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by Paul Oswell, The Daily Telegraph, October 14, 2016
A former grand ballroom and then a convent, this French Quarter institution has seen every side of Bourbon Street life. A more central location is hard to imagine, making it a near-perfect base for exploring the Crescent City.
The historic French Quarter is the centre of New Orleans and this hotel lies plum in the middle of it. It occupies almost an entire block and is a short stroll from almost all of downtown’s cultural highlights, high-octane Bourbon Street included.
Style & character 8/100
The building has lived several lives and some of the grandeur from its days as a high-society ballroom live on. This is especially true in the decorous refinement of the large lobby, where guests loll on the couches and sip cocktails while a pianist tinkles in the background. It’s a solidly traditional property, the floral fabrics, marble pillars and chandeliers hint at a timelessness that reflects the hotel’s surroundings, without stifling the noticeably fun-loving vibe.
Service & facilities 8/100
Even on a Tuesday afternoon, the lobby is a-buzz with bellboys, valet parking staff and the like. The reception is discreetly hidden away and the cheerfully, bright staff joked their way through the check-in. Keys, free drink tickets for the bar and a map of the locale all come in a helpful bundle, and you feel well-equipped to explore from the get-go. The ground-level pool is one of the city’s most attractive, and all the features you’d expect from a large, full-service hotel (concierge, business centre, etc) are present and correct.
The hotel touts its standard rooms as having a flavour of ‘Provence-style décor’, which translates to bold red and green accents on the soft furnishings and carpets with unremarkable but inoffensive wooden furniture. The ergonomic desk chairs are a welcome nod to modernity, as are the standard technological amenities. The wide-bladed ‘plantation shutters’ mean that you can relax in soft daylight, and looking out, I had third-floor views of the courtyard and pool, though street views are also possible. The marble bathrooms are of good quality, and the hotel has its own line of branded toiletries for the walk-in shower.
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Food & drink 7/100
Just off the lobby, the hotel’s main restaurant is called Roux on Orleans, and is open for breakfast and dinner. Both menus focus on classics, with local touches such as Andouille sausage, Creole tomatoes and the like. Their bar, Bourbon “O”, boasts one of the city’s most charismatic head bartenders, Cheryl Charming, who has a wealth of cocktail knowledge and, if you’re lucky, a magic trick or two for you. There’s one of the better live jazz shows on Bourbon Street happening Wednesday-Saturday evenings, and if you order local speciality cocktail the Ramos Gin Fizz, they have a machine to shake it to perfection for you.
Value for money 8/100
Double rooms from $119 (£93) in low season; and from $399 (£313) in high season, excluding breakfast ($14.95/£12). Wi-Fi is free, as is bottled water in the room. Complimentary drink tickets can be used at the bar.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Two rooms at the hotel are ADA compliant, and have roll-in showers.
The large pool will be a definite draw for children in the otherwise adult surroundings of the French Quarter, but as downtown hotels go, it’s relatively good for families.
This article was written by Paul Oswell from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.