For business or pleasure, the Intercontinental New Orleans is a sure bet for comfort, offering the kind of luxe consistency you expect to find at this international chain. Free WiFi, a health club, and turndown service all make travel more enjoyable—there’s something waiting when the sirens of Bourbon Street and overindulgence lose their appeal. Chef Klaus Happel runs the hotel’s food and beverage program, making one of the neighborhood’s best hamburgers for the business lunch crowd, feeding banquet guests top-notch fare, and channeling his New Orleans environs for diners at the Veranda Room.
With sweeping views of the Mississippi and hard-working barges chugging up her waters, Westin Canal Place reminds guests with every glance why New Orleans rose to prominence in America’s early history. And with some of New Orleans best shopping downstairs, a prime French Quarter location, and Harrah’s Casino just around the corner, guests need no reminder why they chose to stay at this Westin property. Seriously spacious rooms, WiFi, a gym, and the promise of Starwood Points seal the deal. As an added benefit, recently hired Chef Gregg Zeringue has updated the signature River 127 restaurant with a globally inspired New Orleans menu (think Curried Fried Oysters and Hoisin Pork Belly).
If you want a hotel smack in the center of the French Quarter, with the wild cadence of Bourbon Street just outside your door and the prime shopping of Royal Street around the corner, Bourbon Orleans Hotel has a room for you. Built in 1817 as a ballroom and theatre, the building has proved its staying power by converting to a convent in 1881 and a hotel 83 years later. Recently renovated rooms breathe even more life into the hotel without losing sight of the past. The owners preserved the ornate, original ballroom for events, and some guests even mingle with former residents (New Orleans ghost tours start in the lobby). Chef Robert Plouffe also maintains NOLA culinary traditions (and stretches them a bit with items like flat-bread pizzas and salads) at Roux on Orleans.
A single friends’ weekend spot, Hotel le Marais is modern, sleek, and sexy. With a purple glow and Mardis Gras-colored chairs in the lobby, the hotel has a party vibe that starts as soon as you walk in the door, and you can keep it going (presumably) on the back patio and in the largest hot tub in town. Framed quotes in the gym—“I really don’t think I need buns of steel. Buns of cinnamon would work for me.”—remind you why you’re in New Orleans. (It ain’t to work out.) Spare bedroom furnishings and tasteful rugs distinguish rooms from nearby chain properties—you won’t find gold framed nature scenes or red Fleur de Lys carpeting here.
It may be one block off of Bourbon Street, but Hotel Mazarin is an oasis of charm. The hotel surrounds a private courtyard, where guests can soak in the pleasures of New Orleans architecture and weather, while lounging, dining, and drinking. In fact, life here revolves around wine. Patrick’s Bar Vin, run by bon vivant and Mardia Gras King of Cru Patrick van Hoorebeek, offers a superb selection of Champagnes by the glass, in addition to an interesting list of reds and white. The bar also offers high-end wine storage, so locals can stash their bottles and drink them on visits to the Quarter. Hotel rooms are simple with a few luxurious touches like black marble and sexy glass showers—the perfect escape for a couple who wants to be close to all the French Quarter action.
The opulent Roosevelt has all the charms of a historic hotel with the luxurious benefits guests come to expect from a Waldorf Astoria property. The restaurants and bars alone are a draw; it’s home to John Besh and 2012 Rising Star Alon Shaya’s Domenica and Sazerac Bar, where Mixologist Russ Bergeron upholds the city’s most venerable cocktail traditions: the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz. Chef Stefan Kauth oversees dining at the Blue Room and Teddy’s Café. Guest rooms are well appointed with crisp linens, dream-inducing mattresses, plush towels, and Salvatore Ferragamo bath products (the eye mask is sumptuous). For relaxation, the Guerlain Spa is one of the city’s best, and the rooftop pool allows guest to beat New Orleans’ Southern heat in style.
The formidable, luxurious Windsor Court Hotel has held the imaginations and hearts of travelers since it opened in 1984. Recently updated rooms—part of a larger $22 million renovation—debuted in January 2012, and they could have been decorated by your aristocratic aunt. Thick, custom magnolia curtains, toile footstools, cream marble countertops, and playful aviary lamps pull you into a proper Southern parlor. The only hotel with Forbes Four Stars and AAA Four Diamonds Awards in Louisiana, the hotel's rooms drip with luxury and charm. Molton Brown bath products, jazz in the lobby, complimentary valet, and a well-trained staff complete the experience. And Windsor’s culinary team—Chef Drew Dzejak, Pastry Chef Shun Li, Sommelier Sara Kavanaugh, and Mixologist Christin Jeanine Nielson—pamper guests with high-end cuisine and drinks.
Located on Royal St. in the heart of the French Quarter, Hotel Monteleone brims with history and charm. Opened in 1886 by Italian nobleman Antonio Monteleone, the hotel has thrived through four generations, growing into a majestic 600-room complex stocked with 25 meeting rooms, a heated rooftop pool, a spa, and exercise facilities. The Carousel Bar, with its circular rotating bar, is an infamous New Orleans watering hole, immortalized in books by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. In celebration of its 125th anniversary, the hotel underwent massive renovations, including development of a new restaurant and expansion to the bar area.