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“In a word: Disgusting”

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Waldorf Astoria New York
Ranked #259 of 470 Hotels in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 8, 2013

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.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Megan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Megan_Hennessey, Public Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria New York, responded to this reviewResponded July 15, 2013

Good Afternoon Megan P,

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about your stay. We are devastated to learn about the different issues you encountered at the Waldorf Astoria. We strive to provide each and every guest with an unforgettable experience. We are terribly sorry that we were unable to do this for you. We understand that an uncomfortable odor can be extremely frustrating, and that it is difficult to enjoy yourself when the temperature is not regulated. We would really like to look into these concerns a bit further, so that we might determine which room you were in, and why there were so many issues in the room. Should you have a moment, please email me with the confirmation number from your stay, as well as your Tripadvisor username. Please accept our sincerest apologies for the frustration you dealt with during your time at the Waldorf Astoria.

Thank you,
Megan Hennessey
megan.hennessey@waldorfastoria.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,220 - 6,226 of 11,545 reviews

Reviewed July 8, 2013

Had a great two night stay with my husband and young daughter. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. The location is great for sight seeing on foot. Our room was very comfortable and surprisingly big for Manhattan.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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Thank Danielle C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Megan_Hennessey, Public Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria New York, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Good Afternoon Danielle C,

Thank you so much for your feedback. We are so happy to learn that you and your family enjoyed your recent stay at the Waldorf Astoria, and that you found our staff to be helpful and attentive! We hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back again soon.

Thank you,
Megan Hennessey

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

Much like the historied and ornate estates of the British Empire after WWI, the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, NY, has seen slightly better days -- and it may need a good match with a wealthy benefactor to recover its former grandeur.

Upon arrival, you will be awe-inspired no matter the time of day or the weather conditions. The imposing Art Deco facade remains a beautiful, gilted contrast to the citadel of mid-century glass and steel towers that line Park Avenue. If possible, enter through the Park Ave. front entrance instead of the auto entrance around to the back and enjoy the schoolbook deco lobby with high ceilings leading to the panelled reception lobby. But brace yourself. This is where the next chapter begins ...

... The number of front desk agents is far fewer than neccessary. And the check-in line was long and restless. Have they considered a water station in the lobby for guest arrivals? The front desk agents were all very pleasant and friendly but I felt sorry for them. Upon arriving to my room on a high floor, I discovered several stains and housekeeping mishaps. Charm at a historic hotel may mean a frayed valance or a knick in the dresser. This was something entirely different. I took pictures and shared them with the agent downstairs who sincerely apologized and promptly UPGRADED me to another room although on a lower floor. If you aren't satisfied with a room, say something. Hear me people?

THE BASICS: LOCATION For location, the WA can't be beat. It's a quick walk to shopping, museums, and the theatre district. If you are taking a taxi before the theatre, leave early. Many of the guests will be hailing a taxi at the same time. ROOM: Bed is comfy and rooms are spacious. Nice Ferragamo products. APPEAL: For friendliness it's near the top. FOOD & BEV: Hotel restaurants and bar are mediocre and expensive. One mixed drink and a separate Coca-Cola approached $40 with standard tip. For that price, you're better off going to the Carlyle and enjoying live entertainment. BACK TO LOCATION: The Midtown location is quiet at night. All in all, would I suggest the hotel? Of course I would. It's like living in a Woody Allen movie for a few days. I'm sure some sultan will attempt to re-do it some day, but I hope they keep the charm -- even the nicks in the furniture. BTW -- I've stayed there since family trips in the eighties and on until the present day.

Room Tip: It's hit or miss. If you miss, start over again and share pictures!
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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Thank MoeBAtlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Megan_Hennessey, Public Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria New York, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Good Afternoon MoeBAtlanta,

Thank you so much for your feedback. We are so glad to learn that you had an overall positive experience at the Waldorf Astoria. We are so sorry that you experienced some difficulties with your guestroom at first, but we are happy to hear that our staff was able to assist you promptly. We have passed your suggestion for a water station along to our guest services team. We want to do everything we can do to keep our guests happy! We hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to the Waldorf Astoria again.

Thank you,
Megan Hennessey

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

If this is going to be your first time in NY then this is where you want to be to experience everything NY has to offer. There are many pros and cons to this hotel but do keep in mind the rich history it offers so in that case the pros win. A very large and busy hotel for that matter with events going on everywhere (high school party above us) so be prepared for this. Besides that the prices are consistent to the type of hotel and brand quality this is. With that in mind I could say that the Park just down the road is the same just closer to Central Park.

