New Yorkers have long had a soft spot for The Waldorf-Astoria. Glamorous and storied, the hotel has loomed as a pinnacle of luxury in a town teeming with such.
But is it possible that the hotel where Al Pacino “Hoo Ha’ed!” in Scent of a Woman and where King Jaffe Joffer (played by James Earl Jones) stayed in Coming to America is now one of the better discounts for upscale lodging?
For an upcoming August weekend, the Waldorf was offering deluxe rooms for $289 a night. When compared with the new designer hotels that have sprung up in recent years, that rate is, indeed, a steal.
That same weekend, the Mercer Hotel, where Russell Crowe famously erupted at a hotel employee, rooms are going for $530 a night. At the recently re-designed Gramercy Park Hotel, the lowest room rate is $545 a night. Not to be outdone, Hotel Gansevoort, which boasts a pool on the roof and is in walking distance to some of the more exclusive nightspots in the city, has rooms starting at $591 a night.
These newer boutique hotels are charging rates nearly twice the average for Manhattan hotels overall (about $270, according to PKF Consulting), while the Waldorf's charging just a smidge above average. And this is during one of the busiest months of the year for tourism.
So, what gives?
“Every hotel and sales manager looking at requirements for guests arriving and room supply will gear the rate to maximize the occupancy,” Stanley Turkel, a New York-based hotel consultant, told The Observer.
Mr. Turkel was adamant that it was not a sign that the historic hotel is losing popularity.
“It is still one of the pre-eminent hotels in the country,” he said. “There may be travelers looking for more lifestyle hotels, like the Schrager hotels and the Gansevoort, but business and leisure travelers still love to stay there.”