Waldorf Astoria $1bn Makeover

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

New York's Waldorf Astoria has also been closed for the past four and a half years, undergoing a more than $1 billion renovation, and is expected to re-open in 2023. What are they up to?

It's 90 years since the Waldorf Astoria first opened its doors on New York's Park Avenue in 1931, becoming the tallest and largest luxury hotel in the world. The hotel's Art Deco interiors have been the backdrop of countless galas and benefits for the upper crust. Every US President from Herbert Hoover to Barack Obama has laid their head to rest in the presidential suite.

The famous landmark was acquired in 2014 by China's Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95bn from Hilton Hotels and the new owners are pumping $1bn into polishing the place up and re-envisioning it for the future. While parts of the hotel are being restored to its original state - rooms including the Grand Ballroom are protected by New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission - much of the building is being entirely reconfigured, reports CNN.

The Waldorf will retain some of its most iconic contents, including Porter's 1907 Steinway piano. It, along with the hotel's murals, mosaics and nine-foot lobby clock - an intricate 19th-century timepiece commissioned by Queen Victoria for the 1893 world's fair in Chicago - will also get a refresh.

When the Waldorf Astoria reopens in 2023, it will have 375 hotel rooms, down from 1,400, and 375 condominium units. The for-sale apartments will range from studios starting at $1.8 million to four-bedrooms starting at $18.5 million. The amenities accessible only to residents will include the skylit 82-foot-long Starlight Pool - formerly the Starlight Roof where Ella Fitzgerald regularly performed - as well as the verdant Winter Garden, a bar and lounge turned into a green oasis.

The extensive renovations are the biggest makeover the Waldorf Astoria has received since it opened.