Essex House Accomodates Business Travelers, Feeds Locals

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Reed Travel Features

NEW YORK -- In a city brimming with dining opportunities, it is rare for a hotel restaurant to have a strong local following.

But such is the case for Les Celebrites, the gourmet French eatery at the Essex House on Central Park South in Manhattan, whose business is 98% community patrons.

Les Celebrites also is well-touted nationally as the only hotel restaurant in Manhattan to receive Mobil Travel Guide's five-diamond award.

The Essex House premiered Les Celebrites and its other property restaurant, Cafe Botanica (attracting 40% local clientele), in 1991 following a 20-month renovation of the entire 65-year old property that cost $75 million.

Although New Yorkers might populate its restaurant, international and corporate travelers are the main clientele at the 595-room property.

"We cater to the business market in New York, and that brings in travelers from all over the world," said Peter Dangerfield, the hotel's general manager.

Since the property reopened, it has had its best years, with last year topping all five.

According to Dangerfield, guest relations is the most important aspect of a hotel, and the Essex House has appointed its staff to handle guest concerns 24 hours a day.

"We have a concierge department that deals with the world outside the hotel and four full time professionals that deal with concerns inside the hotel to be sure that the guest experience is superb," Dangerfield said.

Accommodations at the Essex House include 77 one-bedroom suites, one Presidential suite, one Governor's suite and 40 Executive Studios.

Room rates range from $285 to $325, single, and $310 to $350, double.

Suite rates range from $375 to $500 per night for one-bedroom suites; $1,500 for the Governor's suite, and $2,500 for the Presidential suite.

Weekend packages are available that include welcome tea and a breakfast buffet at the hotel's Cafe Botanica.

Package rates are $239 per night for a standard room and start at $325 for a one-bedroom suite.

A Nikko Hotel since 1985, the Essex House is the company's North American flagship property.

For reservations, call (800) NIKKO US or (212) 484-5100.

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