Nestled on the Mississippi River, New Orleans, or The Big Easy as it’s affectionately known, is famous for its Southern charm, incredible cuisine and soul-stirring jazz. Wander down any street and you’re bound to stumble across the colonial-style architecture reflecting the city’s vibrant and colourful culture.
If you’re a foodie, New Orleans is worth a visit for the cuisine alone. Blending African, Creole, French and Spanish influences, dining in the Big Easy is certainly a unique culinary experience every time you order. Whether your interests lie in music, history, culture or food, there’s something to delight at every corner.
How to get there
We’re all aware of the staple holiday destinations when it comes to the States, city breaks in New York and Orlando topping the holiday charts for obvious reasons, however, if you want somewhere that little bit different and far less…Brits abroad, then New Orleans is certainly worth considering. With numerous airlines offering direct and connecting flights to Louis Armstrong Airport (yes – even the name of the airport has style), it’s pretty straightforward to get to.
For travellers who don’t fancy trawling the internet to search for individual flight and hotel deals, it’s probably worth looking for a provider where both can be booked as a package. Doing so can eliminate the risk of conflicting schedules and booking a flight and hotel together can also lead to cost savings and discounts making your Big Easy trip that little bit more easy!
When to go
New Orleans has a humid, subtropical climate with relatively mild winters. July is the hottest month but it’s also the wettest. Spring and autumn are probably the best times to visit as the weather is pleasant, you’ll avoid hurricane season, and the festival scene will be in full swing.
Where to stay
The Big Easy is home to some stunning high-end hotels featuring fine dining restaurants, rooftop pools and impeccable Southern hospitality. Read on to discover some of the very best hotels New Orleans has to offer.
The Chloe Hotel
4125 Saint Charles Ave
The Chloe is a vibrant, but sophisticated boutique hotel housed within a 19th-century uptown mansion. Its 14 rooms are decorated to blend clean lines and urban touches with old-fashioned New Orleans charm. The in-room record players and selection of vinyl are a particularly nice touch.
The Chloe offers a hearty chef-cooked breakfast every morning and the impressive restaurant which serves seasonal Creole cuisine, is perfect for a working lunch or an intimate evening meal.
The hotel also boasts a pretty impressive pool complete with a poolside bar and an extensive drinks menu.
The Four Seasons
2 Canal Street
On the banks of the Mississippi River, in central downtown, it doesn’t get much better location-wise than the Four Seasons. Crisp linens, white-washed walls, and plenty of natural light offer more of a sanctuary than a hotel room! From luxurious suites to premium rooms with stunning river views, the Four Seasons offers perfect accommodation for business or pleasure.
The Four Seasons has become synonymous with its world-class service so whether you want to commission a personalised poem or organise your own private jazz concert, they’ve got you covered! There’s also a top-notch pool, spa, and private fitness centre.
Unsurprisingly, the hotel is home to some of the finest dining establishments around including the Chemin a La Mer and an exquisite champagne bar.
The Ritz Carlton
921 Canal Street
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is located on the edge of the French Quarter and is housed within the 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building. The hotel manages to artfully blend traditional Southern ambience with opulent interiors reflecting the grandeur of its neighbouring Garden District mansions.
The hotel is home to two impressive restaurants. The M bistro showcases authentic New Orleans cuisine with the finest meats, seafood and produce from farmers in Louisiana, whilst the Davenport lounge offers light fare and premium cocktails.
The spa is the largest in New Orleans and offers and has a great fitness centre to keep your workout sessions in check!
The Roosevelt, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
130 Roosevelt Way
The Roosevelt dates back to 1893 and is one of the South’s first luxury hotels. The grand marble lobby and abundance of chandeliers certainly exude old-fashioned glamour and opulence. Dark wood and leather offer a more masculine sense of style in many of the rooms.
The expansive spa is particularly impressive as is the rooftop pool and bar. When it comes to dining enjoy everything from a perfectly cooked steak at the Fountain Lounge to a post-dinner cognac with a view at Rooftop at the Roosevelt.
Maison de la Luz
546 Carondelet St
The Maison de la Luz is a luxury boutique hotel located in the central business and arts district. Guest rooms are filled with high-end details, state-of-the-art technology, and original pieces of art from local artists.
The complimentary morning coffee service is a nice touch as is the option of partaking in a nightly wine and cheese night in the stylish lounge bar.
1133 Charles Street
Set in three 19th-century French Quarter townhouses, Soniat House has all the markings of a hidden gem. Its elegantly appointed rooms, full of antique furnishings and traditional finishing touches, exude old-world faded glamour and charm.
Its luscious courtyards offer the perfect quiet place for a drink as the sun goes down. The Soniat is a must-stay for travellers who want to experience more authentic Southern charm as opposed to the sleek and more corporate sheen of some of the larger chains.
300 Bourbon Street
From the stylish guest rooms and suites to the sleek interior design of the restaurants and bars, everything about the award-winning Sonesta Hotel screams understated refinement.
The in-house restaurant boasts an eclectic range of authentic Louisiana-style cuisine, and its award-winning gumbo is not to be missed!
If you’re feeling active, there’s a 24-hour fitness centre or alternatively take some downtime in the hotel’s lush courtyard and pool.
The Windsor Court
300 Gravier Street
With luxurious bedding, marble-filled bathrooms, and expansive rooms and suites; The Windsor Court is all about full-scale luxury. In addition to the impressive styling, the rooms are well equipped with updated amenities from wet bars to built-in charging stations.
The hotel is home to an impressive spa with myriad treatments in addition to a fitness centre which has but it’s the 65-foot pool that really hits the spot. After a swim guests can enjoy an evening drink or a spot of alfresco dining at the poolside bar whilst enjoying the spectacular views of the New Orleans Skyline.
The Windsor Court also features a museum-quality collection of artworks by more than 60 artists depicting Windsor Castle and British royalty, estimated to be worth around $10 million.
Omni Royal Orleans
621 St Louis St
With modern amenities and comfortable yet elegant interiors, the Omni offers a home-from-home experience but with an added touch of old-fashioned luxury (think cigars, smoking jackets and an expensive brandy in hand!)
It’s also a great choice if your trip is more business than pleasure as each room has a spacious work desk and plenty of tech to keep you connected. If you do have to work while you’re away, there’s always the rooftop saltwater pool and bar perfect for a little post-office hours R and R!
The hotel’s award-winning restaurant, The Rib Room, offers an impressive dining experience, serving beef specialities and seafood prepared on giant French rotisseries and mesquite grills.
The Hotel Peter and Paul
2317 Burgundy Street
This historic hotel comprises four buildings: the former schoolhouse, rectory, church and convent, each carefully restored to create the Peter and Paul. The decor and furnishings are inspired by the narrative of each building so no two guest rooms are exactly alike. Many of the original features such as stained-glass windows and red brick interiors have been maintained to offer a real sense of theatre and grandeur.
The hotel’s Elysian Bar is described as ‘an experience-driven restaurant’, and spans several different spaces including a parlour, the little glass atrium, the iconic ‘jewel box’ bar, and a lush outdoor courtyard, all offering a different atmosphere depending on your mood.
Whether you plan on throwing yourself into the spirit of Mardi Gras, taking in some soul-stirring jazz on Bourbon Street or simply want to sit in the sun with po’boy or a bowl of gumbo, this enchanting city is a feast for the senses, offering an unforgettable experience like no other.