Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A perfectly crafted mix of Bourbon-Street party and New-Orleans elegance
This grand, historic hotel is located just behind St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, giving guests the option of a raunchy walk down Bourbon Street, or an elegant afternoon in Royal Street galleries. The hotel nimbly straddles both worlds, and maybe the afterworld as well -- ask the bartender to see the digital photo of a nun’s ghost, sighted in a hotel hallway. The spirit is supposedly one of the Creole nuns who ran a convent and orphanage on the site until the 1960s. More than a century earlier, war hero Andrew Jackson announced his run for president in one of the hotel’s ballrooms.
Even if you don’t see a ghost, it’s easy to conjure up the past in the hotel’s elegant Southern lobby, with its dramatic double staircase and drop chandelier. Upstairs, rooms are elegant and attractive, with white plantation shutters, exposed brick and deep red accent walls, and great amenities. Though it is evenly priced with other comparable hotels, the Bourbon Orleans offers deeper discounts during the slow season.
In the center of the French Quarter, within easy walking distance to art galleries, boutiques, museums, and world-class dining
The French Quarter, or the Vieux Carre, is an historic neighborhood that stretches 12 blocks to the Mississippi River. Originally settled by the Spanish, and then the French, the Quarter features a variety of architecture, including colorful Creole cottages, gorgeous antebellum mansions, intricate ironwork, and some buildings that date to the late 1700s. Today, the Quarter is a mix of private homes, museums, commercial shops, restaurants, and hotels, as well as wide-open public spaces. Property values in the Quarter have gone up since the 1984 World Fair, driving more tourist-related development, but also creating a residential demand among elites and celebrities.
Keep in mind that the heavy tourist parts of Bourbon Street are closed to vehicles (except for delivery trucks, taxis, and airport shuttles) every night after 6 p.m. Likewise, parts of Royal Street close in the afternoon to all vehicles. The hotel offers deluxe shuttles to and from the airport, but the best bargain is to take a taxi (a low flat rate for up to two passengers).
The Bourbon Orleans straddles Bourbon and Royal streets, and is just behind St. Louis Cathedral. Chic boutiques, art galleries, and fine street musicians can be found on Royal Street, while adults who enjoy strip clubs, free-flowing cocktails, and an always-buzzing, electric crowd head for Bourbon Street. The hotel is also within walking distance of streetcars, the Mississippi River and its riverboats, Harrah’s Casino, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Insectarium, Jackson Square, Preservation Hall, and dozens of world-class restaurants.
A variety of room sizes and locations -- overlooking a courtyard oasis or Bourbon Street -- allows guests to customize their stay.
The Bourbon offers several room types, ranging from beautiful two-level loft suites with large balconies offering French Quarter views, to smaller but attractive rooms with courtyard views. A few have very limited views.
All rooms have great beds with pillow-top mattresses, iPod docks, large flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. But families should note that rollaway beds are not available, and only suites have mini-fridges. Dark red accent walls, exposed brick walls painted white, and plantation shutters add a stylish touch to the otherwise classic rooms.
A delicious Creole restaurant and popular bar with a signature cocktail
Save at least one meal for the hotel's on-site restaurant, Roux on Orleans, though a restricted dinner service (currently a few nights a week) means you’ll need to plan ahead. Special touches set Roux apart from other Creole eateries, including home-made biscuits and sweet brioche, as well as seasonal items (in the spring, look for goat cheese crepes topped with crawfish) and intriguing sauces, such as the absinthe fennel cream that comes with Louisiana shrimp.
Bourbon O’s low ceilings give it a cave-like feel, but management wisely throws the doors open to Bourbon Street, letting in lots of natural light.
A heated saltwater pool in a quiet courtyard
One of the hotel’s highlights is it wonderful heated saltwater pool open year-round. It is located in the quiet courtyard, and offers plenty of loungers and umbrellas, as well as drinks service.
Samll but well-equipped
The hotel's fitness center is well-equipped with a wide array of cardio and strength-training machines, plus free weights and Pilates balls.
Valet parking, free Wi-Fi and in-room spa services
A grand Southern hotel with a haunting past, the Bourbon Orleans is home to a delicious Creole restaurant; a signature cocktail in its popular bar; and 218 attractive, elegant rooms, some with balconies over Bourbon Street. Situated in an excellent French Quarter location between polar-opposite scenes -- the party-centric Bourbon Street and upscale, art-gallery-clad Royal Street -- Bourbon Orleans offers the best of both worlds for visitors. It also offers an intriguing history (ask about the resident ghost) and a stunning outdoor saltwater pool.