In February, I went to New York City to celebrate my anniversary with my boyfriend. We got a great deal on a room at the JW Marriott Essex House located on the southern tip of Central Park. Since we planned to see a Broadway play (The Present starring Cate Blanchett!) this was the perfect location away from the hustle and bustle of Times Square. Here’s my review of the JW Marriott Essex House.

The lobby of the Essex House was stunning. The historic charm of this hotel really shines through in the lobby. I’m not sure what it looked like prior to Marriott’s renovations, but I love the design.

This is a view of the lobby from the check-in desk. At the far end is SOUTHGATE Bar & Restaurant. We didn’t eat here but the decor was also beautiful.

As an Amex Platinum card holder, I have Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status which converts to Gold Elite status at Marriott hotels. With Gold Elite status or higher, you get access to the Executive Lounge. You’re allowed to bring one guest with you into the lounge. I’ll go into details about the lounge a little later.

The room itself was unimpressive, especially after seeing how beautiful the lobby was. The room was small, even by New York City standards with barely any clearance between the foot of the bed and the wall. This is pretty much the entire room. The bed was comfy, but the decor was nothing special.

The wall unit helped save space but there wasn’t much clearance from the bed to the wall. The orange color was also an interesting design choice.

The decor in the bathroom was better but the bathroom was also teeny-tiny. I don’t have a picture of the shower because it was nothing special.

The bathroom was actually smaller than my bathroom in Boston and my apartment is not huge. A little more counter space would have been appreciated.

The selection of toiletries was nice and smelled pleasant. There was more stuff in the decorative box.

The main draw of this hotel was access to the Executive Lounge. The lounge hours were very restrictive on the weekend. Basically we could only go into the lounge for breakfast. Unfortunately, we were not there to enjoy the evening offerings or cocktail hours.

The design of the Executive Lounge at the JW Marriott Essex House was so beautiful. I’d like whoever designed this to decorate my house someday!

The lounge wasn’t very big but it wasn’t an issue if you went to breakfast early. On Sunday morning around 9:45am, it was a different story. People trying to claim tables for breakfast can be mean!

The food spread was very good. There was everything I could have wanted including yogurts, fresh fruit, hot and cold cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, various bread options, and pastries.

They had a selection of fresh fruits, deli meats and cheeses, and hard boiled eggs.

There was also a good variety of cold cereals and oatmeal with toppings. Having access to the lounge for breakfast definitely made our stay more special.

Final Thoughts

While the rooms at the JW Marriott Essex House New York are not very big or special, we still had a wonderful stay mainly due to the free breakfast in the Executive Lounge. The decor in both the lobby and Executive Lounge are beautiful and are worth the stay even if the rooms themselves are nothing to write home about. I also think that this is one of the most desirable locations for a hotel in NYC since you have close subway access to head downtown and you can easily walk to the museums on the Upper East and West Sides and the attractions of Times Square and Midtown.

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