Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Vintage memorabilia surrounded by a jazzy, earth-toned decor
Inside the painstakingly restored lobby, it's easy to feel as if you've been transported back to the hotel's first go-round in 1938. The earth-tone color palette and jazzy fabrics on boxy club chairs blend with original details such as the speckled terrazzo tile floors and hexagonal windows. Original, quirky details include an immense mural depicting the Florida Everglades above a curved marble fireplace and several chrome replicas of spaceships and propeller planes. The hotel also displays works from prior Art Basel exhibitions and rotates its own pieces periodically.
Located in the heart of South Beach, near array of tourist sights
Essex House is located on Collins Avenue in the heart of South Beach. The famed Ocean Drive is one block away and The Clevelander, where guests enjoy priority access to amenities including the rooftop bar, is within a two-minute walk. There are also dozens of shops and restaurants within walking distance along Collins and Ocean Drive. Miami International Airport is about 20 minutes away by car under ideal traffic conditions, while reaching the area’s convention center takes less than a 10-minute drive.
Modern (if slightly drab) decor, with some complaints of noise; higher-tier bathrooms are well-apppointed
Standard rooms are a bit cramped, while higher-tier rooms and suites offer considerably more space. All are decorated in a muddy combination of pea green and brown that make strike some as a bit cheerless, but furnishings are modern; all in all, the rooms are still among the nicest for the price in South Beach. Guests have complained of thin walls, with noise easily heard from the corridor and other rooms. Standard bathrooms are nicely renovated in vintage style, with marble walls and pedestal sinks. However, there's little room to stash toiletries. Larger suite baths have ample storage space and jetted tubs.
Lots of welcome extras, including free breakfast and happy hour; an on-site Asian-Fusion eatery offers additional cuisine
The hotel has a lobby bar with outdoor seating that doubles as the breakfast room, where free morning meals are served daily for guests. There's also Zen Sai, an on-site Asian-Fusion restaurant and lounge that's open for dinner. Each afternoon there’s free lemonade in the Essex House lobby and an evening happy hour with wine, beer, and snacks.
The 80-room Essex House Hotel is a bastion of Art Deco architecture and decor — so much so that groups of tourists regularly tramp through the lobby on guided tours. And that's not the only hubbub that disrupts this so-called "oasis of calm." The party at the adjacent Clevelander often continues into the wee hours, and the noise keeps some guests awake. On the plus side, there's a tiny pool in a lush, tropical courtyard, a feature that many South Beach hotels lack. Generous freebies include a basic continental breakfast, happy hour cocktails, and fresh towels to use at the beach across the street. Considering the location in the heart of South Beach, this hotel is a terrific value.