Waldorf-Astoria Takes Couple Back in Time

Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street Journal
The hotel recently honored the couple’s $21 room rate from 60 years ago

By LIZZIE SIMON

Ten years ago, the five adult children of Jerry and Peg Sussingham decided to chip in for a room at the Waldorf-Astoria so that their parents could stay in the same hotel that they’d stayed in on their wedding night in 1952. It was then that the family learned of a little-known policy honoring the original room rate for couples returning for a milestone anniversary.

Jerry and Peg Sussingham spent their wedding night at the Waldorf-Astoria in 1952.

Evidently the siblings had a real bargain on their hands, but there was a catch: The offer hinged on their father’s ability to furnish the original receipt, a feat that seemed outside the realm of possibility.

But Mr. Sussingham came through. “He’s very organized,” said Mrs. Sussingham, sitting beside him on a love seat in a suite that now goes for $3,450 a night on the 19th floor of the hotel. The Sussinghams, who are both 83 years old, paid a whopping $21 for the room when they returned again for their 60th anniversary this weekend.

The hotel recently honored the couple’s $21 room rate from 60 years ago.

Mrs. Sussingham gave a tour of the bedroom, living room and two bathrooms.

“Plenty of closet space,” she said. “We’ll never live this well again. It’s going to be tough checking out.”

The pair wed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and have lived for the past 50 years in a brick colonial in Baldwin, Long Island. They met working for Blue Cross insurance where Mr. Sussingham was an employee for 44 years.

“You like something, you stay with it,” he said.

Theirs wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, they didn’t fall for each other until separate injuries landed them in the same hospital.

“One thing led to another and here we are,” said Mrs. Sussingham.

“She’s a real smart one, beautiful and a lot of fun,” he said.

While much has changed in 60 years at the Waldorf-Astoria, the hotel recently renovated its lobby to re-create its original 1930s grandeur. Perhaps this helped Mrs. Sussingham’s flow of memory.

“This is what I remember, coming up to the lobby,” she said. “It was all so beautiful. The fellow there at the desk saw me with my big corsage and he said, ‘Oh, are you newlyweds?’ I think he upgraded us.”

The next morning, “We got pancakes, in the room. That was a big deal for me.”

Would they be ordering them again this time around?

“I thought about that,” she said. “That would be nice. For old-times sake.”

Pancakes aren’t covered in the milestone policy, however: They’re currently on the menu for $24.00.

Categories: Americas, United States

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