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Where the Swells Stayed — A New Pictorial History of the Waldorf Astoria

Nothing promotes time travel like a grand hotel. Step inside and you’re whisked to another era where you can imagine yourself trading stories with Winston Churchill or Grace Kelly, Cole Porter or the Duchess of Windsor, albeit with locally sourced menus and WiFi.

New York’s Waldorf Astoria is one of these full-throttle time machines. If walking into its soaring Art Deco lobby doesn’t deposit you in 1931 or 1945 or whatever 20th-century moment you crave, Waldorf Astoria, a new book by William Alan Morrison should do the trick (Arcadia Publishing; $21.99). Read more

Hello, Gorgeous — The Waldorf-Astoria’s Park Avenue Lobby Gets An Art Deco Makeover

Louis Rigal murals — and a silver-leaf ceiling.

Less is more is rarely the first thought that leaps to mind when you enter the Park Avenue lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria. This massive expanse is one of the most superb examples of Art Deco design in town.

The deco is decorative – allegorical murals by French artist Louis Rigal, gilded ceiling reliefs of frolicking naiads and stags, a floor mosaic of the Wheel of Life made from 150,000 tiny tiles. Read more

Touring The Waldorf=Astoria, From the Kitchens to the Mirrors of Versaille

On a visit to the Waldorf=Astoria, I saw a notice for history tours of the hotel offered every Thursday and Saturday morning at 11:30.

Not many hotels boast sufficient history or chutzpah to warrant a tour priced at $50 a person (they do throw in lunch). Besides, the Waldorf devotes four bulging lobby display cases to memorabilia, from place settings for royal dinners to photos of illustrious guests, like Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Bruce Springsteen. What more could there possibly be? Read more