Get a sneak peek of the Waldorf Astoria’s restored Grand Ballroom

March 26, 2021

Rendering courtesy of Waldorf Astoria New York

It’s been four years since the Waldorf Astoria closed its doors for a restoration and reimagination that will bring 375 luxury condos to the storied landmark. And since then, the team has been teasing out renderings of what we can expect when the Waldorf finally reopens in early 2023. The latest is a look at the Grand Ballroom, one of the largest in NYC (it can accommodate more than 1,000 people) that’s hosted the likes of JFK, Queen Elizabeth II, and Grace Kelly. The Art Deco space is an interior landmark, and the restoration will return it to its 1931 splendor.

Waldorf Astoria, Waldorf NYC

Waldorf Astoria, Waldorf NYC
Photos of the Grand Ballroom before the renovation. © James and Karla Murray

When the Waldorf Astoria opened to the designs of architects Schultze and Weaver in 1931, it was one of the most opulent and prestigious hotels, and, in fact, for 32 years, it was the world’s tallest hotel at 47 stories. The grand ballroom became one of the premier event venues for high-society. Over the years, it hosted Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly’s engagement party, President John F. Kennedy’s birthday gala, an honorary dinner for Queen Elizabeth II, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (in 1988, Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen performed), many private dinners hosted by Bob Hope, the annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner, and the famous April in Paris Ball. The final event in the space before it closed was held on February 28, 2017. It was a benefit for New York-Presbyterian Hospital with a performance by Stevie Wonder.

“In 1931, Schultze & Weaver’s intent for the space – a singular space with a luminous ceiling that floats above – couldn’t be fully realized due to contemporary technological limitations. But now, not only are we preserving the space, we are finally able to bring to life the original architects’ vision. We can’t wait to see the next generation of New Yorkers and global celebrations in the reinvigorated Grand Ballroom – better than ever – a bridge between New York’s past and its future,” explains Frank Mahan, Associate Director at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the architecture firm overseeing the restoration.

The space is a whopping 15,000 square feet, and since it was designated an interior landmark, “the development team has worked closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to ensure the heritage of the ballroom space is preserved for generations to come,” according to a press release.

For example, the large, central chandelier will not be returning, as it is not original; it was added later to provide supplemental lighting. Instead, an ornate central ceiling medallion, which is what the original design intended, will be revealed for the first time in decades.

The new Waldorf Astoria will open in early 2023, a few months later than originally planned due to COVID-19. Previously, the Waldorf had 1,232 hotel rooms with an additional 181 high-end hotel rooms and short-term rentals in a separate wing. When it reopens, it will have 375 hotel rooms and suites, along with 375 luxury condominiums ranging from studios to penthouses as part of The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria. Sales launched for the condos in March 2020, ranging from $1.7 million studios to $18.5 million four-bedrooms.


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