Photo courtesy of The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
Opened in April 2015, this is one of the newest additions to New Orleans’ hotel scene. It’s also one of the most unique. Set in an 1854 warehouse near the Port of New Orleans, the property pays homage to its past as well as to its Arts District location. The look is contemporary industrial, with plenty of original architectural details (hardwood floors, exposed piping and brick, wall-to-wall windows) paired with Tivoli radios, flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and other modern conveniences. The hotel lobby is part art gallery, with a rotating collection curated by the New Orleans Center of Creative Arts, part commissary, with locally crafted products displayed in chandlery cases, and part coffee shop, with pastries from the neighboring restaurant—which is one of the hottest openings this year.
Compere Lapin (French for “brother rabbit” and also a fictional character in Caribbean and Creole folk tales) serves food that draws on chef Nina Compton’s island roots, classic French training, and traditional Creole fare. The result is wonderfully colorful dishes like conch croquettes with pickled pineapple tartare sauce, roasted jerk corn with aioli and lime, and curried goat with plantain gnocchi and cashews.
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In New Orleans, neighborhoods don’t pop up overnight, but it’s possible the Arts District, which has been slowly but surely gaining momentum, has reached critical mass. There are Julia Street art galleries, world-class museums including The National WWII Museum and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and restaurants galore. Chef Emeril Lagasse’s eponymous restaurant is here, as is Donald Link’s pork-centric Cochon. Just off Lee Circle, Bellocq bar (named for photographer E.J. Bellocq, who captured the city’s madams) at the Modern is a must for 19th-century cocktails in a cool, bordello-like setting.
Need to Know
Rooms: 167 rooms, 3 suites. From $169. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Born in St. Lucia and schooled in classic French cuisine, chef (and former Top Chef contestant) Nina Compton oversees Tout La, which serves coffee, pastries, and boozy eye-openers, and the main restaurant, Compere Lapin, which is open for lunch and dinner. Spa and gym details: There’s no spa, but there is a 24-hour fitness center on the first floor.
Who's it for: Repeat visitors who want to explore a less touristy part of downtown; dog lovers (the extensive pet offerings include an appointment with a pet psychic); and artists (Julia Street’s galleries are three blocks away). Our favorite rooms: All rooms have plenty of architectural details and local art, but Premium rooms get the best light. Good to know: Guest phones have a “Get it now” button so that you can get whatever, whenever—champagne at noon or fried chicken at 2 a.m., perhaps.