Here is the quote of the day/century: "The Chinese have money to spend and the inclination to do so." This comes to us from one Sean Hennessey, chief executive of Lodging Advisors, in a comment to the NY Times regarding the recent sale of the Waldorf-Astoria to a Chinese insurance company. It was announced today that Hilton Worldwide has sold the iconic property to the Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion. (Bedbugs included.)
"The property will continue to be an iconic hotel even if it’s owned by a foreign entity," opines Hennessey, and he's probably right. The Waldorf-Astoria will no doubt continue to be the hotel of choice for American presidents and other heads of state, which certainly doesn't hurt its cachet with the average rich person looking for a place of lodging. Hilton Worldwide is owned by The Blackstone Group, which was co-founded by Stephen A. Schwarzman. So now they have even more money, which they'll use to buy more hotels that can one day be sold to foreign investors along with everything else in America.
"There really are no other sales to compare it to,” Bruce Ford at research firm Lodging Econometrics tells Bloomberg News. “It is the most unique asset with the most unique location in the world." According to the Times, some hotels analysts predict Anbang will turn Waldorf Towers, "a small, boutique-like operation that is somewhat separate from the main hotel" into condominiums. This much is certain: $1.95 billion is the most amount of money paid for a single hotel in U.S. history.
The 83-year-old Art Deco building, which occupies an entire block between Park Avenue and Lexington at 49th Street, boasts 1,413 rooms. They've got bees on the roof and a secret train station underneath.