While visiting New York City, if you choose Jumeirah Essex House, as your home away from home, Central Park will be your "Welcome" mat, and your neighborhood will be Fifth Avenue fancy, F.A.O. Schwarz playful, Lincoln Center cultured, and you may even get to sneak-a-peek inside Anderson Cooper's windows (ok, his talk show studio); all at a reasonable (NYC standards) price! I chose Jumeirah Essex House, because I wanted my family to experience the city, but in a neighborhood setting.
For my nephew's 12th birthday, I surprised him with a trip to NYC to see his dream team (Giants) play the Packer's. Having lived in NYC a short time, I knew the comforts and conveniences of the surrounding area of the Essex House, would make his experience New York City exciting, but also, suburban vibe, approachable. Because my nephew and my Mother are based in the Midwest, it was important for me, not to overwhelm them with the hustle & bustle of dodging traffic, screeches of sirens or honking horns throughout the night, pushes of people crowding the streets, flashing lights/neon signs startling the sky, encounters with unsavory characters, nor, feeling caged in the concrete jungle aesthetic; I wanted them to see the beauty of the city, in a safer, softer, more breathable setting. A snapshot of my experience:
> LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Across the street from Central Park (Trump skating rink in winter months), 2 blocks from 5th Avenue/F.A.O. Schwarz/"Early Show" studio, and within safe walking distance to Lincoln Center, NBC Studio's/Rockefeller Center, Anderson Cooper show and (Regis) Kelly &… show, clean subway station, 24-hour drug store, and great neighborhood restaurants. *Side-note: THE BURGER JOINT IS A MUST: whole-in-the-wall, but rated best burgers in the city.
> Rooms: Surprisingly spacious, fairly modern, comfortable, and speckled with many conveniences; however, maid-service was average and towels were not plush for the price.
> Food: Hotel restaurant is trendy & tasty, Sunday Brunch is lovely, but room service is beyond expensive!! There is a beautiful deli behind the hotel that is open 24 hours-stock up your in-room snacks and beverages or even grab a late-night craving on the cheap.
> Hotel: The decor is not downtown modernist minimal nor uptown baroque stuffy, it is suited more upscale casual; like a cocktail dress or a suit minus the tie. Because of the holidays, the lobby was adorned with twinkling lights, several Christmas trees (including a 7-foot tree surrounded with ribbons and presents-ALL MADE OF CHOCOLATE!) and festive decorations. I was impressed, with the hotel's offerings of Gingerbread House decorating classes with the restaurant chef (for kids of all ages), chocolate & wine pairings in the lobby bar, and champagne flight samplings to inspire a little Christmas cheer; at cost, but still fun, festive options for all guests.
> Concierge: This is the tricky part. I had a few unbelievably accommodating, helpful and delightful experiences at the concierge desk, and a few snooty, bothered, banal experiences. Therefore, it's a toss-up. My advice is not to call the concierge desk-they never answer-instead, go down to the desk and speak to the concierge in-person. My hands-down favorite concierge was KEVIN; he had well thought out suggestions, took careful consideration of our requests, and even took my mobile number so he could text message me ideas, reservation availabilities and addresses, so I would not have to wait at the desk while he contacted each restaurant, tour, or car service!
> Transportation: Car service is extremely expensive and the taxi line is a NIGHTMARE! We encountered several limo drivers that seemed to be "in pocket" with a few of the valet/doormen, so we were approached (harassed?) numerous times with drivers shouting prices at us-like street vendors in Mexico-without any help or relief from the hotel staff. And, a few occasions, I noticed tips being slid in hands, to bring end of the line guests to the front and immediately into arriving taxi's. You are better off walking a block or two in the direction you are heading (to avoid additional taxi fees or turn-around in traffic) and hailing your own cab, carrying cash for the valet, or, setting up a taxi time in advance.
Business Center: Comfortable sitting area, and mediocre equipment-sometimes difficult to navigate the pay-per-minute systems (two computers did not sign on properly-expensive lesson).
I travel frequently, and have stayed at more expensive, more luxurious hotels in the city; however, for me, in the city that never sleeps, having a suburban feel and a peaceful nights sleep, is priceless!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC