Waldorf Astoria Hotels

by Alison Merfeld

Waldorf Astoria hotels came to life in New York City in 1893 when William Waldorf Astor opened the first one. Since then, Waldorf Astoria hotels have spread all over the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and the Caribbean. Each hotel offers individual distinctions, such as a Greek-style swimming pool in France, gladiator lessons in Rome and a family-friendly water park in San Juan.

United States

The Walford Astoria New York is on the prestigious Park Avenue and within walking distance of St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Museum of Modern Art. The 1,413 guest rooms include Internet, sitting areas and complimentary newspapers; suites include views of Park Avenue, multiple bathrooms and separate living areas. Rooms are decorated in warm tans, with chandeliers and sconces. The hotel provides three restaurants, including the Bull and Bear Steakhouse, which prepares oysters, shrimp cocktail and steak tartare. In 1993, the hotel became a New York City landmark. The Waldorf Astoria Park City is a lodge-style accommodation surrounded by the mountains and steps from the ski slopes. The 175 rooms range from one to six bedrooms and contain fireplaces, mountain views, full kitchens and private balconies. Each room is decorated in earth tones with leather furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel provides an outdoor swimming pool, a spa with massages and honey facials and a fitness center. The Spruce Park City Restaurant offers foie gras, short ribs and halibut.

France

Surrounded by gardens and trees on 3 private acres, the Trianon Palace Versailles provides an indoor swimming pool with a solarium, garden views and tiled floors. Additional hotel amenities include a fitness center and an on-site spa with 15 treatment rooms and a sauna. Guest rooms offer park or garden views and include newspaper delivery, Internet, minibars, robes and sitting areas. Rooms are decorated in warm cream colors, fresh flowers and white, purple and black accent pieces. Four restaurants are on the property. The main restaurant, Gordon Ramsay's au Trianon, is modeled after Chef Ramsay's London restaurant. The menu ranges from lobster tortellini to roasted duck and Scottish sea scallops. The hotel is a short drive from Versailles attractions such as Chateau de Versailles, which is 1 mile away, and golfing at Golf de Feucherolles, 16 miles away.

Italy

Offering panoramic views of Rome's city, the Rome Cavalieri is a hidden oasis from the Roman streets on its 15 private acres surrounded by lush gardens. The 370 rooms provide satellite TV, Internet, sitting areas and private balconies overlooking the Eternal City. The guest rooms and hallways are lined with paintings and sculptures, including Tantardini's "The Kiss" and Thorvaldsen's "The Shepherd Boy and His Dog." Hotel amenities include an indoor swimming pool with waterfalls, a hot tub, aspa and t wo outdoor tennis courts. The hotel can arrange for gladiator lessons in which you learn specific techniques. The hotel's main restaurant, La Pergola overlooks the city and is decorated with an 18th century candelabra, hand-blown glass and tapestries. The menu includes veal ravioli, sea bass and lamb prepared by executive chef Heinz Beck.

Puerto Rico

The El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo overlooks the Caribbean Sea from its hilltop setting. Guest rooms offer simple details with white walls, light-tone wood decor and orange tones. Rooms have water or garden views and provide iPod docks, private balconies, video games and mini-refrigerators. If traveling with children, the Coqui Water Park includes an infinity pool, a lazy river, a designated kids pool and water slides. Additional resort activities include an 18-hole golf course, an on-site casino and outdoor tennis courts. For a day of hiking or exploring, the El Yunque National Forest is approximately 18 miles from the resort. The El San Juan Hotel and Casino embraces the Caribbean feel with cabana-style loungers, a prime location on the Isla Verde Beach and an outdoor pool with a swim-up bar and a waterfall. Rooms include Internet, iPod docks, minibars and sitting areas; views are of the gardens, sea or city. A casino with slot machines, blackjack tables and cocktail services add to the resort's amenities. The hotel's Koco Restaurant offers a Caribbean-style menu of octopus, oysters and ribs.

About the Author

Alison Merfeld has been a freelance writer since 2008. Her published articles can be found on various websites, covering golf, the outdoors and other topics. She is currently working on her first fiction novel. Merfeld earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Iowa.