The Best New Orleans Hotels for Good Design, According to a Local
Because Mardi Gras season is here.
Published Jan 25, 2023 1:32 AM
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From dreamy decor to top-notch amenities, Domino’s Wish You Were Here series is your first-class ticket to the most design-driven getaways around the world. Whether you’re looking to steal away for a few days or just steal a few ideas for back home (we encourage both, for the record), check out where we’re checking in.
The Big Easy isn’t just a place to party. (Well, not in the way you’re thinking.) After living there for nearly a year, I’ve noticed it’s a celebration for your eyes, too, mainly because of the architectural details and European-inspired design that carries over into some of the city’s best stays. From the French Quarter’s classic wrought-iron railings to the Garden District’s stately mansions to the Marigny’s rows of candy-colored Creole cottages, there’s literally something for everyone. Here are the best hotels in New Orleans.
The Chloe, Garden District
What we love: Private access to your own Narnia.
You know you’re in the South when you’re being waved onto a sprawling front porch with a cold drink. That’s what makes this teal-on-teal Victorian really feel like a home away from home. And with only 14 beds, don’t be surprised when the staff greets you by name as you make your way past the inky walls and alligator-clad carpet up to your room. Inside each spacious suite, you’ll find an eclectic mix of local art and comfy furniture, be it a daybed nestled under a bay window or a rocking chair next to the minibar, all decorated and curated by NOLA native Sara Ruffin Costello. Once you’ve settled into your room, drop a Fats Domino or Louis Armstrong album on the turntable courtesy of nearby spin shop Peaches Records and unwind in one of the handwoven robes designed by local artisan Lekha. Then take a look around. You might have scored one of the rooms with the most delightful amenity of all: an armoire that opens up to either a hidden bathroom or a sunny nook. $$$
Columns, Garden District
What we love: She’s demure on the outside, dramatic on the inside.
The crisp white exterior of this Italianate estate gives way to a lobby dipped in jewel tones and chockablock with antique fixtures. You won’t be able to miss any of the maximalism—in fact, hotelier Jayson Seidman worked with a team of film lighting specialists to spotlight it all, including the original mahogany staircase that meets a domed stained-glass skylight before ushering you to the guest suites. (Major Titanic vibes.) On the second and third floors, rooms feel residential—that is, if you’re a 19th-century debutante—with touches of modern comforts, like Aesop toiletries and Parachute linens, which still look at home with the vintage furnishings (some of which were found in the old house’s attic) and toile wallpaper. $$$
Hotel St. Vincent, Lower Garden District
What we love: A poolside meeting place for the past and present.
The story of Hotel St. Vincent begins with Margaret Haughery, an Irish orphan who founded an “infant asylum” here in 1835, and meanders through religious, philanthropic, and European narratives before reaching its current chapter—which might explain why many of the 75 rooms overlook a 150-year-old Virgin Mary grotto. Inside, a psychedelic pattern shows up in the rooms, on lampshades, and on robes; it was inspired by the marbled bindings found on Haughery’s financial ledgers. Oversize rattan pendant lamps and mosaic floor tile in the Paradise Lounge feel reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast—a nod to NOLA’s lesser-known Italian influences. And sure, the history is fascinating, but nothing beats a day at the pool lazing on striped loungers with a Creole colada in hand. $$$
Virgin Hotel New Orleans, Central Business District
What we love: A cheeky yet chic escape from the French Quarter.
Far enough from the Vieux Carré chaos but still central to much of the action (the Superdome and Smoothie King Arena are a short walk away), this adult playground in the CBD is just what you’d expect from a Richard Branson entity: grown-up, sexy, and a little silly. The bubblegum pink lobby is full of fanciful installations (don’t be alarmed by the “rabbit man” with a permanent seat in the Funny Library café), and the rooftop pool is a buzzy place to take a dip with tiki-style drinks. When you’re ready for some quiet time, sneak off to your two-chamber room, where a cozy window-front niche is set to end the evening with a nightcap or start the day with room service. $$$
Maison de la Luz, Central Business District
What we love: It’s the place for a proper Southern swoon.
Named for the blend of Spanish and French culture felt throughout the city, Maison de la Luz blends the exclusivity of a social club with the chill of a private home in one seriously chic hotel. Los Angeles–based Studio Shamshiri is behind the ornate yet refined design of the 67 bedrooms that make up the first luxury property under the Ace Hotel umbrella. The walls, swathed in what might be the ideal shade of barely there lavender (it’s Misty Lilac, by the way), are the backdrop for commissioned artwork, vintage treasures, and bespoke touches (peep the serpent-themed shower handles). In the guest-only living room, you can enjoy nightly wine and cheese or a perfectly balanced cocktail from the secret picture frame–turned–service window in the private salon. Should you decide to wander over to the adjacent Bar Marilou (the public establishment where Alexandra Daddario had her wedding), you’ll find the scarlet-steeped scene ain’t too shabby. $$$$
One11, French Quarter
What we love: As close as you can get to the action without staying on Bourbon Street.
