New York City's Waldorf Astoria, one of the world's most famous hotels, is being bought by a firm that isn't exactly a household name in the US: China's Anbang Insurance Group. The company is buying Hilton Worldwide Holdings' flagship hotel for $1.95 billion, more than $1 million for each of its 1,413 rooms and a record for an American hotel, reports the Wall Street Journal. The hotel, which covers a full city block in midtown Manhattan, first opened in 1931, and regular guests are unlikely to notice many changes under the new ownership: Hilton will continue to operate the hotel under a 100-year management contract.
The Chinese government recently made it easier for companies to buy real estate overseas, and the Waldorf Astoria is the latest of several prestige properties in New York City to be snapped up by Chinese firms. "The Chinese have money to spend and the inclination to do so," the chief executive of consulting firm Lodging Advisors tells the New York Times. "The property will continue to be an iconic hotel even if it's owned by a foreign entity." Hilton, meanwhile, is expected to use the $1.95 billion to buy more hotels.