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My Horrible Stay at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City

I was sorting through my laptop this morning and stumbled across an old letter that I had written to the Waldorf=Astoria hotel in New York after a very disappointing stay in 2007. I sent a letter to the manager two months after my stay but never received a response.

Reading the letter ticked me off again, so I am going to re-send it and see if I get a response this time.

March 18, 2007 

   Mr. Eric O. Long
   General Manager
   Waldorf=Astoria Hotel
   301 Park Avenue
   New York, New York 10022-6897

Dear Mr. Long:

A regrettable first impression of the Waldorf has prompted me to write you. Though this historic property boasts an impeccable reputation, I was extremely unsatisfied with my experience on January 4-5, 2007 and ask that corrective action be taken. Outlined below are the reasons that the Waldorf utterly failed to meet my reasonable expectations. Appropriate photographic evidence is attached.

 1. Check-in was arduous and time consuming. XXXXXXX at the front desk was incompetent in operating your hotel’s computer reservation system. His ineptitude cost me 20 minutes and two of your staff members had to be pulled away from assisting other guests to help him out. 

2. The guest room was the biggest disappointment. I was disgusted to find a half-eaten potato crisp on one of the beds. Long black hairs spread across the bathroom counter. Frayed carpeting illuminated exposed wiring. The walls and bathroom door needed painting, as chips of plaster lined the baseboards around the windows and also inside the closet. Both the desk chair and the carpeting was stained. The historical nature of the building does not justify such disrepair and lack of cleanliness.  

My stay at your hotel was the worst experience I have encountered at an upscale Hilton property. There were other issues as well, such as the air conditioning not working (during the January heat wave), XXXXX at the concierge desk not being knowledgeable of historical sites of interest in the area, and your limited continental breakfast at Oscar’s.

I intended to address these issues before checking out because I knew I would be traveling extensively over the next few months and not have time to deal with this issue, but the phone lines were busy and I was unable to contact guest services from my room. During my four attempts, either I received a busy signal or I was told to “call back later.” During checkout, I was not asked how my stay was nor thanked for my business. I had a plane to catch and did not have time to ask for a manager.

This was not what I expected out of such a reputable hotel and I would presume you agree that though unfortunate, my experience does not characterize your hotel in general. I did enjoy a wonderful meal at Bull and Bear and slept well, despite the lack of air conditioning. But this does not make up for the problems noted above.

I expected the Waldorf to surpass other Hilton properties but was greatly disappointed.  I trust you can insure me that my experience was contrary to the high standards you insure for your guests.

Respectfully,

   Matthew XXXXX
   Hilton Gold #XXXXXXXXX

In retrospect (I was only 20 at the time), I should not have left the hotel until the matter was resolved. I know better now. At the same time, I did have a LGA-IAD flight to catch and had to rush to the airport to make it. Furthermore, I attempted to complain before I left, but the telephone lines were clogged.

Here's some pictures from my stay:

potato chip on bed

hair on bathroom sink

frayed carpeting with exposed wiring

unknown stain on carpet

unknown stain on desk chair

bathroom door

window

As I mentioned in the letter, there were some good things about the stay. Bull and Bear, the Waldorf's steakhouse had excellent food (albeit stuffy service). Plus, the fitness center was more than adequate and I did sleep well on the bed (after brushing off the potato chip).

Here are some additional pictures from my stay:

I'd like to give the Waldorf another try and I may be traveling to New York in July, but I won't consider the Waldorf unless I receive a response to my letter.

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Comments

#1
Kojo the African Prince aka "Waldorf GM" June 8, 2010 at 05:32 pm

Hey Mate, Blame it on the King of Zamunda and his 12 Rose bearers who stayed in your room the night before. I will contact Hakeem, the Royal Prince, to have his Rose Bearers come and "bath you thoroughly" from such a bad experience at the Waldorf.

Sincerely Waldorf Management

#2
Matthew June 8, 2010 at 05:47 pm

I think James Earl Jones would have stayed on the Astoria Level.

#3
HunterSFO June 8, 2010 at 06:18 pm

up until a couple days ago, my friend was the sous chef there. He just left 2 days ago to be the executive chef at the new Waldorf=Astoria Shanghai. I always declined his offers to stay there on friends and family rate because I knew better :) Unfortunately everything else in my price range sux. Im hoping Andaz 5th avenue will be good - otherwise, Hyatt Regency New Brunswick is fantastic for the price.

#4
Matthew June 9, 2010 at 12:59 am

@HunterSFO: I am planning a trip to PVG in August--I'll have to stop by the Waldorf and say hello.

Hopefully the Andaz on 5th Ave will be better than the Wall Street branch...

#5
gluedtothewindow June 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Am I reading that correctly? January heat wave in New York City?

#6
Matthew June 9, 2010 at 02:55 pm

@gluedtothewindow: You are reading that correctly. In 2007 there was a heat wave in NYC in early January. The highs reached 80F. I've got pictures of ice melting at Rockefeller Center and vividly remember two woman wailing about global warming and the impending destruction of the world in Bowling Green. I wore a t-shirt to Ellis/Liberty Island.

#7
HunterSFO August 13, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Hi Matthew -

Here are some pics of the food my friend is designing for the IRD menu at the Waldorf in PVG. It's not really what he's there for, but there are construction delays on his restaurant.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=192337&id=783298247&ref=mf

#8
Matthew August 13, 2010 at 10:54 pm

@HunterSFO: Looks like it's time for me to set up a Facebook account! ;)

Thanks for the link. I'll have to use my brother's account for now to view the pictures.

#9
Severin Salvestrini October 12, 2010 at 05:40 pm

I had such a similar stay at the Waldorf. My room was even worse than yours, but I must give the hotel credit, as they did promptly upgrade me to the Towers after I complained.

Did you ever receive a reply?

#10
Jim December 31, 2011 at 04:45 pm

I had a perfectly delightful experience at the Waldorf. It was where my high school had its graduation. Of course, things may have gone downhill since 1966.

#11
Tom / Sit In First September 1, 2012 at 07:50 am

This remains one of the worst purportedly three star or up hotels in NYC. Both the service, and the physical property, are severely lacking. I've been in some of the named suites on the Towers hotel, and it is equally disappointing.

Unless you have some strong nostalgic ties to this property, look elsewhere...

#12
Martha November 7, 2012 at 08:44 pm

WOW! I love the W=A and have always found the rooms in great shape. Maybe you were placed in their paranormal wing; the one where the Ghostbusters neutron accelerators crossed. The GM is great and I did receive a personal reply from him, but my letter to him was bestowing accolades.

#13
Kathryn Mahoney January 15, 2013 at 08:04 am

omg what a horrible stay!!

My heart is sinking with grief towards you and the horrible night(s) you had to endure at such place.

I hope you had a complete recovery from this horrific experience and that you are getting treatment from your PTSD.

God bless your struggling heart,

Kathryn

#14
Satch January 15, 2014 at 04:18 pm

OMG! The horror of it all.... a potato chip? It just can't be!! I sincerely hope you have fully recovered from such an experience. I have a feeling they will fire the manager; burn down the building and bestow a first born child upon you as recompense for your pain and suffering. But I digress... you were all of 20 years old? Maybe those first class college dorm rooms you stayed in have jaded your expectations. So sorry for your pain and suffering.

#15
Matthew January 15, 2014 at 04:59 pm

I never received a response to my letter. Oh well...NYC has many other nice hotels. I look forward to staying at the new Park Hyatt once it opens.

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