FX Excursions

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JW Marriott Essex House New York

by Sue Castorino

Nov 2, 2022

© Sue Castorino

eFlyer Reviews

I was greeted by two iconic signs upon my arrival in New York City on a picture-perfect, late summer afternoon. The first was on the LaGuardia runway, where the newly refurbished “I Love New York” always lifts my spirits. I was strategically in my favorite window seat so I could appreciate the sweeping views of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty (always heartwarming) and the skyline. Then came the familiar sign complete with “the apple.” A nice bonus: La Guardia transformed from being cluttered and claustrophobic to sleek and modern.

The second sign was atop the Essex House, now a JW Marriott. The famous electronic red sign continues to be a welcoming beacon. I had wanted to stay there ever since Don Pardo’s pronouncement that “All guest hosts on Saturday Night Live” stay here. The location is perfect: Central Park and the Upper East and West Sides to the north, and Carnegie Hall and Rockefeller Center to the south.

I was greeted by friendly valets and front-desk staff in the nostalgic Art-Deco lobby and was delighted to be upgraded to a one-room suite, like a large apartment. The living room and bedroom were spacious. The main bathroom had an oversized bathtub that I thoroughly enjoyed. I also appreciated the variety of aromatherapy products.

The room was extremely quiet, with no street noise, a real bonus in New York City. Interestingly, there was no clock on the nightstand. I thought perhaps this was a 21st-century concept where our phones replace standard clocks. However, housekeeping came promptly with another one and cordially remarked the previous one was probably now a “souvenir” of a former guest.

I was mildly disappointed there was not much of a view, but I was willing to go with a larger suite to be comfortable. After all, I would have all the ground-level views I needed on my lengthy stroll outside that evening — all the way up Fifth Avenue, parallel to the park, vendors, zoo and carriages, past the museums and churches and then back down Park Avenue (more lovely buildings) and over to Broadway and the thriving Times Square. I was determined to take in everything since this was a short trip. One especially lovely moment: In front of a beautiful older building, a choir was singing on the front steps and a large crowd had gathered, joining in and waving flags. It was the Ukrainian Embassy. We all cheered heartily and spontaneously.

Back at the hotel, I took advantage of access to the Concierge Lounge, located on the first floor. I enjoyed a wonderful late dinner of crab cakes and pasta and an equally great breakfast of all things hot and cold the following morning. I was especially delighted there were complimentary print editions of The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. I always appreciate this, especially on the road. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Essex House, a place with great service and a warm ambiance, and I look forward to returning again.

Hotel Essex

© Sue Castorino

Postscript: After I completed my work, I returned to LaGuardia late in the afternoon and enjoyed the comfort of the spacious United Club lounge, where a Global Traveler magazine was prominently displayed.

Upon landing back in Chicago, it was fun to hear this recorded message: “This is Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Welcome to O’Hare International Airport, ranked the world’s No. 1 airport for the past 18 years by Global Traveler magazine.” My trip was indeed complete.

JW Marriott Essex House New York

160 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019
tel 212 247 0300

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