If a big box hotel isn’t your jam, New Orleans has you covered. In a market already rich with interesting inns – Hotel Peter and Paul and The Columns are two that leap to mind – there are four recently opened indie hotels that deserve a nod.
There’s a flavor for every guest, from The Chloe, a boutique sleep housed in a 19th-century Uptown mansion, to One11 Hotel, an eight-story hotel in a former sugar house at the bend of the Mississippi, to Hotel Saint Vincent, a reclaimed Catholic orphanage-turned-luxury stay, and Margaret Place, a Greek Revival event space meets hotel.
Hotel Saint Vincent
Dreamy bathtime awaits at Hotel Saint Vincent — Photo courtesy of Nick Simonite
Hotel Saint Vincent is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, a winning combination of funky design and historic detail that is impossible to resist. The hotel is housed in an 1860s red brick building originally founded as The Saint Vincent’s Infant Asylum by Irish immigrant and philanthropist Margaret Haughery. The orphanage was open into the 1970s, its notable iron filigree-encased front porches and courtyards eventually sheltering unwed mothers. It was later used as a hostel and fell into disrepair until local developers partnered with Austin-based MML Hospitality for a $22.2 million redo.
The 75-room hotel balances high style with a passionate embrace of architectural details. The property’s original grand staircase and wide sweeping corridors remain intact, with local art commissioned to pay homage to the nuns who once lived on the fourth floor. Each room is different, notable for rich textures and colors – think deep red mohair and salmon-colored velvet curtains, along with floor-to-ceiling windows, antiques and custom furniture from Lambert McGuire Design. The bathrooms are the best, with their pink and salmon tile, DS & Durga toiletries and trippy wallpaper. Many have private verandas.
The hotel’s two restaurants, two bars and outdoor pool terrace all give the sense that something wonderful and unexpected is about to happen. Dinner at San Lorenzo offers coastal Italian fare heavy on the seafood – think Le Sirenuse in Positano and you’re almost there.
Details like vintage 70’s Murano glass chandeliers in the check-in area, original stained glass in the guest-only Chapel Bar, French pastries and Vietnamese coffee and fare at the Elizabeth Street Café and the airy Paradise Lounge, with its mural of birds of paradise , delight at every turn.
Many of Saint Vincent’s original architectural elements were preserved, including a grotto with a statue of the Virgin Mary that greets guests outside at the entrance, a good sign that a spiritual experience awaits.
Settle into luxury at The Chloe — Photo courtesy of The Chloe
In the case of The Chloe, pedigree matters. The fact that the beautiful Uptown manse is operated by the local LeBlanc + Smith restaurant group bodes well on all counts. The New Orleans company has a great reputation for hospitality, as fans of restaurants Sylvain, Longway Tavern and Cavan can attest.
The Chloe is set back from the street, a lovely 19th-century mansion at 4125 St. Charles Avenue along the famous streetcar route. Restored to a gorgeous luster after a year-long redesign, the project opened in October 2020, a 14-room hotel with restaurant and lounge seating for 120 guests, along with plenty of outdoor seating under the branches of a stately live oak tree, and within the more casual back pool area.
Designed by local tastemaker Sara Ruffin Costello, there are whimsical and dramatic touches throughout – and so many nooks and crannies that invite. Dreamy, brave and practical, the rooms are a mix of comfortable furniture, local art and ample natural light, with layers of architectural detail.
Well-regarded chef Todd Pulsinelli is running the kitchen, dishing up modern takes on Creole classics. With its roomy outdoor space and live music on the weekends – find out about that on The Chloe’s Instagram account – the crowds he’s been feeding already include a loyal cadre of local regulars, which is a good thing.
The Battery Bistro and Bar is warmly inviting — Photo courtesy of One11 Hotel
There hadn’t been a hotel opening in the French Quarter in more than 50 years.
One11 Hotel changed all that. Opened at the end of 2020, the 83-room, eight-story boutique hotel is housed in an old sugar house built in 1893, a distinctive white brick building at the river’s edge. One of only three still standing, the buildings housed refineries and warehouse space for the American Sugar Refining Company.
Throughout, the design pays homage to the building’s history, from its palette of caramel and white reflecting the refinery past to the sleek modern finishing that accents the industrial elements of the building’s design. In public spaces, guest rooms and the lobby bar area, there is exposed brick work, massive iron columns and wooden beams – a dramatic juxtaposition that works beautifully.
The view is the real scene stealer. Perched exactly where the Mississippi makes its most hair-raising turn, the maritime traffic navigating the river never ceases to amaze. Two of the hotel’s trio of suites, called “Sweets” naturally, offer private wrap-around terraces with views of the river and French Quarter. A rooftop terrace is reserved for all hotel guests, with plans to eventually serve drinks to enhance the stellar views.
The Battery Bistro + Bar invites repose, with its landscaped spacious patio and lobby seating.
Swank touches abound at Margaret Place — Photo courtesy of Margaret Place
This boutique hotel on the edge of the Lower Garden District is tough to categorize. Renovated by local architect Trenton Gauthier to be an event space and a six-room hotel, Margaret Place also serves as a backdrop for the soon-to-open OCIO restaurant.
The mansion is lovely, an historic 1854 Greek Revival home that has operated continuously as lodging since 1862. There’s a spacious courtyard, kitchen, dining room and parlor on the ground floor and six swank guest rooms upstairs, with glam touches like crystal chandeliers and Versace wallpaper that just shouts milestone party. The location is sweet – just far enough from the fray to feel like a respite, but if it calls, Bourbon Street is just 12 blocks away.