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The Waldorf Hilton, London, opened in 1908 with a vision to follow the American tradition of offering more than just a room but to be a place for passer-byes to stop for dinner, afternoon tea or a drink. The Waldorf opened with 400 bedrooms, 176 bathrooms and a range of innovative features - every room had electric lights that could be switched off at the bedside, three elevators, central heating and a telephone in every room. Today the hotel is a symbol of English heritage with magnificent dining venues and stylish rooms and suites, while still maintaining its iconic traditional charm.
1889 - Theatrical Impresario Edward Sanders decided to build a major West End hotel on the northern rim of Aldwych. Sanders partnered with accountant, Thomas Wild, to raise the sum of £700,000 with the assistance of William Waldorf Astor who the hotel was named after in gratitude. Sanders and Wild hired the young architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie to build the hotel. Marshall Mackenzie (brother-in-law of distinguished Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh) went to New York to capture the pioneering new style in luxury
1908 - With a steel girder structure the hotel was erected in only 18 months and opened on 28th January with a glittering Champagne reception
1913 - The first of many tangos was performed in Palm Court which scandalised Edwardian society
1934 - The resident House Band was led by the handsome Howard Godfrey and his Waldorfians. Godfrey recorded 15 "live at The Waldorf" 78rpm discs with singer Al Bowlly. Hits included "Love is the Sweetest Thing" and "Goodnight, Sweetheart"
1939 - During WWII The Waldorf placed adverts in the press reassuring visitors that its alloy structure made it safe. One stray bomb missed the hotel but shockwaves shattered the Palm Court roof and tango tea dances were suspended. The restaurant became a staff dormitory and the hotel's legendary head waiter slept in a corner every night to keep an eye on it
1958 - Scenes from the Titanic film "A Night to Remember" were shot in the Palm Court as director Roy Ward Baker thought the Palm Court Lounge ideal for depicting the interior of a ship
1964 - Egon Ronay launches his hotel guides at The Waldorf
1969 - Melody Maker hosts its music awards ceremony at The Waldorf
1975 - Anti-Common market meeting is held at The Waldorf
1982 - The Waldorf holds its first Tango Teas since 1939
1995 - The Meridien hotel group take over from the Forte Family
2004 - Hilton Hotels Corporation takes over the hotel and renames it The Waldorf Hilton
2005 - The Waldorf's £35 million refurbishment
2015 - The Waldorf Hilton's £13.5 million refurbishment
The Waldorf was built with a Gentlemen's Smoking room (now the Executive Boardroom), a billiard room (now the Executive Lounge), a ladies writing room (now the Aldwych meeting room), a 300 ft. dining space (now the Adelphi Suite), and the beautiful Palm Court.
The Waldorf has a 190 foot curving facade made of Aberdeen granite with a frieze of cherubs depicting the arts and sciences.
Four oil paintings hang to this day in the Executive Boardroom. Legend has it that upon finding he could not pay for his long stay a guest offered the Manager his paintings. This offer was accepted upon the proviso that he was not permitted to sign them by way of punishment.