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Waldorf-Astoria

Exterior

At a Glance

    Pros

  • historic Art Deco building filled with NYC's aristocratic, gangster, and jazz histories
  • best Waldorf salad in town
  • knowledgeable doormen

    Cons

  • rooms not up-to-date
  • more about the name than the experience
  • in-hotel Starbucks costs twice as much as ones around the corner

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Waldorf-Astoria Review

The Waldorf is undeniably historic, and presidents usually stay here thanks to the security of the drive-in entrance, but we'd recommend a cocktail at the classic Bull and Bear Bar downstairs rather than a night in one of the small standard rooms, which can feel a bit oppressive with their extensive floral patterns. The lobby of this landmark 1931 Art Deco masterpiece, full of murals, mosaics, and elaborate plaster ornamentation, features a grand piano once owned by Cole Porter. The pricier and more luxurious Waldorf Towers (28th floor and up) has a separate entrance and management. The Waldorf is famous for its former residents; besides Porter, these have included Herbert Hoover and Nikola Tesla. The luxurious and modern Guerlain Spa is a perk.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 301 Park Ave., between E. 49th and E. 50th Sts. Midtown East, New York, NY 10022 | Map It
  • Phone: 212/355–3000; 800/925–3673
  • Website:
  • Subway: 6 to 51st St./Lexington Ave.; E, M to Lexington–3rd Aves./53rd St.
  • Location: Midtown East

    Hotel Details

  • 1,183 rooms, 230 suites.
  • Rate includes no meals.
  • Credit cards accepted.
Updated: 02-20-2014

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
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    "Take Us to the Waldorf Astoria"

    we'd read some panning reviews online, and perhaps had therefore set our expectations a bit lower - in any case, the Waldorf did not disappoint. the lobby is something else (also check out the Starlight Room upstairs). pros - simply saying 'i'll be staying at the Waldorf', or asking the cab to 'take us to the Waldorf Astoria' and joking about how we did NOT mean somewhere in Queens - good enough room with nice big bathroom. cons - no slippers or coffeemaker (we found out later we could have requested one) in the room. long line to check in on a Sunday afternoon. we used Hilton points and so it was free (can't beat that). don't know if we would do it again, but it was certainly a thrill to stay there once.

    by 2ruse, 9/26/12
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    New York Icon

    I stayed at the Waldorf recently with my teenaged daughter for a theater weekend. I have stayed at the Waldorf a number of times for business and pleasure and count on its consistancy: responsive staff and comfortable and clean rooms. Our standard room was fairly spacious with traditional decor and was very quiet at night. The room was not luxurious but it was everything we needed. It is hard to beat being within walking distance of Central Park, Broadway and NBC Studios (very popular with teens). It is also really fun to stay at a place with a lobby and public areas that are so iconic. You just feel the excitement of New York walking in the door. We love Oscar's for breakfast--everything perfectly done albeit pricey.

    by Wandermother, 9/9/12
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    Waldorf=Astoria Review

    REVIEW 2:
    This is my second review of the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC. (My spouse and I stayed there in mid-November 2010; see my other review that follows.) We found ourselves back at the Waldorf in January of 2011, despite saying in my last review that there were other choices in town. So let me explain ... Shortly after my review was posted (I also completed an online survey from an independent company reviewing the hotel), we received a letter apologizing for the mistakes we experienced during our November 2010 stay, and offering us a complimentary night in an Astor Junior Suite to make amends. If you can splurge on an upgraded room, this category is quite spacious, with a large sitting area with desk, sofa, two wing chairs, side and coffee tables, large TV, and a wet bar with a sink but no refrigerator; the wet bar area also a lack of appropriate glasses and utensils should we actually want to use the area to prepare a drink. (There was a minibar, but that was in the bedroom, not in the living room area.) French doors (mirrored, not transparent) separated the living room from the bedroom, where there was a king-size bed, two night stands, a small closet (which I think was the only closet for the large room), a dresser (containing the minibar) and a second large TV. The bathroom was large by any bathroom standards (so for a NYC hotel room, it was huge) with a separate shower and soaking tub and double-sinked vanity. Each room had its own window or windows, and each had its own thermostat. We took advantage of using this room to the fullest, visiting the city on an incredibly cold January weekend. (Living 1.5 hours away, we visit NYC often, so we were able to just relax and watch some movies rather then brave the cold city streets for sightseeing.) As Hilton Hhonors Diamond members, we were offered two free drinks in any of the hotel bars (we chose Sir Harry's; the coupon was good for any type of drink) and two free bottles of water. Unlike at other high-end Hilton properties, there is no executive floor at this property, and no free breakfast is offered other than a coupon to Starbucks for a beverage and pastry, but as with our last stay at the WA, the lines at Starbucks were ridiculously long, and we did not redeem our coupons. The hotel provides free wi-fi to its Gold and Diamond members; however, we did not get free movie promised as part of Waldorf perk (the hotel claims not to participate in that part of the program). We used the Diamond check-in area with minimal problems - another guest arrived just after our check-in began, and it was clear that he received preferential treatment over us because he was a repeat customer. I don't mind if that sort of thing occurs, but don't “rub it in my face”. There was a private event happening on Saturday evening in the Park Avenue Cocktail Terrace/lobby area; therefore, hotel guests could not exit on the Park Avenue side of the hotel. During the event, guests were directed to the Lexington Avenue entrance, which wasn’t a big deal, but it would have been nice if a card or memo was left in the room instructing guests of this detour. As it was, I had arranged to meet my spouse at the Park Avenue entrance to depart for dinner, which caused a bit of running around when the private event ended after I had left for our meeting point (and was directed to Lexington) but then opened again in time for my spouse to be waiting at Park. To summarize, we had a good (second) stay, particularly with our Astor Junior Suite accommodations, but I maintain my “bottom line” from my last review - there are other great hotels in town that I’ll probably try next time.

    REVIEW 1:
    My spouse and I stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria for one night in mid-November 2010. We live in Pennsylvania, so we often spend a night in the city so that we can enjoy dinner or a show. This is our second time staying at this property (the first was several years ago). As others have said, it was once a great hotel that now requires some updating. It still retains a prestigious name, but its service level leaves something to be desired. My spouse is a Hilton gold member (only one night until Platinum status), but we didn’t feel that we received the same perks that we do at other Hilton properties. Namely, there is no dedicated check-in line for anything below Platinum level (but at that level, there’s a room/office, not just a desk).

    We arrived around 12:00 noon on a busy Saturday afternoon, and spent about 30 minutes in line for check-in. The property could use some velvet rope dividers in the lobby – there are so many check-in desks, yet everyone is supposed to know to queue up at the center one and then disperse accordingly. After checking-in, we were told that our room was not ready, but to supply a phone number which they would call if the room was ready prior to 3:00 pm (it wasn’t, so we didn’t receive a call). We were told to check our overnight bag with the bellman, which we did, and that upon returning to the hotel at check-in, we would just need to request our key, because we had already given our credit card information and been assigned a room number. When we returned hours later, again there was an enormous line for checking in. There was no indication that we would be able to bypass that long line, even though it was our second time standing in it. After speaking with the concierge, he directed us, along with half a dozen other people, to one of the leftmost reception lines for the abbreviated check-in process. But when each of us reached the desk, the clerk asked us each to go back to the main line. Very confusing – it seems that no one knows what the other is doing in the lobby. Even though there were two of us, one could not fetch the overnight bag while the other checked in, because the bellman wouldn’t release the bag without knowing our room number, and we couldn’t ascertain the room number without waiting to check in a second time. This situation must occur frequently at the hotel, yet they’ve made no provisions to ease the process.

    Our room was fine – small but in decent shape at first glance. The air conditioning did not work, however, and the windows could be cracked opened other than by calling the maintenance department (it was a very warm fall weekend). We suffered in the uncomfortable temperature until about 10:00 pm, then finally called the front desk. We were told that the hotel was old and on a one-pipe system, meaning no circulating air was available other than the humid, warm air from the outside. The maintenance man could only open one of our two windows, and the one that did open could only be raised by about an inch. So it was a rather unpleasant night temperature-wise. Because we realize that is an old hotel, we tried to overlook the heating and cooling problem. Our bigger problem was the sound and vibration that came from the main ballroom until 12:00 midnight. I realize that it’s the “city that never sleeps”, but we wanted to! The vibration from the music was more of a problem more than the volume – hard to understand, because what else could have been causing the vibrations and pulsations than the music? We were assured by the front desk that the music would stop by 11:00 pm, but our room vibrated until at least midnight, which was a little late for us.

