Waldorf Astoria History

When Conrad N. Hilton wrote "The greatest of them all" on a picture of the Waldorf Astoria New York in 1932, his dream to own the hotel and expand the brand was just being realized.

In 1949, Conrad N. Hilton acquired this legendary New York landmark and embedded in it, the ideal “to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality.” Today the hotel serves as the inspiration for the Waldorf Astoria Collection and for every unique Waldorf Astoria hotel and resort located in all corners of the world. The legacy of wonderful discoveries and extraordinary experiences created by the Waldorf Astoria has nurtured many of the most glamorous hotels around the world.

William Waldorf Astor, the son of John Jacob Astor III, founded the 13-story Waldorf Hotel on his own property on 5th Avenue, the most busy and vibrant street in New York. Since the hotel officially opened business in 1893, it has become the much-sought-after destination for successful businessmen, social elites and celebrities around the world. Four years later, Mr. Astor’s cousin John Jacob Astor IV founded the 17-story Astoria Hotel next to the Waldorf Hotel. The two grandiose and renowned hotels were both designed by Henry Hardenbergh, a famous hotel designer unique in the field of aesthetics, who insisted on connecting the two hotels with a 300-foot long hallway. The hallway has now become a timeless symbol of the Waldorf Astoria New York and is visually represented by the double hyphen in the hotel’s name “Waldorf=Astoria.”

Within the walls of the Waldorf Astoria lie legendary stories that are forever etched into the minds of our guests. Hollywood icons including Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly created unforgettable memories at the Waldorf Astoria. Heads of State and dignitaries from far and wide called the hotel their home away from home. Famous Chinese dignitaries including Li Hongzhang, Deng Xiaoping and Soong May-ling experienced authentic Waldorf moments when they came to stay at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

Today, this proud legacy defines who we are and paints a picture of our future. Every hotel that bears the name Waldorf Astoria brings the same refined spirit of excellence to contemporary travelers. Simply put, we challenge ourselves to be the standard by which others are measured.