This family-run hotel, originally opened in 1886, is steeped in history from its classic furnishings to its esteemed guests. Literary legends William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway have stayed here; Tennessee Williams wrote about the hotel in his play The Rose Tattoo, and Truman Capote was known to prop up the Carousel Bar & Lounge on many a night. The merry-go-round–like bar (which was recently renovated and actually revolves, though quite slowly) is probably the hotel’s most famous feature, and a Vieux Carre cocktail there is de rigueur. A newer addition to the hotel is the restaurant Criollo, offering an updated take on traditional N’awlins fare.
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With its Royal Street address, the hotel has a prime location in the Quarter. You’re not far from Bourbon Street (and everyone should take a stroll down that infamous corridor), but you’re also amid tamer pleasures like art galleries and antique shops, which line both Royal Street and Chartres Street (one block over). The hotel is also a short walk from classic spots such as Arnaud’s (go for a French 75 at the bar) and Galatoire’s, where Friday lunch is a must. And no one should visit New Orleans without café au lait and beignets from Café du Monde. Eat them inside, or get them to go and grab a bench in Jackson Square.
Need to Know
Rooms: 570 rooms, including 55 suites. From $199. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Criollo is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serves traditional dishes like Creole redfish and seafood gumbo with a more modern, farm-to-table spin. The signature appetizer is the shrimp, blue crab, and avocado stack. Spa and gym details: The 24-hour gym has views of the Mississippi River, while Spa Aria has services from makeup application to massages, and it carries lines such as Jurlique, Kai, and Pevonia.
Who's it for: First-time visitors will thrill at being in the heart of the French Quarter, but the hotel is also well-suited for business travelers, and families with tots in tow will appreciate the rooftop pool. Our favorite rooms: The penthouse-level Ernest Hemingway suite has a double balcony with spectacular city views (and we’re partial to the sage-green color palate). Daytime tipple: Go midday for a sip at the Carousel Bar & Lounge to avoid the crowds and chat up Marvin the bartender.