Room Tip: Stay away from the ballrooms if you want a nice and peaceful night.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Stefano L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Megan_Hennessey, Public Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria New York, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Good Afternoon Stefano L,

Thank you so much for your feedback. We are very glad to read that you enjoyed your recent stay at the Waldorf Astoria! We very much appreciate you sharing your photos and advice with our potential guests. We hope we will see you again next time you are in New York City.

Thank you,
Megan Hennessey

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

Beautiful Accommodations at the Waldorf Astoria right on Park Avenue in NYC. The welcome was warm, the beds were very comfortable. Our balcony had a view of the new Freedom Tower and view of the East River. How wonderful is that? We sipped wine and ate street vendor hotdogs with our view. I did have many perks as a Hilton Honors Gold member namely free internet, drink vouchers and free room upgrade. I highly recommend that you can achieve gold or diamond status. Am planning on a return trip in September. Wouldn't stay anywhere else.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Review collected in partnership with Waldorf Astoria
Thank LAtraveler015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Megan_Hennessey, Public Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria New York, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Good Afternoon LAtraveler015,

Thank you so much for your feedback. We are thrilled that you enjoyed your recent stay at the Waldorf Astoria. We are so glad that you will be returning again in September! We look forward to seeing you then.

Thank you,
Megan Hennessey

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2013

Excellent lobby and very up market.

Rooms we stayed in need a makeover - plugs all fused out when drying hair - sockets overloaded, cracks in bathroom, prehistoric carpets -.

Very disappointed with the Valet service ($60 per night plus the usual tips) when leaving - quick to get their tips on the way in. - I was directed to the pay station while leaving the valet with the bags and the family. - When I came back bags all loaded in to car and valet waiting with the keys - tipped the valet guy as I assumed he had loaded the car. - Got in the car to be told by the family that the kids had had to load the bags while the valet waited watching with the keys. - All I can say is NYC is money focused and people are only interested in their tips.

I am so annoyed that that I gave a tip in good faith and the guy had basically ripped my family off and given the worst service.- Sounds petty for a few dollars but just epitomised the attitude of New Yorkers. - Hope the hotel takes some action against this guy.

We had a better experience for cheaper last time at the Helmsley Hotel where we got a lovely suite for half the price and non of the pretence.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank ajhcollier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Megan_Hennessey, Public Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria New York, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Good Afternoon ajhcollier,

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about your experience at the Waldorf Astoria. We are terribly sorry to learn about the incident you encountered with the valet team. We certainly would like to look into this issue further to determine what happened, and what can be done to fix it moving forward. Should you have a moment, please email me with the confirmation number from your stay, as well as your Tripadvisor username.

Thank you in advance,
Megan Hennessey
megan.hennessey@waldorfastoria.com

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Reviewed July 7, 2013

What a disappointment. Check in was a shambles. Arrived at 12:30 and told rooms were not available because we had requested 2 rooms together. Could we leave outage and come back at 3pm. Had to take our own luggage to storage area. Came back at 6pm to be told rooms still not available. We could have rooms on different a floors if we wanted. Said no to this. We're told we needed to wait. No apology offered just told the Patel was busy and they would do the best they could. I had to formally complain and the best they could do was offer me free wifi!!!!!! You get free wifi in macdonalds and Starbucks!!!!!!!!!

When we eventually got into rooms they were disappointing. Looked like the have not been decorated for a long time, aircon extremely poor, bathroom poor. Seen better equipped rooms in a 3 star hotel in the UK.

Really really poor.

I will never come back to this.

You should send some of your staff to the Waldorf in Naples. They know how to treat people, what customer service is and what quality is.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Keith A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Megan_Hennessey, Public Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria New York, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Good Afternoon Keith A,

Thank you for your feedback. We are so discouraged to read that you were dissatisfied with your recent stay at the Waldorf Astoria. We are so sorry for the long period of time you were asked to wait for your guest room, and for each of your other listed concerns. We strive to provide each guest with an unforgettable experience, and we are devastated that we were unable to provide this for you. We would really like to have the opportunity to look into these issues a bit further. Should you have a moment, please email me with the confirmation number from your stay, as well as your TripAdvisor username.

Thank you,
Megan Hennessey
megan.hennessey@waldorfastoria.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Waldorf Astoria New York

Address: 301 Park Avenue, New York City, NY 10022-6844
Location: United States > New York > New York City > Midtown , Manhattan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#35 Spa Hotel in New York City
#107 Family Hotel in New York City
#176 Luxury Hotel in New York City
#192 Romantic Hotel in New York City
Price Range: $319 - $1,799 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Waldorf Astoria New York 4.5*
Number of rooms: 1235
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

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