a few years back, part of the appeal was the old time classic interior, beautiful hotel could not fault it. Staff were amazing best customer service I have received very very sad!

  12. Stayed at Waldorf November 30th for convention. Old world charm with large nostalgic rooms. Spoke to bellman there for 50 years! That is sad part. Many of their gracious staff have been there forever and will loose their jobs in February. Hard to get that service today. Also spike to someone who was on preservation committee at the bar who said some condos will go as much as $20 million dollars and cater to foreign visitors.

  13. I have stayed there many times. Once, for a black tie affair, the airlines “gate checked” my bag from Atlanta. When I retrieved the bag it was covered in slime from fish! My tux and everything in the bag stank!!!
    When I checked in I told the front desk. They took the whole bag. Within one hour they brought the bag to my room. They had cleaned it all and the tux was ready to wear. The only place I could ever get that level of service was at the Waldorf!

  14. I agree with Bill (June 27) The Plaza “renovation” was a disaster, the place has lost all it’s historic feel and gravitas with some badly designed “improvements”(?)
    The good news about the Waldorf is that the Landmarks Preservation Commission have listed most of the art deco public rooms for preservation so there’s hope it won’t end up like the Plaza. Time will tell.

  15. I have stayed at this beautiful hotel many times and my parents stayed there on their honeymoon in the 50’s. Always magical there….staff is amazing….service impeccable and the decor old world luxury. I understand the need for renovations but sincerely hope the new owners will keep many of the glorious touches there.
    I went back two weeks ago….just for one more time, as it is. It will always have a sentimental spot in my heart. Hate to see one more classic New York place change. It shall remain “iconic” for me.

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