301 Park Avenue, New York 10022New York, United States of America -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
As a true legend, the Waldorf Astoria has spanned the XXth century without a wrinkle. Classified in the New York City register of historical monuments since 1993, the most emblematic hotel of the American metropolis always offers a luxury environment and amenities in relation to its 5* ranking
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Food and drink
At 301 Park Avenue, at the corner of 49th street. In the middle of Midtown East. The hotel is 17 miles away from La Guardia airport, 16 miles away from JFK, and 17 miles away from Newark. Five blocks away from Grand Central Station and lines 4, 5, 6 & 7.
Impossible to give details here of the different types of bedrooms offered in the Waldorf because there are about thirty. You should know that the smallest one, the Marilyn's Suite, measures 25 m², but the average is around 30/35 m². All are very comfortable and perfectly equipped. They have excellent bedding, cable television (43 channels), fax machine, Internet, double telephone line, minibar, dressing-room, ironing table and iron and a tea/coffee maker. The classic decoration is flawless. The bathrooms are also impeccable - decorated in marble, they offer bathrobes, a bathtub, many welcome products and a hair dryer. Safes are available for free at the front desk.
Totally renovated in 1999, the imposing building hosting the Waldorf Astoria occupies an entire city block,between the very elegant Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue. Here more than anywhere else, space and dimension take on real meaning. With its very high ceiling, the lobby of the hotel is truly palatial, decorated in a magnificent art deco style, with mosaic floors, columns, gilts and chandeliers. It leads to several restaurants, ballrooms, conference rooms and many luxury outlets (jewellery, clothes, rare books). The 1,426 rooms of the hotel are housed on 27 floors with large hallways and thick carpeting. Besides a multitude of conference rooms, the hotel has a large business centre and a beautiful fitness center, located on the 18th floor (19th level) in which a spa will be integrated in 2002. Anyone coming to the Waldorf for its environment and its amenities, will not be disappointed with the quality of the service or the accommodations: both are perfect.
The Waldorf has no less than 4 restaurants, offering different specialities. Located near the lobby, the magnificent Peacock Alley, is famous for its contemporary French cuisine, prepared by the chef Laurent Gras. It is open for breakfast and diners (a tuxedo is required for dinner) as well as for brunches on Sundays (famous in New York). On 49th street and Lexington Avenue, the Bull & Bear Restaurant and Bar is notable not only for its setting that looks like a London gentleman's club with a sumptuous decoration in mahogany, but also for the quality of its seafood and meats. The Bull & Bear, used to be only for men, displays jazz concerts on Wednesday and Thursday evenings (proper attire required in any case). With its American pub setting and casual atmosphere, the Oscar's Restaurant, located at the level of 50th street, offers contemporary American cuisine, a la carte or buffet-style, for all 3 meals of the day. Finally, the award of decoration goes to the Inagiku, whose setting combines Japanese decorative traditions and modern style with a cuisine that still has enthusiasts since its opening, 26 years ago. It is located on the side of 49th Street (at 111 East, lunch during the week only, dinner 7 days a week)
The Waldorf was the biggest hotel in the world in 1931. It has occupied its Park Avenue building since 1931, but has actually been a hotel since 1893. Animals are not accepted. A spa is due to be built in 2002. Children up to and including 18 year-olds stay for free, if they stay in their parents's room.
Although coming up to its eleventh anniversary as The Benjamin, this 1927 building now has an interior to match its Art Deco origins. During this past decade no renovation has been undertaken and it is true to say that this is starting to show. However this does not take away from the quality of the product or from the service which remains top notch. Just like the other properties in the Denihan Hospitality Group (notably the Affinias), the rooms are spacious and the hotel is ideal if you're looking for a traditional, more classic style of base from which to uncover the city. Recommended for tourists (couples, friends or families) and for business travellers wanting a comfortable space in which to work.
