|JW Marriott Essex House|
|Location||160 Central Park South|
New York City, New York
|Opening||October 1, 1931|
|Owner||Anbang Insurance Group|
|Height||461.0 ft (140.51 m)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Frank Grad & Sons|
|Number of rooms||426|
|Number of suites||101|
|Number of restaurants||2|
|JW Marriott Essex House New York|
The JW Marriott Essex House, opened in 1931 and commonly known as the Essex House, is a 44-story luxury hotel with 426 Art Deco-style rooms and 101 suites, located at 160 Central Park South in Manhattan, across the street from the southern border of Central Park. The building also includes 147 condominium residences. It is immediately recognizable by its original red neon rooftop sign.
JW Marriott Essex House is on part of the site of an eight-building housing cooperative complex called Navarro Flats, developed by José Francisco de Navarro from 1882 to 1884. At the time, Central Park South contained a multitude of high-class apartment buildings. However, Navarro Flats was not successful, and it closed by the 1920s. Construction began on October 30, 1929, one day after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The hotel was first intended to be named the Park Tower and then the Sevilla Tower. However the Great Depression slowed construction and the hotel did not open until October 1, 1931, as the Essex House.
In 1932, the hotel was taken from its bankrupt owners by the US Government's Reconstruction Finance Corporation. That same year, the hotel erected its iconic six-story sign on the roof. In 1946, the RFC sold the hotel to the Sterling National Bank & Trust Co. They sold the Essex House to Marriott Hotels in 1969, who operated it as Marriott's Essex House. Marriott sold the hotel to Japan Air Lines (JAL) in 1984, who ran it under their Nikko Hotels division as Essex House Hotel Nikko New York. Japan Air Lines sold the hotel to Strategic Hotels & Resorts in 1999, who brought in Starwood Hotels to manage it under their Westin Hotels division as Essex House - A Westin Hotel.
The Dubai Investment Group acquired the hotel from Strategic in 2006 for $424 million. They put it under their Jumeirah Group as Jumeirah Essex House and undertook a $90 million renovation, overseen by Hirsch Bedner Associates, an Atlanta-based design firm.
In 2012, Strategic Hotels & Resorts re-acquired the hotel from the Dubai Investment Group for $325 million--$50 million less than they had sold it for 6 years earlier. The hotel was renamed JW Marriott Essex House New York on September 8, 2012, after the sale closed.
In March 2016 Strategic Hotels & Resorts was purchased by Anbang Insurance Group, a Beijing-based Chinese insurance company. The deal included the Essex House and 15 other luxury hotels and resorts. The deal was first announced as being worth $6.5 billion, but ended up being for $5.5 billion after Strategic was forbidden by the US Government to sell the Hotel del Coronado to overseas buyers, due to its location adjacent to Naval Base Coronado.
The hotel was formerly the home of a many-starred restaurant, Alain Ducasse at Essex House. However, Ducasse closed the restaurant at Essex House in January 2007. In early 2008, South Gate Restaurant and Bar opened in the hotel.
The hotel's main restaurant, South Gate, features a seasonally inspired modern-American menu and overlooks Central Park. Other facilities include The Spa, a 24-hour fitness center and business center. JW Marriott Essex House also features banquet facilities including the Grand Salon, Petite Salon and Art Deco Salon.