Tuesday, June 2, 2009

God Bless the Waldorf-Astoria

Ever heard of the Waldorf-Astoria?

Sure you have.
The Waldorf is, without question, the grand hotel in NYC. There's the Plaza, the Pierre, the Sherry-Netherland, the Carlyle -- but the Waldorf is the granddaddy of all the big name, luxury hotels in this town. It's the place where they invented the Waldorf salad. It's where the President of the USA stays when he's in town. It's where the UN Ambassador lives. It's where people like Hebert Hoover and Cole Porter and Bugsy Siegel have lived, and where celebs like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe have stayed (and probably got laid). It's not just a hotel -- it's a legend, an institution, an icon.

Most memorably it's where Al Pacino threatened to blow his brains out in Scent of a Woman.


So on our wedding night, my lovely bride and I decided to splurge a little and get a room -- I repeat a room -- at the Waldorf-Astoria. And my wife and I, being modest New Yorkers of modest means, had never spent the night a big time New York hotel. But we thought that, for our wedding night, why not indulge a little?

And we did.

Get to the hotel around 8:30 on our wedding night. We check in. We're asked to wait. The extremely nice guy behind the desk says they're gonna give us a little upgrade to a suite. Nice! we think. Of course in my humble provincial mind, I'm picturing a suite at the Waldorf as being basically a slightly nicer version of an Embassy Suite -- you know, a small living room dominated by a TV and a couch with a small hallway leading to a bedroom and bathroom.

We're told that the suite is actually in the Waldorf Towers -- Suite 37A. We need to use a card to operate the elevator to get up there. Up we go and our ears pop as we get to the 37th floor. Exit into a very brightly lit, gorgeous hallway. Get to the door for 37A and open up ... and we walk into a FOYER!

And I'm not talking about some little foyer, I'm talking a foyer that's bigger than most people's studio apartments. And this foyer leads into the living room which is HUGE! And I don't mean it's huge, I mean it's friggin' HUUUUUUGE! It has three big couches plus a divan plus an enormous desk plus a fireplace plus a enormous glass bookcase plus a big flatscreen TV. One end of the living room leads into the dining room that has a long table that seats TEN people. This then leads into the kitchen and the first of this suite's three bathrooms.

The dining room leads back into the foyer and into the hallway that leads to the bedroom suite. Along the way is the second bathroom. Turn left and you hit the enormous bedroom with the king size bed. The hallway also leads into the dressing room and then into the bathroom with a gorgeous black and gold marble floor (it also had a bidet; can you believe those things still exist?). Oh, and it also has a whirlpool in the bathroom -- with room for two :)

This place was by far the biggest hotel "room" or apartment we've ever been in. It was beyond palatial, beyond amazing -- and this is where we spent the first night of our marriage! We spent almost two of our first hours as husband and wife running around this place screaming "This is insane!"

As were we.

At first I thought this was a mistake and I called the concierge to make sure that it wasn't and that I wasn't going to get a $6000 bill in the morning. Nope, he said, it was no mistake and the price we were going to pay for the single room was the price we would pay for this ... mansion in the sky. Then a few minutes later we got a call from housekeeping. Was everything satisfactory? I believe I replied "Hell yes!"

And we couldn't help thinking about our poor, hardscrabble immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents who slaved to make it here in NYC in America. What would we they have thought about this?

And considering that it had been my idea to stay at the Waldorf, my beautiful new wife said to me, "You done good babe."

Not a bad way to start a marriage!

So thank you -- and God bless you -- Waldorf Astoria! You made our first night of married bliss more blissful than we could ever have imagined.


P.S. If you'd like to read a little more about previous residents of suite 37A, here's one article from 1955 and another from 2004. Not bad company!

1 comment:

  1. that's awesome! gonna have to add the WA to my list...


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