“Every window in the Holland House, at Fifth Avenue and 30th Street, was glowing with light last night when the doors were opened to hundreds of visitors bidden to see the beauties of the new hostelry,” wrote the New York Times in a gushing review of the newest kid on a luxury block on December 6, 1891.
In a Gilded Age city resplendent with so many sumptuous hotels, the Holland House quickly became the place to live, dine, and enjoy a stretch of Fifth Avenue lined with the mansions of wealthy New Yorkers.
And former mansions, as New York’s richest residents were steadily relocating their residences uptown.
“The Holland House presents many novelties—and extremely attractive ones too . . .” stated the Times.
“In the main hall, leading from the Fifth Avenue entrance, the walls and the carved staircase are of Sienna marble.”
The writer of the article also noted the novel wine cellar, the banquet and drawing rooms, the restaurant, and the staff of 180 employees.
Holland House offered sumptuous accommodations through the teens, hosting president Taft (and an army of Secret Service guards) in 1912.
In 1897, the two joined forces to become the city’s premier hotel, turning the area into kind of a luxury hotel row which played host to the most exclusive balls and parties, like the legendary Bradley Martin Ball.
Today, unlike the original Waldorf-Astoria, Holland House still stands.
The building manager says they are originals.
If so, they’re some of the last remnants of Gilded Age glamour on this once exclusive stretch of Fifth Avenue.