If you've read some other of our New York hotel reviews then you'll be familiar with our view of chain hotels: the one huge advantage is that, wherever you are in the world, you know exactly what to expect. With Hyatt, expectations run relatively high and the newest addition to the group's New York portfolio will certainly go a long way to justifying that attitude. The hotel has some of the largest standard rooms in the city which are superbly appointed, it has a unique public lounge, sleek design and a buzzing restaurant serving good, honest fare. The property is perfect for any type of traveller and party size and has a great central Manhattan location. Very difficult to fault.
The name says it all. If any hotel in New York has the right to stick the word 'palace' to the end if its name, it's this one. As soon as you walk in the door you sense you're in for something special. The rooms are some of the plushest we saw, the views are incredible, it has a Michelin-starred restaurant and a top quality spa and fitness centre, not to mention a fascinating history. We'd recommend highly this fabulously located, lavish property for all types of traveller, no matter what their motive for travel. And if you don't believe us, ask anyone who has stayed; we didn't hear a bad word!
Right opposite the Kimberly on East 50th Street, the San Carlos is a solid mid-range hotel very much in the New York vain with generously proportioned rooms, classic, non-offensive décor and practical features such as the kitchenette. While the rooms are certainly highly functional and indubitably comfortable with some unique touches, spectacular they are not, catering more to those looking for a reliable Midtown base for either work or play. While the hotel does have a modest fitness centre there are no wellness facilities on site although the complimentary business centre is a bonus, as is the free continental breakfast (as long as you are not looking for anything fancy).
Unlike any other hotel in the city, the Roger Smith is one of the most personable and homely properties in New York. It may not be as fashionable or 'bling' as many of the island's hotels, but guests coming here are not looking for that anyway. The real interest is the comfortable, familiar accommodation, the convenient location, friendly service, historical interiors and original artwork (more about that in 'To Know'). Perfect for all types of traveller of any age, you'll be sure to get a warm welcome and enjoy a memorable stay at this unique property.
If you're looking for a decent, modest and practical hotel from which to discover New York, then you can't go far wrong with the Affinia 50. It is not at all along the lines of many of New York's new, design-orientated, exclusive properties, but is geared towards the tourist or business person more concerned about location and efficient service. The larger rooms in the hotel are perfect for families with several children and even the basic rooms enjoy that all-too-elusive asset in the city: space.
This is one for the traditionalists. A stalwart of the New York hotel scene, the Kimberly is primarily a suite hotel, 19th century European in style, whose grandeur has made it a favourite among foreign dignitaries and businessmen in the city for long periods. The hotel mixes old and new in several ways, including with the addition in the rooms of modern amenities to the traditional (dated) décor. It has a great location, spacious rooms and a hot nightspot in the form of Niki. This really is a hotel suited to everyone, not only in terms of the accommodations it offers, but also on a price level. If you don't want to risk trying out a new trendy hotel which often compromises space or service, the Kimberly's hotel for you.
The Omni Berkshire Place is very smart 1930s-style hotel with some very sleek contemporary touches right in the heart of Manhattan. It would be misleading to say that it has one particular feature that sets it aside from its competitors, but it does what it does extremely well, maintaining a high level of service and comfort throughout. It boasts well-appointed, spacious guestrooms and suites with good amenities, a very pleasant rooftop terrace with views of St. Patrick's Cathedral and a full service restaurant which serves decent fare if you do not want to head out for a meal. Able to meet the expectations of both the business and leisure traveller, one could do a lot worse in this part of town.
Let's not mince our words; The Peninsula is quite simply one of the finest hotels in New York, even more so now it is the other side of a renovation. From the very first moment you enter the hotel you'll have no doubt about the quality of experience that awaits you. There is very little to pick holes at here where excellence comes as standard: the large rooms are finely furnished, the restaurants of the highest caliber, the spa one of the most beautiful and complete in the city and the service faultless. Like all top class hotels this all comes at a certain price, however if there was ever one hotel which could justify the cost it would be this one.
