New Orleans, a city with nearly three centuries of history, has hosted its fair share of royalty since its founding. In fact, Mardi Gras began as a celebration to impress Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia during his visit to the city. Experiencing the more luxurious side of the city is still possible even if you aren’t in line for the throne.
For those looking to live like a king during their stay, the Crescent City offers no shortage of luxury digs. The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, housed in the historic Maison Blanche building, is just steps from Bourbon Street and combines convenience with a quiet escape. And with an extensive antiques collection, Italian Marble baths and an antebellum atmosphere, you’ll be as comfortable as can be while waiting for your Oyster Butler to deliver you the freshest local oysters.
For the scholarly visitor, the Hotel Monteleone offers both history and intrigue. The hotel’s literary suites are the epitome of luxury and reflect the styles of the writers who called the hotel their home throughout history, including Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. Be sure to stop in for dinner at Criollo Restaurant in the hotel, or a drink at the Carousel Bar & Lounge, where many of the hotel’s guest writers spent time ruminating over their works.
The Windsor Court Hotel is another of the city’s most prestigious properties. This Anglican-inspired hotel recently underwent a $22 million restoration, and more than 80 percent of the hotel’s rooms are suites. Don’t miss the hotel’s original art collection, including museum quality paintings, sculptures and tapestries dating from the 17th to the late 20th centuries.
Celebrating more than 120 years in New Orleans, the Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel boasts a star-studded history as the favorite watering hole of the legendary Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long, who frequented the hotel’s Sazerac Bar. Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles and Jack Benny could also be found there many a night. The hotel features some of the largest suites in New Orleans, and Chefs John Besh and Alon Shaya’s Restaurant Domenica is considered one of the best Italian restaurants in the city.
When you find yourself hungry, sit down for lunch at Galatoire’s Restaurant. As one of the pillars of New Orleans fine dining, Galatoire’s requires a jacket and serves up classic Creole cuisine. Order the trout amandine and soufflé potatoes, and finish off with a flaming Café Brulot, a concoction made with citrus, liqueur and dark roasted coffee.
Antoine’s Restaurant is the grand dame of Creole restaurants, celebrating 175 years of operation in 2015. As the oldest continually operating restaurant in the U.S., Antoine’s has invented its fair share of dishes, including Oysters Rockefeller. Don’t forget to order the Baked Alaska at the start of dinner – you won’t want to miss this ice-cream filled and flambéed pound cake!
Other classic Creole fine dining restaurants include Arnaud’s, another of New Orleans’ oldest restaurants, and Brennan’s, the birthplace of the Bananas Foster and the first restaurant to make breakfast an event.
For a more modern dining experience, make a reservation at Root, one of New Orleans’ newest restaurants. Chef Philip Lopez’s modern restaurant takes cues from molecular gastronomy to present innovative dishes. Order the Ménage à Foie for a decadent start to your meal.
The recently unveiled Waldorf Astoria Spa at the Roosevelt Hotel is a haven of luxury and relaxation. With a full range of services, ten private treatment rooms and hydrotherapy options, the spa is refined to meet your needs.
One of the most innovative spas in the Crescent City, the Spa at Windsor Court provides personalized spa experiences, including oxygen facials, LED light treatments and more.
Spa Aria at Hotel Monteleone takes its cues from the Chinese Yin and Yang, offering services like reflexology and Biomat heated treatments to relieve stress. The spa also offers more traditional massages, facials and other services.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
The historic French Quarter has been home to some of Europe’s wealthiest families since its founding in 1718, so it is no wonder that the antiques in shops along Royal Street are the stuff of legends. Papal jewelry and pirate’s booty have all been sold from these shops with price tags topping the millions. Shop your way along the art galleries and antique shops of the avenue for rare finds. One don’t-miss stop is M.S. Rau Antiques, whose acquisitions range from Art Deco Cartier to Meiji Samurai swords and Monet paintings.
For some more contemporary shopping, head over to the Shops at Canal Place where you can peruse your way through Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co. and more. Stop in at the Theatres at Canal Place for a break from the typical movie experience. Make sure not to miss the truffle popcorn!
If you’re more into collecting art than antiques, pop into some of the galleries along Julia and Camp Streets in the Arts District. Adjacent to the Contemporary Arts Center and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, these galleries are among the best in the city.
Toast to the Crescent City
When you’ve had your fill of eating and shopping, head over to Cure for handcrafted cocktails in an elegant atmosphere. This bar kickstarted a new craft cocktail culture in New Orleans and utilizes cocktail history to create (and in some cases recreate) innovative cocktails.
SoBou is another must-visit cocktail bar in New Orleans. With small plates and a stellar craft cocktail menu, it’s easy to spend hours sipping and chatting with friends. Named one of the most influential bars of 2014, SoBou is serious about its libations.
If you toasted a few too many times and aren’t feeling your best the morning after, rest assured that New Orleans has you covered. If you’re staying at the Ritz-Carlton, a personal Recovery Concierge will whip up a green smoothie or a little hair of the dog for you.
In need of something more heavy duty? Head over to Remedy Room to get Hangover Therapy with IV fluids administered by a licensed doctor. If you aren’t into needles, the Remedy Room also offers a needle-free option with oxygen therapy, nausea medication and fluids.
This article was written by New Orleans CVB.