Not a day goes by without a reader or friend reaching out for recommends on places to stay with their kids and family, places to eat, and things to do here in New York City. I usually tailor my favorites according to their children’s ages, suggesting some classic and iconic options, in addition to a few hidden gems here in the city. I rarely make suggestions without vetting them first, because some things may not be as they appear. One of the best perks of my job are the many family staycations we’ve experienced in our hometown. This research allows me to be confident when offering information about where they should spend time and money with their family. And for parents with kids, a family friendly hotel is everything.
Over the years of going to Central Park with my kids, I’ve seen the iconic Essex House red neon sign popping through the skyline of buildings on Central South Park, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that my family and I had the opportunity of staying there!
Opening its doors back in 1931, the JW Marriott 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, right across the street from the southern border of Central Park. Location is everything, as it is adjacent to Central Park South, minutes from Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle, Fifth Avenue shopping, and plenty of other attractions. For families, there are spacious family connector rooms, and their suites offer expanded living areas. Some of these suites are available with terraces overlooking Central Park, and feel free to bring your 4 legged friends along, because the Essex House is pet-friendly too!
As part of the JW Family package, a glamping experience was recently introduced with a super upscale twist. With a super cute, custom “JW Camper” set-up in a luxury suite, a curated NYC outing that can be arranged by your very own concierge, welcome gifts, and more. This ultra-luxurious clamping setup is a welcome change to the same old hotel living.
We arrived at the hotel on a Friday evening, and were escorted to our gorgeous suite. I mean, the views were beyond fantastic, and the “JW Camper” is simply adorable. Over the course of our stay, we were also treated to one daily in-room dining experience. Breakfast room service is a fav for my kiddies, so this was a fun little addition offered with the package. Guests can choose between breakfast or dinner, to work around the way they plan on spending their days.
The welcome gifts were super cool, too. Its always such a special feeling to walk into a hotel room, and find little things waiting for us. On the desk there was an NYC activity guide for a curated tour of Central Park, and a brochure with a very nice Wind Down and Get Up routine designed by the Joffery Ballet. In absence of a morning workout, this breathing routine was a really peaceful way to start my day.
I can’t forget that in addition to our Central Park tour, which was a load of fun by the way, we also experienced Gulliver’s Gate, a first for me. The exhibit, located on West 42nd Street, uses miniature scale models to show the world from a different perspective. It may sound like hyperbole, but seeing so much of the world in miniature form was just the coolest. Gulliver’s Gate has exhibits featuring London, Italy, and the World Trade Center. It also has mini replicas of Asia, Europe, Russia, New England, Latin America, and the Middle East. The kids and I had an amazing time exploring all the different areas and learning about different parts of the city and the world. It’s a must-see, and definitely getting added to my suggestion list for City visitors looking for fun things to do with their kids.
JW Marriott Essex House has raised the bar yet again when it comes to amazing accommodations and great family memories. Their glamping experience, Family by JW, is something that any family will absolutely love, especially during this holiday season. I know we certainly made some magical memories.