This restored art deco gem is a favorite with Europeans desiring good location and a relatively no-frills, practical base—expect average-size rooms with midcentury-style red furniture and marble tubs. The lobby mural was created in 1938 by artist Earl Le Pan, who touched it up 50 years later. The Essex House is a stunning example of maritime deco (also known as nautical moderne). Designed by Henry Hohauser to evoke an ocean liner, the hotel is rife with marine elements, from the rows of porthole-style windows and natty racing stripes to the towering smokestack-like sign. With a prow angled proudly into the street corner, it seems ready to steam out to sea. The outdoor patio is idyllic for lazy days of people-watching. The suites, reached by crossing a courtyard, are well worth the upgrade: each has a wet bar, king-size bed, 100-square-foot bathroom, refrigerator, and hot tub.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The Essex House is part of the Clevelander complex -- known for late night partying, especially during major sporting event watch parties.
Simple rooms are tastefully decorated in rich chocolate wood. amenities include high-speed WiFi, pillow top mattresses, in-room safe, and flatscreen TV.
Guests 21 & over receive complimentary access to the Clevelander's pool and patio and its entertainment.
Decorated in a classic art deco style, the Essex house has a small lobby with a fireplace and mural of the first Floridians.
Essex House guests 21 and over have access to the Clevelander's Pool and Patio, a lively waterfront party.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If you're looking to catch up on your reading, this might not be the pool scene for you.
The adjacent Clevelander serves typical sports bar fare like crispy fried calamari and burgers.
Most Ocean Drive shops and restaurants are within walking distance. A free Miami Beach trolley operates seven days a week.
Naked Taco (5-minute walk) is celebrity chef Ralph Pagano's ode to "all things taco". The lively restaurant also has a great margarita selection. Le Sandwicherie (5-minute walk) offers gourmet sandwiches until the wee hours of the morning.
Mac's Club Deuce (5-minute walk) is a Miami Beach institution -- a dive bar that's a throwback to 50 years ago. It's also a favorite of Anthony Bourdain's. Repour (15-minute walk) offers craft cocktails made with herbs grown on premises.
WHY WE LIKE IT
After a day spent sunning on the beach followed by an evening of drinking and carousing, the Essex House is a comfortable place to recharge until the sun comes up and you do it all over again.