In our second blog installment featuring luxury hotels, we take a look at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, and the St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. Historical. Iconic. Opulent. Timeless. These words are often used to describe the legacy and preservation behind each of these brands. Join us as we delve further into their history and what continues to make them glorious.
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
“We focus our entire brand around three pillars: service is first because that’s how you define yourself; second is authentic moments; and the last is inspirational environments.” – Dino Michael, Senior Vice President & Global Category Head | Luxury Brands at Hilton
It’s history dates back to the Waldorf Hotel (1893) and the Astoria (1897) built adjacent to one another in midtown Manhattan, as a result of a feud within the Astor family. Eventually consolidated (to become the largest hotel in the world) and then both demolished to make way for the Empire State Building, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel was opened in 1931 at its current location on Park Avenue.
Built on the foundation of a long list of firsts such as the first to offer room service, private bathrooms in each room, and electricity throughout the entire hotel, the Waldorf-Astoria’s storied past has accommodated guests such as Cole Porter, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, 70 years of presidents, global royalty, and has also been the filming site of 20 movies.
From Chicago to Dubai, or Versailles to Saudi Arabia, the iconic and historical Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, the Hilton Hotels luxury arm, offers 37 locations around the world. Timeless traditions, such as the placement of ornate, one-of-a-kind lobby clocks at each of their properties, immediately welcomes guests with the local culture and architecture. Supported by five pillars: modern leisure, true Waldorf service, iconic environments, culinary excellence and innovation, and pioneers of culture, their motto – “live unforgettable” – undoubtedly sustains unique, authentic moments for each of their guests worldwide!
“We are in the business of providing exceptional service. The privilege of serving our guests is the highest priority of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. If we do that well, the rest of our job is easy…” – Herve Humler, president & chief operations officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
The Ritz-Carlton brand was born in the early 1900’s under swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz, who became known as the “King of Hoteliers.” According to Famoushotels.org, “Ritz-Carlton’s name is based on The Carlton in London and the Ritz in Paris and London.” After the brand was purchased several times and reinvented, the Great Depression resulted in the closing of all locations with the exception of Boston, which was eventually sold. In 1983 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC was formed and in 1998 the luxury collection was purchased by Marriot International, which today operates more than 100 Ritz-Carlton hotels, resorts, and residences worldwide.
Easily recognizable by its logo, the “lion and crown Ritz-Carlton logo is a combination of the British royal seal (the crown) and the logo of a financial backer (the lion).” Operating from a list of Gold Standards that support the company’s values and philosophy, guests have come to expect extravagance and opulence throughout the world.
Not to ignore their modern guidelines, the brand’s environmental responsibility is built on the principles: Sustain. Protect. Experience. From reducing their global carbon footprint to working toward a healthier ecosystem, The Ritz-Carlton has found a way to beautifully blend the past with the present – and beyond.
St. Regis Hotels
“Our record and reputation for luxury leadership in more than 60 countries puts us at the front line of fast-changing global expectations. We recognize that the ‘next generation’ luxury traveler is emerging and understand that there is a demand for different types of luxury in both global hot spots and emerging destinations—a key driver in the rapid growth of our luxury brands portfolio.” – Tina Edmundson, Global Officer, Brand & Marketing, Marriot International
Opened in 1904 by John Jacob Astor IV, the St. Regis New York was declared “the finest hotel in America” by The New York Times. Legendary for its innovation (each room had its own phone), the development of the first Bloody Mary, and it’s luxurious, refined structure, the property became the roadmap to the development of more than 40 hotels and resorts around the world.
Under Marriot International ownership since 2016, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts spends a great deal of time honoring with guests, the days of enjoying the finer things in life. From the evening ritual of opening champagne with a saber to afternoon tea to midnight supper, a staple of Caroline Astor’s society life, experiencing societal cultural norms of the past are what draw guests to return year after year.
The St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, through Marriot International, are committed to global sustainability, empowerment, human rights, and community engagement. It’s 2025 Sustainability and Impact Goals are designed to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With over 60 properties worldwide, including Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, Caribbean, Middle East, and North America, travelers are destined to indulge in elegance, innovation, and luxurious style regardless of which location they choose.