New Orleans Hotels
The Columns Hotel
3811 St. Charles Ave., Garden District
As the humidity drops and temperatures cool, it’s New Orleans’s time to shine. Visitors who stay at the Columns, an iconic and eclectic Victorian mansion in the Garden District, will take a front row seat overlooking St. Charles Avenue’s centuries-old oaks. It’s wholly possible to hang on the veranda all day, but it behooves you to visit the bar, which draws a crowd. In the bedrooms: antique furniture, Parachute linens, and Aesop by the sink.
Hotel Saint Vincent
1507 Magazine St., Lower Garden District
In New Orleans’s Lower Garden District, Hotel Saint Vincent is a gorgeous compound—75 rooms and three restaurants surrounding a courtyard pool and bar—toward the east end of Magazine Street, just a short ride from the French Quarter. It has a relaxed, partyish vibe that’s in sync with the spirit of the city, and the design is considered, down to the smallest details—like the pretty pink tiling in the bathrooms and the swish silk robes that match the marbled-paper walls. The cult-favorite Austin boutique ByGeorge has an outpost just off the lobby, which is either convenient or dangerous, depending on your perspective.
Hotel Peter and Paul
2317 Burgundy St., Marigny
It’s taken four years of meticulous restoration of an 1860s church, schoolhouse, rectory, and convent, but this highly anticipated hotel in the Marigny is finally open. Between them, the four buildings contain seventy-one guest rooms, a bookstore, a café, and a bar, and it’s about as far as you can get from a chain-hotel experience. Each room is individually decorated by New York City–based design firm ASH NYC (it specializes in historic updates) with antique furniture and lighting, hand-painted tiles in the bathroom (a few have clawfoot tubs), and a canopy bed—a cozy, throwback touch that’s not found much these days. The café is another reason to book. Run by Church Alley Coffee Bar, it’s the best place in the neighborhood for your morning cortado.
Ace Hotel New Orleans
600 Carondelet St., Warehouse District
While the décor here definitely feels like an Ace, you’ll find none of the urban grunge of the New York location or the woods-y, hipster feel of the Portland and Seattle spots. The building itself is a 1928 art deco masterpiece in the Warehouse District, occupied by a Scandinavian furniture company for most of its existence, and now topped with a pool that’s open year round in the balmy, humid Southern weather here. The moody-but-elegant interiors are decorated (by no less than goop favorites Roman & Williams) in dark gem tones, with perfectly worn leather banquettes and thoughtful art deco accents. As this is an Ace, the restaurant is shaping up to be pretty great as well. Memphis food wizards Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, childhood best friends whose home-style Italian food is infused with a Southern kick, made it their first venture outside of Tennessee.
214 Royal St., French Quarter
So here's the story: Antonio Monteleone, a shoe-making nobleman from Sicily who moved to New Orleans in the 1800s and established a cobbler shop, bought this 64-room hotel in 1886. And then he bought another one and merged them together. It's still in the same family today, and it's still a four-star hotel, thanks to multiple renovations over the course of the last century. Incidentally, it's also supposedly haunted, with many reports of ghost sightings and other strange occurrences. Not necessarily a bad thing, since many luminaries have made the hotel their home, including Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Truman Capote.
130 Roosevelt Way, French Quarter
After Hurricane Katrina, The Roosevelt—which had been operating as one of New Orleans' more opulent hotels for more than 100 years—shut down. But now, after a full restoration, which uncovered some of its original wonderful details that had been layered over by intervening remodels, it's back, and as luxurious as ever (it's now part of the Waldorf Astoria family). Besides being home to The Sazerac Bar (and the birthplace of the drink), The Roosevelt also claims that the construction of the Airline Highway—which connects Baton Rouge and New Orleans—is all thanks to them, since former governor Huey Long spent so much time there he wanted a shorter drive.
The Soniat House
1133 Chartres St., French Quarter
All of the 31 rooms at this small, luxury boutique hotel are furnished with New Orleans antiques, which is just one of the many ways that the owners, Rodney and Frances Smith, make it clear that they care. In the 80s, they bought a handful of adjacent historic homes, and strung them together into Soniat, preserving them all in the process. There are two things to remember: 1. The hotel isn't haunted; 2. They serve homemade biscuits in bed every morning.
Windsor Court Hotel
300 Gravier St., French Quarter
This four-star hotel just underwent a $22 million dollar restoration—it's a really nice, solid option, with all the requisite amenities (and no ghosts).
Ritz Carlton New Orleans
921 Canal St., French Quarter
This historic Beaux Arts building on the edge of the French Quarter was a department store in its past life. Now it’s home to the Ritz-Carlton, which brought new energy to the city’s hotel scene when it opened in 2000. Although the hotel is part of a big luxury chain, the feeling is unmistakably New Orleans, with opulent guest rooms swagged in silk curtains and intricately patterned textiles that give off a fun, nineteenth-century vibe. And the location on Canal Street means you’re in walking distance of almost everything you’ll want to see over a few days in the city (like the French Quarter, Louis Armstrong Park, and the Central Business District). There’s also a 25,000-square-foot spa for all manner of massages, facials, body scrubs, and mani-pedis.