Posted on: December 5, 2022, 05:36h. 

Last updated on: December 5, 2022, 05:49h.

A Waldorf Astoria resort with a high-end casino is set to occupy the roughly 15-acre site where the Tahoe Biltmore stood for nearly eight decades before it was demolished in May.

Waldorf Astoria Lake Tahoe Biltmore Hilton EKN Development
A rendering of the forthcoming Waldorf Astoria Lake Tahoe in Nevada. The luxury resort will replace the Tahoe Biltmore, which stood on the site for 76 years before its May 2022 demolition. (Image: Hilton Worldwide)

EKN Development Group, a Newport Beach-based real estate firm controlled by its namesake founder and CEO Ebbie K. Nakhjavani, acquired the dated Tahoe Biltmore in September 2021 for $56.8 million. Following a graduated cessation of gaming and hotel operations, the historic Lake Tahoe casino and resort overlooking Crystal Bay shuttered in April to make way for a new luxury development.

EKN’s Lake Tahoe partner is synonymous with luxury hotels. A subsidiary of Hilton Worldwide, Waldorf Astoria operates 32 resorts in 16 countries.

In a joint press release issued today, Hilton and EKN say Waldorf Astoria Lake Tahoe will be a mixed-use development highlighted by a 76-room hotel and 61 Waldorf Astoria-branded residences.

The future resort will be the hotel brand’s first property in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, but its second Waldorf Astoria in the Silver State. The Mandarin Oriental on the Las Vegas Strip was rebranded to the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas in 2018.

Consistently ranked as one of Las Vegas’ most luxurious properties, the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas — unlike its future sister property in Lake Tahoe — is a non-gaming property.

The Waldorf and The Astoria were two separate hotels that opened in Manhattan in 1893. The two properties stood side-by-side and were owned by feuding relatives. The hotels were demolished in 1929 to make way for the Empire State Building. The family members remedied their differences and opened the now-historic Waldorf Astoria New York on Fifth Avenue in 1931.

Boutique Luxury

The Waldorf Astoria Lake Tahoe will be an indulgence for its guests, as quality over quantity seems to be the theme for the under-development resort concept. At just 76 guestrooms, the Waldorf Astoria Lake Tahoe will offer 37 fewer rooms than the Tahoe Biltmore did.

Along with the boutique hotel and private residences, the resort will come with distinctive restaurants and bars, including Waldorf Astoria’s signature Peacock Alley lounge in what’s a tribute to the brand’s flagship hotel in New York City. The public and hotel guests will have access to a promenade with retail shops and restaurants.

As for the architecture, Hilton and EKN say the design will be contemporary, but will reflect the aesthetics of Lake Tahoe. Wood and stone elements, with pitched roofs and terraces and balconies overlooking Crystal Bay, are seen in the resort renderings.

“Now, more than ever, our guests are seeking engaging experiences, from embracing local culture to connecting with nature. With Waldorf Astoria Lake Tahoe, guests will enjoy one of the finest natural settings at one of the most luxurious hotels in the destination,” commented Matt Schuyler, chief brand officer at Hilton.

Possible Beach Component

EKN’s land ownership in Lake Tahoe isn’t limited to the future Waldorf Astoria property. The real estate firm additionally owns about 2.25 acres of lakefront land on the California side.

In late 2021, just weeks after EKN closed its Tahoe Biltmore purchase, the company agreed to acquire the Beesley Cottages and its 10 cabins for roughly $18 million. Rumors surfaced that Nakhjavani was contemplating creating a beach club for his forthcoming resort on the land, with a shuttle transporting guests from what will now be the Waldorf to the former Beesley Cottages property about 3.3 miles away.

But neither Hilton nor EKN made mention of a lakefront amenity in their news release today.