The Waldorf Astoria is an iconic pillar of New York City. Designed during the Art Deco reign by architects Schultze and Weaver – a prominent, well respected firm in the 1920s – the Waldorf is the only art deco hotel in the United States. One would have to fly to Paris to visit the second, see the original home to art deco style, and burial ground of famed French artist,Louis Rigal.Waldorf-Astoria-II

Most famous for his murals, Rigal created the beauty showcased on the walls and floors of the Park Avenue Foyer. Opulent moldings decorated with gold leaves line the ceilings. Thirteen 8×10 allegorical oil murals traipse along the ceilings as the “Wheel of Life” mosaic covers the floor. Made from over 148,000 tiles and stones, the collective pieces come from all over the world with no bit being exactly the same. The original mosaic was hidden with carpet afterConrad Hilton purchased the Waldorf. Luckily, a flood occurred in the Vanderbilt Room (formerly the Hilton Room), forcing the carpeting to be pulled, uncovering the original, ornate masterpiece.

Continue through the foyer, to a darker more masculine arena, you’ll find the lobby clock. Emblazoned with the face of Queen Victoria, Benjamin Franklin and six notable presidents, the clock was a gift from Queen Victoria, for the 1893 Chicago World Fair. Below the reception, the home of the lobby clock lies the infamous Track 61. Track 61, now an abandoned track in Grand Central, was the railway President Franklin Roosevelt used on his trips to and from New York. As he was stricken with polio and bound to a wheelchair, the freight elevator was large enough to fit his phaeton, disguising his wheelchair usage.


Return to the hotel interiors and just a moments elevator ride up, you’ll enter the luxurious Guerlain Spa. The first Guerlain Spa in the United States, I might add, received a $20 million renovation. Famed for their Orchidée Impériale Cure facial, all estheticians are trained in the Guerlain Méthode, before Guerlain certification is granted. As new procedures are created, estheticians frequently go to Guerlain in France to be taught the latest and greatest, firsthand. But the luxury doesn’t stop in the training. The reception area houses lit Baccarat rain drop crystals, the silver plush seating is the perfect accessory for the dream walk-in closet, and the rose mosaic tiling the walls are made of none other than platinum.

From the being the first to allow women to roam unescorted, to the first to offer room service, to the first hotel to have a major motion filmed inside, the Waldorf Astoria, is not only a cultural, political and architectural venue for all to see – it’s a landmark filled with our history.