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.