Saturday, May 11, 2013

30 Days of Why I Love New Orleans - Day 26

Sometimes, You’ve Just Got to Sleep!!

And you can find some wonderful places to do so . . . .
Writers for New Orleans naturally takes place at one of my favorite places to stay, but that
comes up last, so for now, I’ll mention a few other places that are great—all depending on what you’re looking for!
Remember, it would be almost as impossible to list all the wonderful bed and breakfast establishments and hotels that can be found in New Orleans as it would be to tell about all the bars.
 People come and stay in many different places—and fall in love with different places for different reasons. I’ll just talk about a few—you may have already discovered a few gems on your own that I know nothing about.
Maybe I’m a romantic at heart because my favorite actual B and B hotel is found easily in  a well-travelled section of the French Quarter, at 915 Royal Street. 

     It’s certainly one of the prettiest bed and breakfast hotels in the French Quarter and it’s called the Cornstalk. I think I fell in love with it when I was five and first saw it, walking hand in hand with my dad.

The home was actually built for Judge Francois Xavier Martin, who happened to be the author of the first History of Louisiana. He was also Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. There had been homes on the exact spot before but the city had been ravaged by major fires and it was during the early years of the 1800s that Judge Martin had the house constructed. He then lived there from 1816 to 1826.
He was the one who had the house built—but it was Dr. Joseph Secondo Biamenti who had the famous cast iron fence constructed and the reasoning comes with a beautiful and romantic story. Joseph loved his wife; his wife was from Iowa. Joseph
didn’t want her to be homesick for the waves of corn that grew in her native state and so he had the fence constructed in 1856.
They say that it was at the Cornstalk that Harriet Beecher Stowe came to stay—and she was supposedly moved to write “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” because of that stay when she saw the nearby slave markets.
Politicians, movie stars, and other celebrities have stayed here, entranced by the beauty of the place.
The rooms are spacious.
The hospitality is wonderful. If you do stay, I can guarantee that people will watch you when you return to your home away from home, a little envious that you’re going through the gate and into the house!
Right next door to the Cornstalk, you’ll find the Andrew Jackson Hotel. I haven’t actually
stayed here; friends have. It’s historic, of course—on this site, Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans, was indicted for contempt and a few other charges. Jackson, being Jackson, dealt with the situation. The hotel is small and the rooms can be on the small side—it’s a great place for someone who wants some history and a location that’s right on Royal and just a block off Bourbon—very near Pat O’Brien’s, Lafitte’s, and more magical wonders of Bourbon Street. It’s also a short hop over to Jackson Square. Definitely a plus for those who don’t want to wallow in their room and would be happy with a nice bed in the midst of a lot of action.
I’ll mention two French Quarter biggies right now; the Omni Royal Orleans and the Royal Sonesta. I’ve stayed at both and enjoyed the service and ambiance of both. The Royal Sonesta enjoyed a major overhaul after the summer of storms—it’s where to be if you really want in on the action. It’s right at 300 Bourbon Street. Sometimes, if you’re a light
sleeper, they’re not the perfect place to be if you’re tired and fond of sleep before the wee hours—depending on room location. Around festivals, they can demand—and get—some pretty steep room rates. They offer lovely rooms, a nice pool area, and many big-hotel pluses. The Omni has wonderful ghosts to delight you—elegant stairways, gorgeous ballrooms. I spent a New Year’s Eve there once that was absolutely delightful. My little nephew was there so we went for the entertainment and music and then family celebration up in the room. A two-year-old in New Orleans for New Years, you say? Yes. Jugglers, clowns, musicians, improve on the square, human statues . . . and then, at the Omni, we watched a side street from a balcony and tossed beads to partiers as they headed in for the night. The rooms aren’t
cookie-cutter; many are very different so you might ask about the room you’re renting. A friend and I switched places; she wanted the massive bed up on a little platform while I loved my two-story with a little loft. The entrance is 621 St Louis Street, but you can exit through the bar and Rib Room Restaurant and be on Bourbon. It’s one of my favorite spots and if you don’t stay, you may find yourself here on a ghost tour anyway.
People do raise children here and when you’re with children, just check out what the offerings are. They can be awesome—even for the little ones!
Moving from the big in the midst of the Quarter over to the outskirts, I’ll mention a couple of chains; a massive Marriott with a view from the top that is certainly unmatchable, a Sheraton right across the Street on Canal, and a Holiday Inn, on the edge of the Quarter as
well. They often offer specials. Both the Sheraton and Marriott are often used by conventions—since they can accommodate them!

Another favorite of mine is the Hotel Provincial at 1024 Chartres Street. It’s a conglomeration of historic buildings and offers large rooms and suites furnished beautifully with old Southern antiques and reproductions. There was a hospital here during the Civil War and the entire property is supposed to be haunted. They have a pool and lovely courtyards and the staff are some of the most welcoming and nicest people I’ve come across—in a city where everyone tends to be really nice.
There are two Ws to be found in the area; one is nice and big and close to Harrah’s. (333 Poydras) The other is on Chartres Street as well and this hotel is really charming. The building is, of course, historic. It offers an absolutely charming and large courtyard with comfy seating and lanterns and is really lovely. I highly recommend it. 316 Chartres Street.
(Across from my favorite NOLA tea shop! Around the corner from the Monteleone. A block or so from K. Paul’s.)
2127 Prytania offers up the gorgeous Magnolia Mansion—no children allowed, but they actually offer a “haunted” package. It’s popular with weddings and showers and celebrations—and those looking for the ‘haunted,’ of course. The street car can get you around. It like many of the wonderful bed and breakfast places that are in the Garden District, are historic and beautiful and well worth the stay. Just remember, you won’t walk out and take a two or three minute walk to the center of the French Quarter.
Just a few more to mention—Place d’Armes in the Quarter offers easy access to many venues; it’s at 625 St. Ann Street and it’s fun and historically charming, though not as plush as some of the others and you may hear your hotel mates doing some celebrating through the night. But it’s friendly and fun and we’ve stayed or had family members there several times. The Nine-O-Five Royal is at 905 Royal Street—and they’re fun and funky and convenient. They advertise that the building was erected in the gay nineties and has no particular history—I love their sense of hey, we’re here, and we’re in a darned good spot.
There are so many treasures in the city! It’s impossible to get to a tenth of a tenth of them. I’ve given you just a few, but I really didn’t mention any of the incredible mansions in the Garden District . . . .
So, the thing, figure what means most to you—price, location, history!—and find the perfect home for you in the Big Easy!


1 comment:

Dina said...

I was recently there and still didn't see a lot of things, need to go back :)