The Big Easy is one of the most iconic cities on earth. It’s a cultural melting pot, with French, Creole and African influences that led to it being hailed as the birthplace of jazz. Each year the Louisiana city hosts an inimitable Mardi Gras showcasing its reputation for superb dance and music. Established in 1718, New Orleans has evolved into a top tourist destination with round the clock activity – there’s so much to see and do that it can be hard to find time to sleep. Although if you book a room in one of these hotels, you can enjoy some shut-eye in true luxury.
Stay at the Ritz-Carlton where in-house live jazz comes as standard. This used to be an upmarket department store until the grand Beaux-Arts building was transformed into an elegant hotel. It’s on the fringes of the French Quarter, offering easy access to all areas of the city. Guests can dine in the M Bistro and wine in the Davenport Lounge, while those residing in higher grade rooms also have access to a Club Level lounge. The spa encompasses the ground floor of the hotel and includes a swimming pool.
The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
A Grande Dame from another big name hotelier, The Roosevelt has an old school, glamorous feel. Walnut panelling, dark wood furnishings, leather armchairs, chandeliers, gilt columns and low-level lighting create a Presidential atmosphere befitting its title. Rooms come with Waldorf Serenity beds, 42-inch flat-screen TVs, Ferragamo toiletries and minibars. The Roosevelt was built in 1893, but underwent major reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, reopening in 2009. The Mississippi River is within strolling distance and its feature restaurant, Sazerac, is a destination dining venue. There’s also an Italian eatery, a rooftop poolside bar and Teddy’s cafe for coffee and fresh pastries.
W New Orleans – French Quarter
The focal point for W’s property in the French Quarter is a lantern-lit cloistered courtyard, with modish furniture, a pool area surrounded by cabanas and a bubbling fountain. This is flanked by shuttered hotel rooms on either side — you could be fooled into thinking you’d just arrived on the French Riviera. The ethos at the trendy W chain is Whatever, Wherever, meaning patrons receive an elevated level of service. Street food-inspired small plates are served at the hip SoBou (whose name refers to its location south of Bourbon Street). W stands out in the city as one of its few upscale modern hotel brands.
While NOPSI is found smack bang in the centre of the Business District, it’s as popular with leisure travellers as those visiting for work. The art deco era building was originally intended as a public services office, and while there are nods to this heritage among the hotel’s artefacts, these days it’s an undeniably glamorous spot. From a minimal modern rooftop pool terrace to an opulent vaulted lobby, NOPSI provides lashings of luxe. The hotel’s dining room, Public Service, pays homage to the property’s former life, while its casual eatery, Above the Grid, is beside the small pool. And there’s a super gin bar, Undercurrent.
Loews New Orleans Hotel
Housed in a skyscraper (the hotel begins on the 11th floor), this is the place for views. At Loews, you can work out while looking at the Mississippi. The hotel also boasts a superb spa with an indoor saltwater pool. Its interior design moves between arty/funky and traditional elegance, while its food offering comes from the esteemed Brennan family restauranteurs, at Cafe Adelaide, serving New Orlean classic dishes. And if you fancy experiencing private dining, book a place at the Chef’s Table with wine pairings. Weekends bring live jazz in the bar, or guests fancying a flutter can pop across the road to Harrah’s Casino.
Le Meridien New Orleans
Go downtown to what was once a W property. Le Meridien now caters for a more mature market, with rooms modelled on mid-century Parisian style. Indeed this ‘grown-up’ arty feel extends throughout the building, with rooms dressed in calming, moody tones, accompanied by hints of retro design. Grab a book and order a whisky as you recline in the sophisticated lounge, or swim a few laps in the chic rooftop pool. Breakfast is served in Marche, with coffee brewed in Longitude 90. There are no options on-site for dinner, but with a plethora of restaurants close by, you needn’t stray far to find some excellent local food.