Waldorf-Astoria

Ward Morehouse, Author M. Evans and Company $22.95 (260p) ISBN 978-0-87131-663-9
Morehouse tours readers through a Manhattan landmark in this chatty, disorganized but engaging book. A former cultural correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor , the author serves up a mix of fact and gossip, based in part on personal knowledge of the opulent inn. Built in 1893 by William Waldorf Astor, the hotel was moved in 1930 from downtown Fifth Avenue to occupy an entire block on Park Avenue at 50th Street, where it has flourished for the intervening 60 years. Morehouse offers information on such recent developments as the acquisition of the hotel by the Hilton family. Most intriguing, though, are anecdotes about the notable residents in the Waldorf Towers aerie: the duke and duchess of Windsor (she was rude); Sinatra (he pays $1 million annually for a suite once home to Cole Porter); late society hostess Elsa Maxwell; Gen. and Mrs. Douglas MacArthur; U.S. presidents et al. Just as engrossing are mini-bios of the executives responsible for the hotel's great reputation through the years: Astor's first partner, George Boldt, a master hotelier from Germany; banquet host Oscar of the Waldorf; and events organizer Claude Philippe. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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