The iconic Waldorf-Astoria hotel is being sold to Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd for about $US1.95 billion.
The 121-year-old hotel is a landmark in New York City: It has hosted dignitaries, politicians, and world-famous celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Grace. It has also served as the home-away-from home for every US President since Herbert Hoover, and has hosted foreign royalty like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
And now it’s entering a new chapter, though Hilton will continue to manage the property.
Rooms in the Waldorf begin at $US399, while rooms in the Towers begin at $US699 for suites and $US1,299 for presidential-style suites.
The Waldorf hotel first opened in 1893 on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street. A few years later, it joined the nearby Astoria hotel and got the name Waldorf-Astoria, after it's two owners: William Waldorf Astor and John Jacob Astor IV.
The hotel moved to its current location, on Park Avenue and 50th St., in 1931. When it first opened, President Herbert Hoover said that it was 'an event in the advancement of hotels.'
Today, the hotel maintains its historic grandeur. Guests entering from Park Avenue face this formidable lobby.
The guest rooms are decorated in a classic New York style, and have great views of the Manhattan skyline.
The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria, the private hotel occupying the top floors of the property, is home to 123 suites.
The Towers recently introduced 'suite specialists' who cater to the guests of this hotel-within-a-hotel, offering everything from personal butler and concierge service to odd requests like raising the height of the toilets.
The hotel puts its rooftop to good use, cultivating gardens of fresh vegetables and herbs and beehives for honey.
There's a hidden train tunnel that runs from Grand Central to the base of the Waldorf Astoria. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used this secret tunnel to enter the hotel so that people didn't know he was in a wheelchair.
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