Dating back to 1938, Essex House doesn't seem like much to look at if you don't know what you're looking at; however, its history makes it a landmark in South Florida; its most famous client, Al Capone, put the hotel on the map back in the 1930s. The hotel has a splendid Art Deco facade spreading over the corner of Collins Avenue and 10th street. The porch running along the front is perfect for sitting in the shade with homemade lemonade whilst watching Miami life go by. The pool is found to the right hand side at the end of the porch; it is small, but effective if you don't want to do the 5 minute walk to the beach.
Inside, the lobby looks nondescript upon first impression - a mix of greys and browns greets the eye. It takes a few minutes to seek out why this is the most famous lobby in town. The lobby is a 1930s original; apart from the furniture, the structure has been kept exactly as it was since it was built. From the typical terrazzo flooring, to the enormous fireplace, the Earl le Pan mural and the reception desk. To the right of the reception is the hotel lounge. Unfortunately nothing remains of the original casino that was visited by Al Capone apart from the arrows on the floor. Photographs of the hotel in its gangster heyday hang on the walls, reinforcing the Essex House's reputation.
There is no spa or gym, but guests can use the facilities over at the Clevelander or Hotel Victor. The lounge is more of a bar and no longer serves food. On offer are top-shelf liquor, domestic and imported beer and red and white wines. The lounge has a simple decor and a very casual atmosphere, but guests seem to like it for pre or post evening drinks.