    Needless to say, upon check-out the next day, no one asked how our stay was (I guess our call to the front desk the night before was noted on our record, and the clerk knew better than to ask). As Gold members, we were given vouchers for the Starbucks continental breakfast (pastry and drink for each person), but the line was so unreasonably long, that we didn’t even bother. Everyone was waiting for coffee to brew! It’s a coffee shop! On a Sunday morning! I think that this Starbucks outlet is overloaded – I’m sure it was not built with intention of feeding half the hotel guests. As someone else said, we expected more from the Waldorf-Astoria brand in terms of its treatment of Hilton Hhonors members. There is no lounge access, no upgrades. The lobby, while beautiful, is usurped by the outrageously-priced $95 per adult Sunday breakfast buffet. As another poster said, in this enormous hotel, is there no other place to do this but somewhere that is overrun with people checking in and out, and the germs that we bring in on our shoes and luggage? It seems like a prime spot for a health-code violation! I can’t imagine paying over $200 for two adults to eat in the lobby, with guests and visitors traipsing in and out – I can’t believe anyone actually pays for it at all! We also got a voucher for two free drinks from any one of the bars – not a bad deal because they had a value of $20 each (and guess how much a martini costs: $20!)

    We won’t stay here again – there are many other high-end properties in the city from which to choose, as well as many preferable Hilton-associated hotels. And if we thought that our problems ended at check-out – not so! When we arrived home and checked our credit card statement, there was an additional $26.13 charge that we didn’t make. It is still pending an investigation by American Express. If it was our charge, why wasn’t it part of the final bill that we signed when we checked out? The bottled water that we removed from the weighted electronic mini-bar two minutes before our departure was included in our final tally (and then removed because we were gold members), so what could this charge possibly have been? I know that it’s a small amount, but I shouldn’t have to pay for something that I didn’t buy or use, and they shouldn’t charge me after the fact.

    by fluffnfold, 12/3/10
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    hotel from hell

    My 18 day stay at the Waldorf Astoria was the worst hotel stay in my life. The lobby is gorgeous, but everything begins and ends there. The hotel personnel are rude and curt. Everything at the hotel is over-priced and the room was filthy. When we arrived I had to ask to have the dirty carpet cleaned. It smelled and looked as if it hadn't been cleaned in ten years. From there the stay just went downhill. There was a leak in the ceiling over our toilet and a 3 foot hole in the ceiling. I asked repeatedly to have the hole repaired only to be lied to by hotel personnel. My 8 year old daughter and I were locked out of our hotel room by the hotel management. It was a frightening and very upsetting experience for both myself and my little girl. I have stayed at many 5 star hotels in the past and this hotel should be rated as a 1 star hotel. The 1 star they earn from me is the elegance of their lobby. After that expect your stay to go downhill.

    by lynnandcarly, 12/28/08
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    Gracious

    We stayed last month on points and if that made a difference in the service received,we couldn't tell. In fact we tried to extend our stay on cash but the hotel was fully booked.
    We ate at the bull and bear and had a lovely supper. We missed the financial show shown from the bar but among the mix of wall street types and tourists were two policemen having their dinner.
    Great atmosphere. The room was a little old fashion but that was part of the charm.

    by CathySmile, 9/22/08
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    Classic Place - Enjoyable Stay

    We enjoyed the W=A for an anniversary trip. Our goal was a special trip and the hotel portion of the trip did not disappoint. We were sent congratulations for our special day from guest services. We had two very good meals at the hotel, breakfast at Oscar's and dinner at the Bull and Bear. B&B service was a little spotty, but the food was excellent. We would rate our whole experience as very good. We got what we wanted and would return to W=A again.

    by RVBV, 7/1/08
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    We were delighted

    Just spent three nights in a one bedroom suite with two full bathrooms. Tip top shape, wonderful bed, decorations and appointments. Corner room. Service was great from reservations to front desk to turn down service. Expensive although maybe not for New York but very impressive. Definitely one of the nicest hotels we've stayed in. Room was immaculate.

    by arthill, 6/12/07
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    Location must be Everything. . .

    because the service is lousy, lousy, lousy, beginning with registration where any question is met with attitude. The lobby is lovely as befits this historic hotel but the room was musty, the plumbing iffy and the attitude was condescending at best. With lots of other choices to be had in Manhattan, I will not stay at the Waldorf again unless someone else is paying for it. . .

    by maureengg, 5/16/07

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