It’s one of the most famous luxury hotel brands in the world, and yet Hilton’s historic Waldorf Astoria has never had a presence in Australia. In just a few years’ time, that’ll all change as the high-end label makes it down under debut in Sydney at the mixed-use One Circular Quay. Announced this week, Waldorf Astoria Sydney is expected to open in early 2025, shaping up the former Gold Fields House – widely known as one of the city’s earliest high-rise buildings.
With glassy harbour views a given, the 28-storey building will be completely reimagined by Hilton’s most coveted expression, spanning 179 rooms and 41 suites, all of which will undoubtedly be finessed to the gold standard set by legendary hotels like Waldorf Astoria New York (pictured above) and Waldorf Astoria Shanghai.
Most travellers would know the name Waldorf Astoria from New York, which has been standing tall on Park Avenue since 1931 and, during the Great Depression, was known as the largest and most impressive luxury hotel in the world. Before that, the brand was born from two different hotels – the Waldorf and the Astoria – which were both demolished to make way for the Empire State Building.
Currently benefitting from a whopping US$1 billion (AU$1.3 billion) makeover, Waldorf Astoria is still regarded as one of the finest hotels in the US. And it’s this kind of reputation that will be looming over Waldorf Astoria Sydney once construction begins – whenever that is.
Although the hotel has not yet contracted any builder to begin work on the property, Hilton reports that the 220-room Waldorf Astoria Sydney will be designed by Japan’s Kengo Kuma & Associates, who are the same creative minds behind the highly conceptual, ribboned wood chaos of The Exchange building in Darling Square. Sydney’s Crone Architects will also be involved in the development.
Both architectural firms were already supposed to collaborate when One Circular Quay was earmarked for the 25-storey Wanda Vista Hotel. For whatever reason, plans for Wanda Vista, which was supposed to open in 2020, were abandoned. Instead, Waldorf Astoria Sydney will be Circular Quay’s marquee hotel, joining an already packed precinct that includes stalwart property’s Four Seasons Hotel Sydney and Shangri-La Sydney.
As much as the brand is known for its impeccable five-star service and privacy, the Waldorf Astoria label is also synonymous with culinary excellence. The Sydney hotel will reportedly include two restaurants alongside other amenities including a day spa and a rooftop bar. There’s little doubt we’ll see Peacock Alley – which is one of the restaurants in the New York hotel and somewhat of a tradition for the brand – pop up in some form as well.
Waldorf Astoria Sydney opens in early 2025.