Waldorf Astoria – New York, NY

It's day two (for me) of the A-Z blog challenge! This month I'll be sharing all about my Christmas/New Year travels in NYC and Europe – providing insight into the places I went to, reviewing the hotels I stayed at, and sharing my story. Today's letter is C for Crud! Delta delayed my flight! + Waldorf Astoria Review. Feel free to follow along as I make my way through the alphabet this month! :)


Destination: New York City, New York
Date: December 2015
Hotel: Waldorf Astoria
Brand: Hilton
Elite Status: Diamond
# of travelers: 2
nights: 1

Since I typically share my insight on hotel-deciding, let me backtrack in my story a bit to fill you in, before moving on to my review and explaining why Delta hates me (or how I make bad decisions).

Hotel: Making the Decision

As I shared in my last blog post, the decision to go to Europe was a year in the making. One thing led to another which led to another. The decision to fly out from NYC, on the other hand, was only 4 months in the making. Basically, all I needed was a flight to Europe in the $500 range. That flight happened to be coming from NYC. Knowing I could fly to NYC for free from my hometown of Atlanta settled the deal. Plus, visiting NYC at Christmastime was on my bucket list and a lifetime dream that I thought would never come true. I was pretty excited when I realized it could…

What's better than fulfilling a lifetime dream?

How about going to a famous hotel with a long history known for, among other things, it's Christmas decorations?

Yes, Christmas decorations played a big role in which hotels I was willing to consider for a December vacation in NYC, but that wasn't the only thing. I also took into consideration which hotels I had status with and which I could stay at for free on points. My list ended up being pretty long given the size of the city, and it had to be broken up into locations that I was familiar with. I spent a lot of time on Tripadvisor reviewing and re-reviewing others' well… reviews. :)

Things I took into consideration when looking at TripAdvisor:
• Would we have a view from our hotel room?
• What did people mention getting for free when they stayed at a hotel where they had brand status?
• Were there pictures of the hotel's Christmas decorations?
• Did anyone mention bugs (bed bugs, roaches)? How long ago?

After a month of research, comparing prices (and watching them steadily increase), and looking at hotel reviews (on TripAdvisor, blogs, and Flyertalk), I decided that despite the somewhat negative vibe I was reading about (mostly customer service, but some regarding room size), that I would book a night at the Waldorf Astoria on points. I assumed, with my high status, the worst that could happen is we had a subpar experience for one night in NYC; the best that could happen is that we had a fantastic night, were upgraded, and received all of the best amenities the hotel had to offer (free breakfast, fruit in the room, free waters, etc…)


Getting There

Justin and I flew to NYC on Delta with points Christmas night. I picked the least point-costly flight which, unsurprisingly, happened to fall on a holiday. Our flight was suppose to take off at 6pm which meant we needed to be at the airport at 4pm (which meant we needed to be headed to the airport at 3PM!). The idea was: we were going to spend Christmas morning having breakfast with both of our immediate families. Next, we would move on to my grandfather's house at 11AM for lunch to say hi to my extended family and then around 1PM we would go to see Justin's extended family. The kink in all of this was that we needed to be available for my dad to take us to the airport at 3, so we had to quit "Christmassing" an hour before that. Yes, it was a busy day.

… Well, it was made even more busy when my husband's parents decided to have breakfast at home. And then arrived for the family "brunch" at 11am, right when Justin and I had intended on moving on to the first extended family lunch. *sigh* So then we had to talk, exchange gifts, drink coffee, what have you. Luckily Justin and I had seen my grandparents the night before, so we just skipped my extended family and moved on to his.

Checking in for the flight was easy with my co-branded Delta Amex. We took advantage of our free checked bags perk and spent a bit of time reading and talking before boarding our flight. We were all set to go with the plane backing up when an announcement came on the intercom. Turns out there was a slight problem with the plane. We would be delayed…

By an hour.

Did I mention I had tickets for the Christmas night performance of The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at the Radio City Music Hall?

The performance started at 9, so even if the plane had been on time, we would be cutting it close.

Obviously, I learned my lesson.

Finally, the flight took off and we were on our way!

We arrived to JFK at 10PM. After getting our bags, we made our way to the taxi station where an Uber driver was willing to take us to our hotel (at a crazy high price).

For others trying to get to the Waldorf Astoria, you have plenty of options beyond Taxis and Ubers. You could try, for example, taking the bus or the Metro. The combination of our luggage amount and it being so late (and dark) at night meant that we felt safer getting direct transportation. The other options could definitely save you money though.

Checking In

Just as our Uber pulled up to the hotel, a porter offered to unload our luggage from the car and bring it to our room after we checked in. He took the name that was on the reservation and carted our luggage off … to never be seen again. ;) Haha. Just kidding. For a bit, it felt like that though. :)

When I had made the reservation for the hotel, my points-booking had been for the most basic of rooms. When they emailed me asking if I wanted to upgrade for $100 or $200, I said "no". When we checked-in though, I asked if we could be put in a "good room" to which we were told "sure!" I then proceeded to ask how long the hotel restaurant would be open – having been anxious about missing planes, I hadn't eaten all day. We were told the restaurant would be open until 1AM. She happily gave us 2 coupons for free drinks at the bar (because of my hotel status). :)

So we made our way to our room…

image from TripAdvisor

Room, View, Amenities, Luggage Delivery

My first impression of the room was that it was subpar. Big enough for a NYC hotel room and clean, but the window view we received is hardly worth mentioning. Seeing windows from other buildings isn't my idea of a "good view". Then again, I hadn't asked or paid for a "good view", I asked for a "good room". Who knows what that means, anyway?

The bathroom was well-stocked with soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc… The typical things. The room did come with 2 free water bottles which was nice. My husband downed them, while I patiently waited and hoped for something a little more refined (Aquafina or sparkling water).

