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An iconic New York hotel just received landmark status

The Property Addict / Luxury Lifestyle

United States of America

Mar 09 2017

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Carson Griffith, Architectural Digest

The 80-plus-year-old Waldorf Astoria New York shuttered its doors just one week ago today for a three-year renovation. On Tuesday the New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the interiors of the celebrity-favored hotel a New York City landmark (the exteriors of the hotel, which was built in 1931, had been landmarked in 1993). The decision will preserve the rich history of the famed hotel during its renovation—a history that has included visits from 14 presidents (including Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barack Obama) and the setting of 20 movies, including Coming to America, The Scent of a Woman, and The Out of Towners. Though celebrities who favor the hotel will have to find alternative options for the next three years while the midtown hotel receives modern updates and condominium conversions in several areas of the property, the landmark designation will guarantee that many of the specific facets of the Waldorf that nod to its celebrity clientele go unchanged.

For instance, the Empire Room, the Waldorf's glamorous supper club where the likes of Tony Bennett, Diana Ross, and Ray Charles have all performed, will not be replaced.

The interior landmark designation will also help preserve the guest rooms, like the suite Frank Sinatra shared with Mia Farrow or the one named after Elizabeth Taylor, which is where she and Eddie Fisher honeymooned. Several celebrities have also lived in the Waldorf, including Cole Porter, a resident for thirty years, who composed "Night and Day" and "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" on the Steinway baby grand that still stands in the lobby (and will hopefully return after the renovation). Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt purchased a residence there in 2007 (the hotel was one of the first places they stayed together as a couple).

When the hotel re-opens, hundreds of its 1,400 guest rooms will be converted into privately owned apartments. But the Royal Suite, which is nearly 1,200 square feet (more than the average New York City apartment), will remain available to rent. The second largest guest accommodation is the Presidential Suite. A plethora of celebrities have opted to use this room as a hideaway from paparazzi (though some more successful than others), including Britney Spears and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Each year the Waldorf has played host to countless galas, charity events, and private parties—from the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, which both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton attended a month before the election last fall, to Bette Midler's annual star-studded Halloween party, complete with a performance by the actress herself. It's not unusual for guests of the property to be in the elevator bank with their favorite actor or sipping a Bloody Mary next to the person who also happens to be on their magazine cover.

Only time will tell if the same clientele will return to the Waldorf when it opens its doors again in three years, but hopefully when the hotel returns, anew but in many ways the same, so will the impressive patronage.

SOURCE: Architectural Digest

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