Q. What do you get when you take $150 million and put them into the hands of one of the world's greatest architect/designers? A. The Mark. Be under no illusions, what Jacques Grange and co have conceived in the leafy surroundings of the Upper Eastside is now the yardstick against which all other hotels will now have to measure themselves. After over two years under renovation with some of the most sought after names in the creative fields working on the project, The Mark has transformed itself from a decent hotel to a hotel of superlatives. Everything is top draw from the design to the staff, from the food to the wellness centre. This all, of course, comes with the price tag that its quality demands, however rest assured that no other hotel can come close to what The Mark has to offer.
We're going to stick our necks out here and say that of all the hotels we have stayed at in this city, the Setai probably takes top spot. Of course there are many different types of hotel in the city and not everyone is looking for what the Setai has to offer, but as on overall experience, it can't, in our opinion, be bettered. The rooms are not only some of the biggest in the city, but they are likely to be the best appointed in terms of amenities too. The stunning, contemporary spa is as luxurious as it is spacious and in its restaurant the hotel has one of most memorable dining experiences to be had. But what impressed us most, and where the hotel rises above it competitors, is the consistent attention to detail and impeccable service the likes of which we've never seen. Although new (November 2010 opening), this is right up there with the old masters and the best thing is that it can only get better!
We were quite simply blown away by this hotel. Rare are the occasions where there is nothing to fault, but staying here was one of those - it just couldn't put a foot wrong. Generously proportioned, impressively appointed rooms are complemented by a relaxed yet top class Italian restaurant, while the spa is a sight to behold. You'll have a tough job finding a property where the service is paralleled and don't even get us started on the views! A magnificent, modern and memorable hotel, we recommend the Trump Soho to all kinds of traveller, newcomers or old hands, couples or families. A huge thumbs up.
The Pierre has always been a landmark hotel in New York City?and we are glad to report that after its latest $100 million renovation following its takeover by Taj Hotels, it is still very much one of the hotels by which others must judge themselves. It is true to say that it may not have some of the facilities of some of the other top hotels (no spa, smaller rooms), but when it comes to service, style and sophistication, not to mention history, it is untouchable. With a location that would make most hotels weep with envy, fabulously appointed rooms with an Asian touch and a new, top quality restaurant, The Pierre is back on top of its game and ready to welcome once again all types of traveller, no matter their motive for visiting the city. All this comes, of course, at a price, but if you had to choose a place to spend your hard earned cash, this has got to be near the summit of your shortlist.
You may be coming to the United States to see New York, but the St. Regis is a destination in itself. The most sumptuous hotel we have visited to date in the city, its beautiful Beaux-Arts interiors are a sight to behold. It's (rightly) famed for its unrivalled service and King Cole Bar (more in 'Food and Drink') as well as its beautiful, spacious and well appointed rooms, however it does lack some of the high tier amenities of its rivals, such as a swimming pool, and the views are not quite as good. That said it can boast an Alain Ducasse restaurant and original antique décor. It's true to say that some may find the hotel's opulence a little overbearing, but let's not lose sight of the fact that this is nonetheless a true masterpiece. Even if you don't have the means to stay here, come and take a look around as the property has some unique features. Couples, friends or business travellers will all find their calling at the St. Regis.
Although no longer associated with its Parisian namesake, the Plaza Athénée New York continues to offer one of the most refined hotel experiences in the city. Its style may not be as subtle as some of its competitors and thus some many find it a little overwhelming, but there is no getting away from the fact the hotel is a class act from top to bottom. It boasts capacious, well-appointed and recently renovated rooms (January 2010), a fine wellness centre, a celebrated restaurant and bar and an impeccable service from a smart, professional staff. If you're after that classic European opulence the other side of the Atlantic then the well-located Plaza Athénée is one to consider.
Take a step back in time (through a passage lined with suede and leather, of course) to the golden age of travel and the magnificent new Art Deco hotel The Chatwal. Opened recently in August of 2011, it has quickly become one of the places to stay in New York and to be honest, it isn't difficult to see why: a dream location in the heart of Manhattan, superbly appointed, world ?class accommodations, a luxury spa and a fine restaurant. Marrying both old world glamour and modern day luxury, this 'baby grand' hotel will appeal to those looking for good old fashioned service in a romantic setting with everything that makes this a great city within reach.