As the French Quarter’s first new hotel in more than 50 years, One11 adds a refreshing modernity to the historic district while still keeping it real. Located at 111 Iberville, the brand’s identity was born from its past life as the Louisiana Sugar Refining Company, and the aesthetic is decidedly industrial because of it. Relics of the original structure, such as steel and wood beams, cut through hallways and cross the ceilings in the guest rooms. A neutral palette, crisp white linens, and warm lighting soften up the warehouse vibes, and from the roof deck you can catch panoramic views of the Vieux Carré and Mississippi River. $$$
Hotel Peter & Paul, Marigny
What we love: A stylish place to wash away sins.
For the repentant hours between those late nights and not-so-early mornings, consider a former church and convent to lay your head. The creatives at ASH NYC showed off when transforming this 18th-century campus with their signature cinematic spin. The color palette, heavy on rich golds, deep reds, and regal blues, is pulled from iconic religious paintings. Anything new—gingham drapery, custom murals, and handmade rugs, for example—only amplifies the building’s original cypress-wood moldings, stained-glass windows, and wainscot corridors. For those who wake up in need of extra cleansing, a yoga class in the restored pale pink cathedral will truly take you to church. $$$
The Frenchmen Hotel, Marigny
What we love: A women’s world on a street named for men.
The secret’s out on Frenchmen Street. The cooler, more bohemian little sister to Bourbon Street used to be the locals’ hidden gem, but with a renovated hotel in the middle of the action, the word’s clearly gotten around. The recent refresh thoughtfully reimagined the 1860s-built property into a buzzy boutique spot with a live music scene and craft cocktail bar. The building’s original character has been left intact, but interiors were made anew with Leonor Fini as the muse—an artist known for her avant-garde depictions of historical female characters. It only takes a quick look at the walls, lined with portraits of fierce women, to feel the feminine power at play. $$
Where to Shop
- Merchant House: From mid-century writing desks to ’80s-era lamps, everything in this antiques-focused shop is sourced from locally based merchants. Better yet, it’s located just one block off of the shopper’s haven that is Magazine Street, a six-mile stretch of mostly NOLA-based boutiques.
- Sunday Shop: One of the must-stop shops along said miles. The team behind Logan Killen Interiors carries its laid-back luxury into the space with fan favorites like Flamingo Estate and Zak + Fox.
- Vintage 329: Decades-old Chanel sparklers might catch your eye when walking by this Royal Street store, but the vintage barware in the back room will command your attention (and your wallet). At the right time, gilded rocks glasses, Karl Palda decanters, and Art Deco coupes might be up for grabs.
Where to Eat
- Couvant: If you didn’t already feel transported by the city’s European influence, this restaurant will take you all the way. Beyond leather banquettes and harlequin floors, the brasserie serves up French cuisine with Southern soul. The menu features airy gougeres with truffled mornay, cochon de lait, and brioche-crusted veal, but the real highlight is the brick courtyard beyond the main dining room.
- Sylvain: On a surprisingly quiet street in the French Quarter just off Jackson Square, this Southern bistro (from the same folks behind the Chloe) offers a lively spot to grab an order of champagne and fries or cast-iron cornbread. People watch from the window-front seats, chat it up at the bar, or tuck away in the tiny courtyard—every seat in the house is a winner.
- Mister Mao: If it’s possible to tire of po’boys and gumbo, head uptown to this globally inspired gem where a ’40s-diner-style chef’s counter and tiger-themed mural almost steal the show from the innovative menu. Here, the flavors lean Asian, from their take on lechon kawali to Kashmiri fried chicken with a kick.
- The Fountain Lounge and Sazerac Bar: Inside the iconic Roosevelt Hotel, the Sazerac Bar is home to New Orleans’s eponymous official beverage and the world’s first cocktail. Grab a bite from the Fountain Lounge to fill your belly, before sliding up to the mahogany bar next door, where you’ll order several rounds of the spirit-forward sips from dapper bartenders in tailored white coats.
- Dooky Chase: This is the place to get your fill of authentic Creole cuisine. As one of the oldest Black-owned restaurants in the country, the only thing richer than Dooky’s roux is the history behind these walls—everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Barack Obama has graced this dining room. And as if the place weren’t impressive enough, The Princess and the Frog was based on the story of Ms. Leah Chase, the legendary founding chef.