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Update: Jumeirah sold Essex House to Strategic Hotels & Resorts. The new name of the hotel is JW Marriott Essex House New York.

Essex House first opened in 1931. The New York City hotel has 515 redesigned rooms and suites. Bedroom and bathroom dècor, furniture and carpets pay tribute to the hotel's original Art Deco design.

High-tech features include Plug and Play Internet, High Definition on demand in-room entertainment, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phones, wireless and cell phone repeaters. Live feeds on LCD televisions offer 24-hour real-time views of Central Park and New York City, towards Times Square.

The lobby also boasts Art Deco design — a Lalique-style glass and marble reception desk, crystal chandeliers, black marble fluted columns with bronze capitals and Macassar ebony chairs with ostrich-print fabric. Art Deco signs, carpets and benches enhance the corridors.

Artists in Residence Program

Essex House is the only New York City hotel that employs an art curator. Katherine Gass developed an artists-in-residence program to commission works to decorate the hotel lobby.

The hotel towers 44 floors above Central Park. To bring the beauty of Central Park into the Essex House, Gass commissioned Korean photographer, Atta Kim, to create long-exposure color photos of Central Park. She asked American contemporary urban landscape painter, Mark Innerst, to paint 59th Street, looking east, with Central Park on one side and historic hotels and buildings on the other.

How to get to the Essex House

Located at 160 Central Park South, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, the hotel is only 19 kilometers (12 miles) from JFK Airport and 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Newark Airport.

Its location, in the heart of Manhattan, allows guests at Essex House to walk to Broadway, Fifth Avenue, Museum Mile, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Times Square, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall and Lincoln Center. South Gate restaurant

The Tony Chi-designed restaurant, South Gate, has an enormous skylight, Manhattan's largest fireplace and a street-level entrance and address (154 Central Park South). Chef Kerry Heffernan serves Modern American cuisine, with seasonal specialties.

Sample South Gate menu items include seared foie gras with tarragon, Muscat and pear wafers; lobster and leek vinaigrette with cardamom and dill seeds; and venison with fresh juniper, red carrots and rosemary fritters. The wine cellar features an international selection of 1,200 bottles.

Afternoon Tea

Between 2 and 6 pm, guests can enjoy finger sandwiches, pastries, scones, fruit cake and shortbread with a variety of teas, or Roederer Brut Champagne.

The Lobby Lounge offers breakfast, appetizers, entrees and sandwiches from 8 am to 10 pm. Menu items include Kobe beef burger and Maine lobster sandwich. The Essex, made from Absolut Kourant, ginger ale and lemon juice is the signature drink at the Lobby Lounge.

The Art Deco-style Restaurant at the Essex House also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Essex House Spa

At the spa and health club, guests enjoy separate men's and women's relaxation lounges, which serve spa cuisine and offer WiFi access.

Sodashi treatments, exclusively available in New York City at Essex House, include massages, facials, body wraps, scrubs, manicures and pedicures. A private suite offers a personal soaking tub, sauna and steam bath.

The Health Club has Cybex fitness equipment with personal LCD TVs. In addition to using the treadmills, rower, stair climbers and other exercise equipment in Essex House's fitness center, guests can jog along trails outside the hotel.

Central Park Walking Tours

Essex House has partnered with CentralPark.com to offer guests two complimentary Central Park walking tours, both one to 1.5 hours long. Walking tours are available as downloadable PDFs and audio podcasts, designed for use with color-coded maps.

The Family Central Park Walking Tour visits the Zoo, the Children's Zoo, statues of Hans Christian Andersen, Alice in Wonderland and Balto, the sled dog, the historic Loeb Boathouse, the pedestrian mall, Conservatory Water, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Dairy, Carousel, Wollman Rink and Victorian Gardens.

Besides visiting some of the sights on the family tour, The Arts and Architecture Central Park Walking Tour includes the Obelisk, Belvedere Castle, Swedish Cottage, Cherry Hill, Bow Bridge and the Strawberry Fields/Imagine Mosaic, named after the Beatles song to commemorate John Lennon's death.