Luxury Hotels: Walking in to the Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South in New York City is like traveling back in time to a time that was simpler, grander and more alluring. At the same time there is also a sense of the contemporary, with a modern flair, a nice medley of the past and present.
For more than 75 years the Essex House has offered luxury accommodations to discerning travelers. Originally called the Park Tower, construction began in October of 1929. Going through a number of name changes during construction, The Essex House opened in October of 1931. You can’t miss the marquee on the property because it is six stories high!
When the Jumeirah group took ownership of the hotel in 2006, a $90 million dollar refurbishment project began to restore the building to its hay-day. The lobby received an update, expanding the lobby lounge and installing a Lalique-style glass and marble reception desk. The lobby is a work of art with detailed Art Deco touches everywhere.
Pulling up in front of the hotel is an awesome experience! As we left the cab, our bags and us where whisked away into the enchantment of this fabulous place. Our adventure had begun!
The key to any hotel is service and at The Essex House it is no exception. Entering the plush lobby, the staff immediately begins to cater to our needs. Registration is easy, fast and welcoming. The bell staff is friendly and well trained as they bring you to the registration desk. They accompany to your room offering insights on the property. We didn’t have to wait for our luggage (a pet peeve of mine – what do you do when you have wait for your toothbrush after a long flight?) as a bell person escorted us to our room with our bags.
Once we arrived in our room, less than 12 minutes from getting out of the cab, we had our first Essex House surprise. Our butler knocked on the door, showing us the ins and outs of our room. We only had to ask for anything and she would be available to get it. Ice arrived in our room shortly along with iced bottled water. Your own personal valet is a very nice touch.
Service is non-intrusive. When you want, or need it, service is readily available. Thankfully you are not smothered with hovering attendants and staff. Not at the Essex House. Service is professional, friendly and invisible. Service is elegant in an old world style.
Our room offered a view of the city that was nothing less than spectacular. Central Park was at our feet and the bustle of the city all around us. Remember walking barefoot as a kid on new carpeting? Sinking in seemingly to your ankles, it was a wonderful sensation. That’s the luxurious feeling you get on entry to the rooms at The Essex House. The carpeting is clean, the room fresh and the warm room colors inviting.
The room has a master closet organized to help you either move in for an extended stay or live out of your suitcase depending on your mood. The closet has cedar chests and hangers -- a delightfully elegant touch. Cedar smells great, keeping the closet and your garments fresh. It also protects from insects that might want to dine on your clothes during humid weather.
I didn’t expect it, but the property is a pet-friendly hotel. The Canine Turndown Service offers a variety of luxury accommodations for your four-legged friend. Pet designer, Amy Kizer of Wagwear boutique, has created an array of services for your pet.
Starting with a Wagwear dog bed for sleeping arrangements, the list includes exclusive homemade dog treats created by the Executive Pastry Chef, Wagwear food and water bowls, a fleece blanket and Wagwear leashes and collars for stylish walks in the Park.
The Jumeirah Essex House is home to many “A” list celebrities who live on the 44th penthouse floor. During the early days of Saturday Night Live, announcer Don Pardo would announce "guests of Saturday Night Live stay at the Essex House!"
Food is an integral part of The Essex House tradition. For example, Sunday brunch is an Essex House creation. First called the “stroller’s brunch,” it was designed to entice those who walked in Central Park on Sunday mornings to dine on elaborate meals in a leisurely manner. This same tradition exists today with elegant meals served in a relaxing atmosphere. A formal afternoon high tea is served daily at the Lobby Lounge.
To compliment the design from days gone by, an updated restaurant South Gate is featured. Modern, with a clean design, this is an upcoming dining establishment in New York. The restaurant boasts an amazing wine collection. Patrons access the numerous offerings through an iPad! South Gate is the first restaurant in New York City to offer this wonderful tool.
You scroll through the wine collection by wine, vintage, year, bottle or glass. This is a wonderful way to learn about wine, reading about the winemaker, vineyard and more. The iPad technology also makes sure the wine you want is always available. It keeps tabs on what wine is ordered and advises the sommelier when a particular wine needs to be replenished.
Chef Kerry Heffernan features his vision of modern American cuisine. Food is light and flavorful, with unobtrusive service.
The entire Essex House experience is first class luxury. From service to décor, ambiance, your room, The Jumeirah Essex House is one of the finest hotels you can choose in New York City.