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The Waldorf Astoria’s sale and 7 iconic New York City hotels

Anbang plans to close the Waldorf for up to three years.Anbang plans to close the Waldorf for up to three years.
Anbang plans to close the Waldorf for up to three years.Photo by Spencer Platt—Getty Images

News broke Monday that the iconic New York City Waldorf Astoria was bought by Chinese insurer Anbang for a whopping $1.95 billion. That’s a huge influx of cash for Hilton, which owns the high-end hotel, with its 47 stories and 1,232 rooms. The money is expected to be used for future expansions for Hilton’s brands, which also includes 27 Waldorf Astoria resorts worldwide.

And with the announcement and holiday season rapidly approaching, what better time than now to take a look at some of the most luxurious hotels in the city that never sleeps?

1. The Pierre

The Pierre is the flagship of Taj Hotels. Located on Fifth Avenue and overlooking Central Park, the luxury hotel has 149 guest rooms and 49 suites. It’s undergone a facelift, too, in 2009 when it received a “$100 million renovation debuting new guest rooms and bath interiors,” according to the hotel’s website. Travel + Leisure wrote about the hotel’s re-opening, too: “The Pierre-by-Taj refreshes the luxury and exclusivity that have long defined the hotel.” The publication also dubbed the revamped hotel “lighter” and “more contemporary,” with its new look including “interactive flat panel televisions in bedrooms, living rooms” and, yes, even “bathrooms,” according to the hotel’s site.


2. The St. Regis

Built by John Jacob Astor, another one of America’s most iconic hotels boasts room rates starting at over $1,000 a night. Just four blocks from Central Park, it’s been a New York City staple for over 100 years since construction completed in 1904. The hotel’s 229 rooms come equipped with amenities ranging from marble-tiled entryways to “luxe leather details,” according to its website. Even the name screams hotel royalty: it was named after both the Upper St. Regis Lake in the Adirondacks, which in turn was named for the French monk John Francis Regis, who was known for being especially hospitable to travelers. And if that wasn’t enough, surrealist painter Salvador Dali was reportedly one of the hotel’s most loyal patrons during the 1960s and 70s.

3. Trump International Hotel & Tower New York

Built and owned by the real estate tycoon himself, Donald Trump, the Trump International Hotel & Tower is located at 1 Central Park West on Columbus Circle. It isn’t just for hotel accommodations either. The 579-foot building also features condominiums. And if the celebrity didn’t add enough star power to the Donald Trump cachet and presumably  rich and famous clientele who stay there each night, this will: the building was featured in a 2011 comedy Tower Heist. The A-List cast featured Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller as its leads.

4. The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons in Midtown East boasts itself as New York’s “tallest five-star luxury hotel.” No wonder: the building towers 52 stories above Midtown (it also calls itself the tallest hotel in New York). The Four Seasons, which was founded in 1993, comes complete with 368 “ultra-spacious Manhattan hotel rooms and luxury suites off Park Avenue,” according to the website. Some other notable facts: the Ty Warner Penthouse Suite goes for over $40,000 per night. Meanwhile, its starting room rates are more than $1,200 per night.

5. The Ritz-Carlton

With a storied past and over 84 luxury hotels around the world, the Ritz-Calrton Hotel Company is a subsidiary of Marriott International. But in the early 1900s the brand was formed by Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz. It wasn’t until 1911 that the company decided to expand outside of Europe and into North America, including New York City. There are now two locations in the Big Apple: one by Central Park and the other in Battery Park. A room will cost you, however — with some going for about $700 per night on the website’s room search. While the Battery Park branch has 298 guest rooms, the Central Park location boasts “captivating Central Park South views,” according to its website.

6. The Plaza Hotel

The landmark 20-story Plaza Hotel is located on the west side of Grand Army Plaza. It’s a Historic Hotel of America, as deemed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and was opened in 1907. The cost? Just $12.5 million at the time. In the early 1900s, a room went for a whopping $2.50. Now, good luck finding one for less than $1,000. Among its most famous celebrities guests: The Beatles, when they first toured the United States in 1964. “A cultural oasis amid a bustling metropolis, The Plaza continues the tradition of defining luxury through unmatched service with a modern spirit,” according to the hotel’s website.


7. The Peninsula

Located on Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, the hotel was purchased by Hong Kong’s Pensinsula Hotel Group in 1988 for $127 million, a far cry from the nearly $2 billion paid for the Waldorf Astoria. Built in 1905 and then dubbed the Gotham Hotel, it features over 200 rooms with costs starting around $975 a night. “Of the same vintage as the neighboring St. Regis (both hotels were built between 1904 and 1905), the Peninsula has retained its decorative Beaux-Arts façade—but inside, old-world grandeur meets streamlined modernity,” according to Travel + Leisure.