I'd wanted to stay at the Waldrof Astoria since I was a little girl. Imagine my surprise when my husband suggested that we extend our trip to visit his parents and spend a few days in the city! We promptly booked our room and I anxiously waited. My husband and I travel extensively and I always love to stay at historic properties, and this was no exception.
Arrival was fine, although no one offered to help me schlep my bags up the steps. The line at the reception desk was lengthy and they seemed a bit understaffed, but I was undeterred. I was going to LOVE this hotel. We got our room keys and proceeded to the 16th floor. Exiting the elevator, I was struck with the vague smell of curry and stale cigarette smoke. Little did I know, those odors would be a slight foreshadowing of things to come.
We entered our room. I was immediately overcome with a striking smell that I can only equate to a sweaty jockstrap that has been festering inside a gym bag in a hot vehicle in the Texas heat for days on end. It stung my nose. The smell pricked at my eyes. My husband looked at me quizzically. I looked at him alarmingly. I set my bags down and looked around the room. I heard my husband exclaim "Look at this! I think someone peed on our chair!" On the chair in the corner of our room was a rather large and unsettling stain. I asked him if he thought that was what we were smelling. He braved up and took a sniff. Lucky for us, it was a random garden variety stain with no smell. Hmmm.
It was stuffy and warm in the room, so I turned the AC on. I was hoping that the cooling the room down would help mitigate the smell. The AC was laughable at best. It sputtered cool air out of one set of vents only. My husband offered a feeble "maybe it's just a musty old hotel and everything smells?" I left it at that. We only had two days in the city and I didn't want to waste anymore time in our decrepit old room. I walked into the bathroom to freshen up before we went shopping and exploring, and I noticed that the "festering jockstrap smell" was substantially worse. My investigations for the day ended there.
My husband and I slept in the next morning (it WAS vacation, after all) and I was the first to get up and get a shower. There was a fantastic breakfast place at Grand Central that I had been dying to try. I turned on the shower and let the water warm up before I got in...and that's when I noticed it. Our tub didn't drain. AT ALL. I tried to take the fastest shower possible as the water was steadily rising, but it was difficult. It was difficult because the water wouldn't maintain any kind of temperature. It would go from being scalding hot to lukewarm to cold to scalding hot again all within a minutes time (and no adjusting on the knob). I was constantly jumping around trying to not freeze/burn myself. It was a TERRIBLE shower, with crappy water pressure to boot.
I'm not a diva. Not by any means. I'm an avid outdoorsman and trekker and I've stayed in some pretty shady places in my life; but at this point, I was OVER the Waldorf Astoria. For the amount of money and status that this place has, I was disappointed. It took the tub a full 38 minutes to drain before my husband could take his shower. It answered the question of the gross jockstrap smell, but it begged another question: Why hadn't housekeeping noticed this and how long had it been since that tub had actually been cleaned? Alarming, to say the least.
My husband called guest services to ask if we could have a new room. They wouldn't have anything available until after 5pm, so we'd either need to wait or check our luggage at reception. Seeing as we were traveling with a ton of expensive camera equipment, checking our luggage wasn't an option. We waited. They sent a maintenance man to fix the tub. He arrived and worked on the tub and assured us that it would be "perfect". It was after one o'clock by the time we left the hotel. I didn't get breakfast. I didn't even get a coffee. Over half a day of our very short trip was wasted while this ridiculous tub problem got solved.
This brings me to a few other minor annoyances that I experienced during our short stay: The curry/cigarette smell never subsided. What IS THIS?! Why can't a hotel as iconic as the Waldorf Astoria manage to put a coffee maker in the room? Even LA QUINTA provides a coffee maker. Someone also really needs to get on updating the AC in this place. Even turned down as low as it would go, I would still wake up sweaty in the middle of the night (which explains why there are no comforters on the beds).
Although it was a minor annoyance, I'm not factoring in the lack of electrical outlets in the room as it is an older hotel. I will caution you though if you're staying on business to look elsewhere.
The only positives of our stay? The bed was comfortable, there were plenty of pillows and I had a partial view of the Chrysler building. That's about it. Other than that, I've had more comfortable and pleasant stays at roadside motels.
I won't even go into detail about the verbal altercation that took place in front of us between the bellman and our cabbie the morning we left. I'll just say that it was the height of unprofessionalism.
I can't remember the last time in my adult life that I was so utterly disappointed and let down by something that I was excited for. Thankfully, my husband and I laugh at just about everything and we've turned this disgusting memory into something that we'll laugh about for a long time to come. And no, we won't ever be returning.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Waldorf Astoria New York is temporarily closed while undergoing a complete renovation and restoration. It is planned to reopen in 2019/2020. Waldorf Astoria New York will feature restored historic public and event spaces along with luxury condominiums and guest rooms and suites that will set a new standard for luxury and service in New York. ---- New York’s grandest landmark hotel, the city's first sky-scraper hotel opened on October 31, 1931, and is still delighting visitors with its elegant Art Deco accommodations. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Astoria Waldorf
- New York Waldorf
- Waldorf Historia
- Waldorf New York
- Hotel Waldorf New York
- Waldorf Astoria Hotel New York
- Astoria New Waldorf York