This English-inspired hotel has been the place to stay in New Orleans for basically forever—well, since it opened in 1984, at least. It’s plush without being pompous, stately without being too serious, though it should be said that this is the kind of place where gents might wear a pocket square and watch fob and feel right at home. The $8 million art collection, which includes original works by Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Huysman, is museum-worthy (you can even take an audio tour), and the 4,500-square-foot spa, part of the 2012 $22 million renovation, is one of the city’s most luxurious. Other notable upgrades include the lobby cocktail bar—a more feminine alternative to the leather-clad Polo Club Lounge, and an outdoor pool.
Taking its cues from the English countryside, this 316-room hotel exudes stately elegance from the art-swathed salon, which serves traditional afternoon tea, to the wood-paneled Polo Club. Thankfully stately doesn't translate as stuffy and the guest rooms, most of which are suites, are as palatial as they are plush. Two noteworthy additions, the cocktail bar and spa, were part of the recent $22 million renovation.
Holiday Tea at the Windsor Court
The Windsor Castle–inspired hotel hosts afternoon tea throughout the year (naturally), but it's especially festive from Thanksgiving to King's Day when the hotel is decked out with wreaths, garlands, and ornaments. There are 10 trees throughout the hotel, but the one in the lobby (where tea is held) is the most impressive. It measures 19.5 feet and twinkles with some 25,000 white lights.
Luxurious Decadence in a City of Decadence
Located close enough to the French Quarter to enjoy its charms in a few minutes' walk -- and far enough to escape its touristy bustle! -- the Windsor Court Hotel intoxicates you with luxury from the moment you step into the lobby. The gilded space, accented by a lively bar at one end, immerses you in elegance and sets the stage for your stay in this hotel mostly made up of suites. Devoted foodies will love taking a meal at the four-star, four-diamond Grill Room, or enjoying a cocktail from the outstanding drinks program at the lobby-level bar or the Polo Club Lounge. Traditional high tea can be had in grand fashion at Le Salon, and a full-service spa offers relaxating therapies and treatments galore. Visitors on business can take advantage not only of free wifi, but an office space open 24 hours a day. One of my favorite perks of the property is all the transportation options easily picked up right outside the front door. (Try the pedicab for a bit of adventure!)
By Farah Fleurima, AFAR Local Expert
300 Gravier St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA