Visitors to New York can experience the city’s vibrant history without even stepping foot from their hotel. The modern amenities of the following four hotels belie some surprising histories that date back over 100 years:
The Opera House
As its name suggests, this Bronx hotel is housed in a renovated opera house -- designed by the same architect behind the Belasco and Apollo theaters. The opera house "became a mainstay on the 'subway circuit' that played post-Broadway shows" (per NY Daily News), hosting performers such as the Marx Brothers and George Burns. Book by Aug. 31 to stay at this boutique property for just $89 per night, including breakfast and Wi-Fi, with this Travelzoo sale.
Marriott East Side
A colorful list of notables has graced The Marriott East Side, which was designed by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' grandfather and was one of the world’s tallest when it opened. The hotel was a temporary home to painter Georgia O'Keefe and photographer Alfred Stieglitz, both of whom used the building as a subject. Harry Houdini once performed a dramatic escape from a coffin at the bottom of the Marriott’s pool (now closed).
This iconic hotel, originally opened in 1893, was one of the first to play a central role in New York’s social scene. The Waldorf-Astoria hosted the investigation into the sinking of the Titanic and the broadcast of the National Broadcasting Company’s inaugural program. In 1931 it relocated, reopening as the world’s largest and tallest hotel. Today, its lobby remains an Art Deco landmark.
The signature red neon sign, an Upper West Side icon since 1923, pays homage to this hotel’s century of history. At risk of being turned into condominiums, in 2007 The Empire underwent a $50 million renovation instead, adding a rooftop pool, spa and restaurant. A last-minute sale has dropped rates here to as low as $199 per night.