Jumeirah Essex House: Room with a View (with Room)
Story by Ed Salvato; above, the mesmerizing view from a 26th-floor north-facing room at the Jumeirah Essex House in New York City
Jumeirah Essex House (JumeirahEssexHouse.com), the iconic hotel with an unbeatable address on Central Park South, is rolling out the red carpet to LGBT guests. Originally opened in 1931, the hotel with the famous six-story red Essex sign on the roof is considered a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture. The hotel owners recently spent nearly $100 million renovating the hotel, including its fine-dining restaurant, South Gate, and intimate Spa at Jumeirah Essex House with its Sodashi spa products.
The refurbishment, which touched virtually every aspect of the hotel, skews more contemporary, stylish, and subtly masculine in terms of design. The hotel's Deco roots are celebrated primarily in the lobby and main hallway, which evoke the style of other New York City marvels of the time like the Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building. The room decor nods to the original era by virtue of the craftsmanship of the furnishings, the subtle Deco stylings, and the overall feeling of the gilded age of travel.
Among the hotel's many attributes, one of the most significant is the jaw-dropping views of Central Park, which stretches from the hotel's front door two and a half miles north. (See above.) Like a Monet haystack, the Park is subtly different each time you look at it. Mid-autumn is probably one of the loveliest times to drink in the intoxicating golds, greens, and reds carpeting the open expanse.
Gay guests interested in shopping, theater, and exploring Manhattan's gayborhoods, have plenty of options for all three activities within walking distance, including the bars, clubs, and restaurants in Hell's Kitchen, increasingly becoming New York's primary LGBT stomping ground.
If you can't leave Fido (right) behind, bring him! The hotel's Canine Turndown Service -- with fleece-lined pop-up tent, doggy bowls, treats, and more -- will pamper your pooch.
The hotel wants you to be out when you check in. Its knowledgeable staff stands ready to make reservations for a romantic dinner for two at South Gate, with ground floor, floor-to-ceiling views of Central Park or recommendations for all sorts of activities for you and your honey near the hotel and beyond.
Below is another view towards the east, including several iconic buildings like the 1984 AT&T Building with notched triangular roof just right of center designed by Philip Johnson, the famous architect who was gay and spent the last four decades of his life with the same man.