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Waldorf=Astoria Hotel

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Waldorf=Astoria hotel

The Waldorf=Astoria (often simplified to Waldorf-Astoria) is an American 42-story luxury hotel and Art Deco landmark located on Park Avenue in Manhattan since 1931. It is owned by the Hilton Hotels Corporation.

The hotel has three American and classic European restaurants, and a beauty parlor, Kenneth's Salon, located off the main lobby. Several luxurious boutiques surround the distinctive lobby, which has won awards for its restoration to the original period character.

An even more luxurious, virtual "hotel within a hotel" in its upper section is known as The Waldorf Towers.

Though the hotel's name is often rendered with a single hyphen, it is officially spelled with an equal sign, for now-historical reasons.

History

An Astor family feud contributed to the events which led to the construction of the original Waldorf=Astoria on Fifth Avenue.

It started as two hotels: one owned by William Waldorf Astor, whose 13-story Waldorf Hotel was opened in 1893 and the other owned by John Jacob Astor IV, called the Astoria Hotel and opened four years later and four stories higher.

William Astor, motivated in part by a dispute with his aunt, built the original Waldorf Hotel next door to her home, on the site of his father's mansion and today's Empire State Building. The hotel was built to the specifications of George C. Boldt; he and his wife Louise had become known as the operators of the Bellevue-Stratford, a boutique hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Louise Boldt had been instrumental in making that hotel attractive and socially acceptable to wealthy women.

William Astor's construction of a hotel next to his aunt's home furthered and strengthened his feud with her. But with Boldt's help, John Astor persuaded his aunt to move uptown. John Astor then built the Astor Hotel and leased it to Boldt. Intially foreseen as two separate entities, Boldt had planned the new structure so that it could be connected to the old by means what became known as Peacock Alley. To symbolize the connection, the name of the combined hotel was given a double hyphen. The combined Waldorf=Astoria became the largest hotel in the world at the time, while maintaining the original Waldorf's high standards.

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