We went to NY for the weekend and stayed in the Essex Hotel - now the Jumeirah Essex. The Essex is a landmark hotel on Central Park South, richer than a couple of its neighbors, but poorer than the St. Regis or Plaza.
I've stayed there many times over the years, from Essex to Essex by Marriott to the Nikko Essex.
Jumeirah is one of the Dubai investment groups. They clearly have invested millions in renovation (I heard $50 million). While the rooms are clearly small by today's standard, they have been totally redone and are quite nice and comfortable, with the requisite large plasma screen in every room.
The lobby has been restored or re-invented and, while small, is elegant.
However, the staff isn't yet up to the task.
Waits to check in were silly. Guests at these rates don't want to be standing in lines. Our rooms weren't ready when we checked in; we went to a leisurely lunch; they promised to call to let us know our rooms were ready; let's just say the phone still hasn't rung.
The bell staff is simply surly. We were at the point that we were going to be late for our first appointment and asked the bellman for some assistance in expediting our luggage. The response: "...everyone is in a hurry".
So, nice accommodations, nice location; I'm going back to the Regency where the staff is friendly.