Recently I had to be in New York City for a night, and was undecided about where to stay. Typically I’m loyal to Hyatt and Starwood, though I’ve found that converting Starpoints into Marriott Rewards points for redemptions in expensive cities can be an exceptional value.
Since last year it’s possible to convert Starpoints into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio, and Marriott’s most expensive properties retail for 45,000 Marriott Rewards points per night, which is the equivalent of 15,000 Starpoints.
This is an awesome deal, given that in New York City most Starwood properties are Category 6 & 7, costing 20,000-35,000 Starpoints per night. So being able to redeem 15,000 Starpoints for one of Marriott’s better properties is a great deal.
I ended up deciding on the JW Marriott Essex House due to its location on 59th & 7th, which was right near where I needed to be. This is also close to Central Park. The paid rate would have been almost $800 for my one night stay, though I redeemed just 45,000 Marriott Rewards points.
The JW Marriott’s branding on the outside seems to be more focused on the Essex House branding than the Marriott branding as such.
I arrived late at night, so the lobby was empty. I thought the lobby was beautiful, in a classic sort of way. There was plenty of seating, and also a nice floral arrangement in the center of the lobby.
Reception was located to the right at the far end of the hall, and I was quickly helped by one of the associates.
He was friendly and efficient, and had me checked in within a couple of minutes. He thanked me for being a Marriott Platinum member (which I have through a Starwood status match), and told me I had been “upgraded to a nice room.” He also told me that I had access to the executive lounge, located just off the lobby. I requested 4PM late check-out, which was granted without any pushback.
With keys in hand I walked back towards the entrance and then turned right, where a long hallway led to the elevators.
The hotel has two sets of elevators, depending on which floor you’re staying on. I was staying on the 22nd floor, so took the elevators leading to floors 19-40. By the way, the white double doors in the below picture are the entrance to the club lounge, which I’ll talk more about in a bit.
Once outside the elevator, my room was in the opposite direction of most of the other rooms. While the hallway to most rooms led in the other direction, there were doors to two rooms right by the elevators.
My goodness, maybe I actually did get a good upgrade! I was assigned room 2217.
As it turned out, this was a huge suite — of course this always seems to happen on a quick overnight when you’re checking in late at night and only want to sleep. The room had a large foyer that led into the living room.
The living room was large, and featured a dining table with four seats, a living area with a couch and a comfortable chair, and a long console with a desk and wall-mounted TV.
Below the TV was a well stocked minibar.
Maybe it’s just me, but I found the location of the below chair on the left to be exceedingly random.
Just off the living room was a half bathroom with a sink and toilet.
Then a door led to the bedroom, which featured a comfortable bed.
There was a couch of sorts across from it, as well as a wall-mounted TV at a rather awkward angle.
Off the bedroom was the master bathroom, which featured a sink, bathtub, toilet, and small shower.
Toiletries were provided by Aromatherapy Associates.
The bathroom would have been large for a standard room, but was on the small side for a suite — there was a single sink, a small shower, and the toilet wasn’t partitioned off.
The room featured a view of nearby buildings — while the hotel is near Central Park, there weren’t any views of it from my room.
Wifi in the room was fast, though unfortunately the air conditioning in the bedroom didn’t seem to work. The living room cooled off easily, but the bedroom was warm. I probably should have gone down and just requested a standard room, but it was way past my bedtime, and the temperature wasn’t unmanageable. However, I definitely needed to shower in the morning before doing anything else, as I was a bit sweaty.
Aside from the temperature issue, space is the most valuable commodity in NYC, so getting an upgrade like this was a treat. The room was clean, well maintained, and bright, though I’m not so sure about the decor. It was perfectly fine, though felt a bit cheap.
In the morning I checked out the club lounge, which is located on the ground floor just near the elevators. They serve breakfast from 6:30AM until 11AM on weekdays (kudos to them for such long hours).
The club lounge is a decent size space, with plenty of dining tables. On the plus side, it has high ceilings, so feels spacious, though it does lack natural light.
This lounge was innovative in terms of their food spread. In the lounge itself were the drinks, including soft drinks, milk, water, juice, and coffee.
Then the breakfast spread was in a room nearby. The food is in an area that’s between the club lounge and the hotel’s restaurant, meaning that the buffet spread is shared between the restaurant and club guests. So the buffet area has two entrances, and one of them has a sign indicating that the area is reserved for lounge guests.
This is great news, because it means that the food selection is much better than the typical disappointing club lounge fare you’d get in the US.
I’ll let the pictures of the food mostly speak for themselves.
I’d consider this to be a great spread for a US lounge. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to check out the evening spread since I was only staying for one night, though. The club lounge attendants were friendly, and there seemed to be quite a few regulars to the hotel, based on the conversations they had with people.
NYC hotels usually don’t have all that many amenities, so the only other thing worth mentioning is that the hotel has a fairly nice gym, which can be accessed 24 hours per day with a key card.
I had commitments during the day, and checked out in the afternoon.
JW Marriott New York bottom line
The JW Marriott New York suited my needs perfectly. It was exactly where I needed to be (and personally it’s a location I like in general), the hotel’s public spaces are nice, I got a great upgrade, and the club lounge is excellent.
The date I was in New York was one where virtually everything was either sold out or super expensive, so transferring 15,000 Starpoints to Marriott for the purposes of this redemption represented a great deal. I’d highly recommend this hotel, especially given that it’s fewer points than any of the Westin or W properties in NYC.
Do you have a favorite Marriott property in NYC?