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Review: The Grand Waldorf Astoria New York

Waldorf Astoria New York
Written by Charlie

As the Waldorf Astoria New York is preparing to close for renovations, here is a review of this grand property that has been the host to many famous people.

Advertiser Disclosure

 

The Waldorf Astoria New York is one of the most grand hotels in New York and has a long and distinguished history. It has hosted many famous people and world leaders over the course of its existence. While it is not the latest and greatest in condition and upgrades, it is a 5 star hotel in how customer service is handled at the Waldorf Astoria New York.

The Waldorf Astoria New York

Waldorf Astoria New York

This property’s reputation is known far and wide for its prestige and clients. In all of my visits to New York, I had actually never stayed at the Waldorf Astoria. With its pending closure, I knew I had to stay here at least one time to see what it was like for myself. With consistent cash and point availability and cash rates that are typically lower than surrounding properties, it was a good deal for my one night stay back in November.

Location

Waldorf Astoria New York

The location of the Waldorf Astoria New York

The Waldorf Astoria New York is located at 301 Park Avenue. The cost of getting there by car is not a really cheap proposition, depending on where you are coming from. Unless you absolutely need a car in the city, you could pay almost to house your car as you would to stay there yourself – $80 per night. Of course, that is valet parking (no other parking is available) but it does not have in/out privileges. So, best thing to do would be to park the car outside of Manhattan and take the metro in.

Speaking of the metro, it is near several stations. They include Grand Central station, Lexington Ave/53rd St station, Rockefeller Center station, and then the 51st Street Station just a few hundred feet away. It is served by the 4 and 6 lines.

Hotel Entrance | Check-In

Waldorf Astoria New York

The entrance to the elevators | Waldorf Astoria New York

Walking in the Waldorf Astoria, you immediately are wrapped in the luxurious, stately surroundings throughout the ground floor. When you get into the center, you will find the check-in desks.

Waldorf Astoria New York

Diamond Status

Waldorf Astoria New York

Park of the check-in line at the Waldorf Astoria New York

To be honest, I was a little surprised that there was no Diamond line and that the check-in line was quite long. It took about 30 minutes for me to get to the counter which is not a long period of time to wait in New York. But, I did think it was a long time for a Hilton Diamond member to wait in line at a top-tier hotel like the Waldorf Astoria. Note: I didn’t personally care about having to wait a long time nor did I think I was more important than anyone else in line but just an observation of the time it took.

I had been tempted to book a better room just to get an idea of what the better rooms were like. But, I did what I normally do and booked the base room (the Deluxe Guestroom) for two reasons – I didn’t really need a bigger room and I wanted to see what would be offered to Diamond members.

One of the Diamond benefits at the Waldorf Astoria hotels is space-available upgrades to a better room. But, even though I was told later that the hotel was not nearly full, I was not given an upgrade. Again, I did not need to space but was a little surprised that I was not upgraded.

Waldorf Astoria New York | Deluxe Guestroom

As I said at the beginning, the Waldorf Astoria is not the latest and greatest in upgrades but the rooms are still elegantly appointed. The room was around 250 sq ft or so and they made the most of the available New York City space. Even though the room was smaller than some other rooms I have stayed at in the city, it was still roomy enough with a large bed, dresser with TV, larger-than-normal closet, desk, and sitting chair.

Waldorf Astoria New York

The view of the Deluxe Guestroom from the door | Waldorf Astoria New York

Waldorf Astoria New York

Part of the older-style of the hotel was the TV in the room. While not a tube TV, it was certainly an older model than I have had in most of my recent hotels and that includes lower category hotels.

Waldorf Astoria New York

The work desk and lack of outlets | Waldorf Astoria New York

As I mentioned in a post from last year, the biggest disappointment to me from my stay was the lack of outlets. In this day, most people probably need a minimum of 3 outlets when staying at hotels. I actually needed 5 so I rotated the plugs through the single outlet in the room until they brought up the power strip.

Waldorf Astoria New York

When it comes to hotel beds, when I go to bed, I am so exhausted I typically can fall asleep and stay asleep as long as I need to. So, most range of beds are fine for me. In this case, this bed was above average for me and the pillows very comfortable. In fact, I fell asleep during the World Series so that is how comfortable I was in the bed!

The Bathroom

Waldorf Astoria New York

The bathroom | Waldorf Astoria New York

The bathroom looks larger than it was but it did have one important thing for me – the outlet underneath the mirror. With no available outlets in the room, this was the one place I could rotate my devices through for charging.

