The Waldorf Astoria shut its doors Wednesday to undergo an extensive renovation over the next two to three years, bringing to a close a chapter of the historic luxury hotel.
The final guests were scheduled to check out at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday as the hotel’s owners prepare to convert more than a third of the 1,413 rooms into luxury condominiums, according to a spokesman.
The hotel has been a symbol of high society Manhattan since the original building's construction in 1893 (the current hotel was built in 1931), and has been home to such celebrities and dignitaries as Cole Porter, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, President Herbert Hoover, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Edward, Duke of Windsor.
The current owner of the Waldorf Astoria, Chinese insurance giant Anbang, bought the hotel from Hilton in 2014 for $1.95 billion, and plans to turn 500 hotel rooms into 321 apartments across 31 floors, and outfit the building with a new fitness center, retail space and restaurant, according to plans filed Thursday.
The building itself is a New York City landmark, and the city is currently considering whether or not to designate several interior areas of the hotel as landmarks. Initial construction will not affect the parts of the hotel that are landmarked or under consideration, according to a statement from Anbang.
"The Waldorf Astoria New York is part of the fabric of New York City,” a spokesman said. “As stewards of this iconic landmark and its historic legacy, we are committed to restoring its public spaces to their original beauty, ensuring that the hotel retains its rightful place as a premier focal point for the city and a premier destination for the world.”
We traced the history of the hotel, from its founding on the current site of the Empire State Building to present day in the timeline below: