Home Hotels NYC Waldorf=Astoria Sold Its Classic Furniture. Here’s What They Should Have Done

NYC Waldorf=Astoria Sold Its Classic Furniture. Here’s What They Should Have Done

by joeheg

One of my best points hacking achievements was booking a room at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York with a mistake rate from the Visa Luxury Collection where you paid for 1 night and got one night free.  Not long before the hotel closed for a massive renovation, we stayed in a room in the Towers section for 1/2 price plus a $75 room credit.

We had an amazing stay and since the closure, I’ve been following the hotel’s multi-year renovation. One thing I was the most disappointed about was the auctioning off of the hotel’s furniture. They didn’t just sell the everyday items but the furniture from many of the famous suites hit the auction block at the end of the year. 80,000 of them to be exact.

Anyone can now own classic 19th century French furniture from the Windsor Suite, the Cole Porter Suite, the Winston Churchill Suite and the Presidential Suite, among others. The furnishings include bespoke chandeliers, a Steinway grand piano and Charles X-style benches.

Who am I to tell the hotel what to do with its furniture? I have no problem with proceeds from the auction going to the St. Bartholomew’s Conservancy to help restore the exteriors and gardens of St. Bartholomew’s Church and Community House, located across the street from the hotel.

But to be honest, what was wrong with this furniture?

I’ve seen what a hotel can do with classic furniture and I think the Waldorf Astoria missed out on an opportunity.

When we returned to the Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, Austria after the hotel went through a massive makeover, one of the hotel concierges gave us a tour. It wasn’t an official tour, mind you. He appreciated that we were interested in what they did during the renovation and stepped away from the desk for 30 minutes to show us around. That’s why the concierges at the Goldener Hirsch have forever spoiled us.

The most impressive thing to us was how the rooms still had a charming character, evevn after the renovation.

The concierge explained that immediately after the hotel closed, a crew of master craftsmen went to work to custom build inserts to bring the antique furnishings to modern standards. This was a difficult task as no two furniture pieces in the 70 rooms and suites are alike. The work wasn’t finished until just days before the hotel reopened.

Let me know if you’d mind having this furniture in your room.

If you were wondering, both of our nightstands had plugs and USB outlets.

Instead of putting effort into updating the furnishings at the Waldorf=Astoria, the current owners decided it would be better to donate them to charity. Might I ask what your preference would be if being able to choose from using the same nightstand as Winston Churchill or being able to charge your phone at your bedside? Even better, what if I told you that was a false choice and you could have charged your phone from the same nightstand that Winston Churchill used?

Final Thoughts

Since the Waldorf=Astoria’s interior and exterior are considered historical, there’s not much that can be done to them. However, the owners can do whatever they want to the guest floors. Part of me was sad to see that they would bring in new furnishings to bring the hotel to modern standards. If they had only looked to the Goldener Hirsch, they would have seen it’s possible to achieve that with antiques if you really have the desire to do so.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

4 comments

Christian December 14, 2020 - 3:57 pm

While I certainly wish that they had done as you suggest, there may have been some valid reasons not to do so. I’m not defending the hotel but maybe they felt that they couldn’t do renovations in a timely and effective manner, or it would have cost a great deal more to repair the existing pieces or too many were beyond reasonable repair. Still, all things being equal I’d rather have the historical furniture if possible.

Reply
tuotuo December 15, 2020 - 8:01 am

That is how things end when sold to Chinese

Reply
joeheg December 15, 2020 - 1:49 pm

I think it would be with anyone. It just depends on they’re doing with the renovation

Reply
Quo Vadis? December 28, 2020 - 11:43 pm

To the point above, it would be hilarious to find out the Waldorf replaced all the furnishings with classic Oriental pieces.

Reply

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