I have stayed at other hotels in the same category as the Waldorf Astoria New York and the bathtub in this WA was more like one you might find at a Holiday Inn.

Waldorf Astoria New York | Fitness Center

Waldorf Astoria New York

Plenty of treadmills in the fitness center!

I popped over to the fitness center to check it out but never actually used it as I wanted to run outside. In most cities, if the weather is decent enough, I love getting out and enjoying the city from the ground. But, it is nice to have a decent fitness center in the hotel and the fitness center at the Waldorf Astoria was pretty nice.

Waldorf Astoria New York

Fitness Center

Staying There

This hotel will be closing for a 2 year renovation and will reopen with luxury condos (and some hotel rooms, not sure how many yet). If you want to stay here, it will have to be this month!

There is great availability with Cash and Points, which would cost you 28,000 points and $125 per night. Of course, that might not be a great deal depending on when you stay there. I am seeing wide availability also around $205 per night so that could be a better deal. If those amounts are equal on the night(s) you would stay there, it would mean that the Hilton points are only giving you a value of about 1/4 cent of a point. While Hilton points are not huge value, they are certainly worth more than that.

Waldorf Astoria New York

Of course, it is also available for an outright point redemption as well but at 70,000 points per night, it means you will only be getting about 1/3 cent per points after figuring in the tax. Again, it is a good deal if the price is high but with many nights available around $200, it would be better to pay cash.

Especially since you could match it with this Amex Offer and pay even less!

Takeaway

I was glad I was finally able to stay at this legendary hotel. I would say that there are certainly better hotels in that same star rating in the city and many of them are better point values as well. But, for the history and stated elegance in the halls, rooms, and furniture, it was a nice experience. My biggest takeaway was the unbelievable customer service I received when I had a problem – that I did not even mention to hotel employees! Check out this post for more details about that. I certainly hope that service is adopted wherever these employees move to because it was certainly top-notch.

As for elite recognition, it was non-existent at the hotel during my stay but I would imagine that the hotel is probably more interested in the high-paying customers than high-elite status customers. Of course, I could be wrong since it was based on a single stay, but that was what my feeling was.

Farewell, Waldorf Astoria New York!

Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

12 Comments

  • Nice review. Hotel is certainly overdue for a refresh because rooms looks exactly the same to my visit 10 years ago. Hope they don’t ruin it though during remodel. It still has great charm.

  • I was also tempted to stay at the Waldorf Astoria New York, but the online reviews really bothered me that that didn’t seem to care about status. I instead stayed 3 nights at the Hilton Midtown and was very happy with the free breakfast and executive lounge for Diamonds.

  • We stayed there for a few nights in November, using our Hilton “coupons” for two free nights. I actually found a “Diamond Line” AFTER we checked in at the far left of the main desk. There is a doorway between the bell desk and the front desk for those with mobility issues as the front desk is quite tall. By that doorway there was also a Diamond members sign. Although the rooms are dated, the property has so much history and is so intriguing. Also, Diamond Members receive a $25 discount on the breakfast buffet in the Bull & Bear Restaurant which was exquisite.

  • I have a soft spot for the place and always go into the lobby when in NY. Stayed there on one of my first ever free nights – got a dump, complained, got moved and ended up with lounge access to boot which was a real novelty to me.

    I even did the ‘behind the scenes’ tour for $25 which was well worth it.

    About a decade later (04?) I stayed in the Towers with my now-wife. Huge suite, very cheap, total dump, great view of Chrysler Building. Would not have stayed again for $.

  • 30 minutes is not a long time to wait in NY? That is ridiculous, and I would be very unhappy if I had to wait that long to check into a hotel anywhere. Don’t they know who I am!?

  • Thanks for this review. The TripAdvisor reviews are the reason that I declined to stay at the Waldorf the last time I was in the city. As was mentioned, it seems they don’t value Diamond members, and there are plenty of other options in the city. It seems like I made the right choice, especially since I needed to stay on points, and recently, cash rates seemed to beat the points rates. I think this is a situation where the new variable points rates might would have helped?

    Call me high maintenance or whatever, but having earned Diamond status, I do appreciate the recognition. While I don’t feel entitled to upgrades, I do feel entitled to a simple acknowledgement of status, especially from the likes of the Waldorf. When an upgrade is not available, I always appreciate a warm, “Unfortunately, we were not able to offer you an upgrade, but I have chosen a great room for you. We appreciate your loyalty.” Something along those lines.

    All that said, I am thrilled the old lady is getting a reboot, and I am excited to see what she looks like after the remodel!

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