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  1. Property
September 11, 2023

Inside Waldorf Astoria New York’s luxury residences

The Waldorf Astoria New York is undergoing a top-to-toe makeover that will create 375 ultra-luxurious condominiums at one the world's most famous addresses

By Suzanne Elliott

New York’s Waldorf Astoria is undergoing an unprecedented makeover led by renowned architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill that promises to give this Park Avenue icon a 21st-century facelift while preserving the hotel’s original Art Deco design.

The Waldorf Astoria is getting more than a fresh lick of paint; the estimated $1 billion (and counting) restoration has been six years in the making, but when finished (the second half of 2024 is the best estimate at present), the nearly 100-year-old property will be transformed with up to three-quarters of its rooms converted into apartments.

The result will be known as Waldorf Astoria Residences New York – 375 private homes located above the hotel, offering HNWs a chance to own a piece of one of the world’s most famous addresses.

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[See also: Knightsbridge Gardens: Discover the UK’s first super-prime rentals]

Luxury condos on top of a New York icon

The apartments, ranging from studios to four-bedroom units and penthouses, start from $1.8 million with the larger apartments on the market for $18.5 million.

The interiors were designed by Jean-Louis Deniot whose custom creations promise to complement the building’s Art Deco history with contemporary luxury. The artwork, curated by world-renowned auctioneer and collector Simon de Pury, will, we’re told, add ‘a touch of modern glamour to the historic building’.

View of a dressing room in a Waldorf Astoria Residences in New York
The residences were designed by internationally acclaimed designer Jean-Louis Deniot /Image: Noë & Associates / The Boundary
View of a bedroom in a Waldorf Astoria Residences in New York
A look inside the Waldorf Astoria Residences New York / Image: Noë & Associates / The Boundary.

The makeover of a New York legend

The latest in the boom for branded residences, the Waldorf Astoria’s luxury condos give residents an opportunity to own a property and a slice of New York history – one that combines the luxury and convenience of a hotel with the comfort of home.

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The revamped hotel is to have 375 guest rooms, down from the original 1,400 – although new rooms and suites will be twice as large as the original ones.

[See also: ‘If you ask the price, you can’t afford it’ – Waldorf Astoria’s new Maldives retreat reviewed]

While the luxury residences are a first for the Waldorf Astoria, glamorous residents are not. The Manhattan landmark has welcomed many long-term guests since it opened in 1931. Cole Porter lived in the hotel for the last three decades of his life and immortalised the hotel’s namesake Waldorf Salad in his song ‘You’re the Top’.

Over the years, a who’s-who of world leaders and celebrities have stayed here, including every president from Herbert Hoover to Barack Obama. Back in the ’70s, Frank Sinatra leased Suite 33A – at a reported $1 million a year – while Marilyn Monroe stayed in Suite 2728 for much of 1955. Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor also chose to call the hotel home.

Kitchen in a Waldorf Astoria Residences in New York
The latest in the boom for branded residences, the Waldorf Astoria’s luxury condos give residents a slice of New York history Noë & Associates / The Boundary
View of a kitchen in a Waldorf Astoria Residences in New York
View of one of the high-spec kitchens in a Waldorf Astoria Residences in New York / Image: Noë & Associates / The Boundary

What amenities can residents expect at the Waldorf Astoria?

As you would expect from a branded residence attached to a name so synonymous with luxury – which also happened to be the first hotel to offer room service – residents are promised the highest number of service staff of any super-luxury residential building in New York, including a dedicated on-site concierge.

The residential experience will be separate from the hotel with residents given exclusive access to amenities, including a showpiece 25-metre starlight pool that overlooks Park Avenue. The verdant Winter Garden and the Starlight Lounge are two of the four private bars exclusive to residents, a nod to the famous entertaining spaces at the original Waldorf Astoria.

[See also: How the ‘branded residence’ became a go-to for the global super-rich]

There’s also a fitness centre and private spas complete with sauna, steam room, showers, and treatment rooms.

The concierge closet allows the secure and private delivery of packages, laundry and room service, and is accessible from both the common corridor as well as inside the home.

View of a bathroom in a Waldorf Astoria Residences in New York
The Waldorf Astoria has been a beacon of timeless glamour and luxury for nearly a century / Image: Noë & Associates / The Boundary
View of a bathroom in a Waldorf Astoria Residences in New York
Great attention has been given to the original Art Deco design / Image: Noë & Associates / The Boundary.

When will the Waldorf Astoria apartments be ready to move into?

The hotel’s restoration, along with the creation of these new residences, is being spearheaded by Beijing-based owner and developer Dajia Insurance Group, formerly known as Anbang.

Work on the restoration began in 2017 and it has met some challenges. The hotel was sold by the Hilton Group to Anbang Insurance Group of China for a reported $1.95 billion in 2014, making it the most expensive hotel ever sold at the time. 

In 2017, Anbang was seized by the Chinese government after its chairman was arrested and charged with corruption. The Chinese government established a new company, Dajia Insurance Group, to take charge of Anbang’s overblown US portfolio.

Then, three years into the revamp, the Covid-19 pandemic further stalled development.

The latest estimate for the hotel to open is the second half of 2024. The apartments are for sale through Knight Frank, who says there have been ‘thousands’ of enquiries, although did not mention how many have been sold.

‘This will be an exciting opportunity for buyers to own a piece of New York City history. We aren’t just selling extraordinarily beautiful residences, amenities and services; we’re offering the opportunity to buy into a legacy that can never again be duplicated,’ said Loretta Bradbury Shanahan, Director of Sales at the Waldorf Astoria Residences New York.

The exterior of the Waldorf Astoria hotel on Park Avenue, Manhattan, February 25th 2017, the historic hotel is set to close for work that will transform it into a smaller hotel but with more apartments (Photo by Epics/Getty Images)
The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria offer HNWIs a chance to own one of the most famous addresses in the world / Image: Getty

‘There is no more glamorous residential lifestyle in New York City, and we are very excited about bringing the property to the market after receiving thousands of inquiries from as close as Park Avenue to the far corners of the world.’

Oliver Banks, associate at Knight Frank said: ‘Despite the uncertain times, high-quality real estate remains attractive to high-net-worth individuals around the world and this is demonstrated by the number of enquiries received and reservations made by Knight Frank in the project. Buyers are looking to invest in stable real estate markets – whether as an investment, a pied-a-terre or even purchasing for their children to live as they see out their school or university years in New York.’

The boom in branded residences

The Waldorf Astoria Residences New York will certainly be riding a wave of branded residences.

The latest analysis by Knight Frank shows that the current pipeline of branded residences is projected to increase the global total by almost two-thirds.

Currently Knight Frank records 186 live and operational branded residence projects, with 138 more in the pipeline, mostly scheduled for completion by the end of 2026.

These projects make up 15,774 residences, which when the current pipeline is added, reaches a staggering 25,915.

While branded residences are a hugely growing space, with so many players experts have warned of a need to find ways to differentiate themselves and create a unique offer for customers – a problem the Waldorf Astoria with its rich history and stamp of ultra-luxury is unlikely to have.

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