We had access to a tv, alarm clock, telephone, and hair dryer to use while we impatiently waited for our luggage to arrive…

Finally, after an hour of waiting, our luggage came. It was almost as bad as waiting on Walt Disney World staff to get our luggage to us! Although not quite – we appreciated our hotel key working the first time and not having to walk a few miles back and forth between the lobby and our room to get things sorted.



When it took hotel staff an hour + to get our luggage to us, I momentarily considered ordering off of the room service menu. I was starving and the night was only getting later…

Finally, after the arrival of our luggage, Justin considered just going to sleep so that we could wake up in time to try a cronut for breakfast. I, on the other hand, was determined. It was dinner or bust. ;) (For me, that's the equivalent of not sleeping because my stomach is growling and keeping my husband all night because of it. Not a fun option.)

So we ventured down to the lobby and into the hotel restaurant/bar. With no one at the door, we gave up on sitting at a table and just found a seat at the bar to wait…

It was a good 30 minutes before the bartender acknowledged us and only after another hotel guest came to sit beside us. Turns out they were closed early because of the holiday. Argh. It was frustrating to wait so long to be acknowledged and then told that their hours for Christmas were different than what the front desk had told us and was written on the door to the restaurant; couldn't they have informed staff, shut the door, or put up a sign … or something?

We ended up asking a staff member in the lobby about where we could eat. Unfortunately, we didn't follow through with the guy's suggestion. :-/ Justin thought I was understanding the guy's directions and I thought he was. Anyway, we ended up finding a diner nearby where we got to eat brickoven pizza and listen to Christmas carols sung by drunks a few tables away from us. It truly felt like a How I Met Your Mother experience. :)

Hotel Status

The next day we took advantage of my hotel status and asked for a late check out. Then we were off to wait an hour in line to get our cronut (which wasn't worth it) and to The Radio City Music Hall to get replacement tickets for a performance of The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular (which was absolutely amazing, by the way!).


Lobby, Christmas Decorations, Ballroom, & Checking Out

Before checking out, Justin had to use the restroom, so I took the time to explore the hotel lobby.

The lobby for Waldorf Astoria is almost as grand as the hotel itself featuring historic pieces in a mini-museum toward the entrance as well as pop-up shops (one of which was selling expensive fur coats), and plenty of seating for hotel guests milling about or waiting to be checked in. The Christmas decorations were gorgeous but weren't worth any extra I might have paid for the room if I had paid in cash.

We did have the chance to explore the upper floors of the hotel and found ourselves in a ballroom with some of the most amazing view of the city. Good to know if you ever intend on getting married there or hosting a very extravagant evening. :)

After exploring the hotel, Justin and I quickly grabbed our luggage, which wasn't very spread out since we were only there for a day, and headed back down to the front desk where we waited in a long line to check out. As it turns out, when you check-in late at night, there is no line, but checking out in the middle of the day means you have to wait in long snakey lines rather than moving on with your life… *sigh* Justin asked the concierge if he could check us out, and he did! Yay! It was time to move onward!

view from the upper floor ballroom

Overall Review
★★★ (average)

The hotel had a great location near downtown New York City. Justin and I were able to walk almost everywhere without using the train. We got to sleep in a little before getting our cronut and we found the walk to the The Radio CityMusic Hall to be short and sweet. Even meals were easy to find, except when the restaurants (like the hotel's) were closed for the holidays.

Unfortunately though, this hotel left a lot to be desired for my platinum status self.

First of all, we were not offered amenities that we could take advantage of. What good are free drinks at the bar when it takes the staff a full hour to bring up your luggage to your room and by then the bar is closed? Free room-service drinks would have been a much better perk. Or even a room with a view!

Speaking of rooms with views, was our room an upgrade from another they could have offered us? Were they just offering us the least best they could because we paid in points? If so, seriously Hilton, I expect better from you. Diamond status is not the easiest to achieve; it'd be nice if you recognized that.

And finally, I simply found the hotel staff to be rude and unfriendly. Perhaps uncaring? It would be nice if they took an interest in customer-service. How is this visit making me feel? Would I be willing to pay upwards of a few hundred to stay here again? Am I getting, what I consider to be, a good value for my points or money when I stay here?

The answer is no.

While I loved the adventure of staying at a famous hotel during the Christmas season, unless I find myself with no other choice, I cannot see myself staying at this hotel again. I'm giving it 3 stars though, because it is not an altogether bad hotel. It's just subpar. It's the median of what I expect from a hotel in New York City. It has a few positives and a few negatives making it neither the best hotel I've ever experienced nor the worst. If you have hotel points, don't care about service and are willing to pay for a room upgrade just so that you can comfortably stay in downtown New York at a Hilton chain hotel, this may be the place for you. It just wasn't for me…

Your Turn

Had you heard of the Waldorf Astoria New York prior to my review? Would you consider staying there in the future?

Feel free to ask any questions I may not have answered in this review. I'd love to help you make your stay in New York as pleasant as possible! :)


  1. Sounds like the hotel had a lot of hype that they didn't live up to. Still you got to experience New York at christmas and overall it sounds like you had a good time.
    I like how you present your trip in detail. Feels like I was traveling right there with you!

    Michele at Angels Bark

  2. I had heard of the Waldorf Astoria. I doubt I'd now pay the extra to stay there, though.

  3. My gosh, I got tired just reading about your schedule when you were planning where you would be going to spend Christmas with your family, etc. I could see how the one hour delay in flight could put a damper on the activities and make you change around some. It is terrible to consider the cost of that hotel and then not to expect customer service to be top notch. I understand it was around a holiday, but still they need to remember the ultimate goal is good customer service for potential repeat customers.



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