Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans Rating: 4.0 Pearls
French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Bourbon Street’s only luxury hotel
  • Live jazz on-site
  • Poolside cabana bar
  • Three flowering courtyards maintained by full-time horticulturalist
  • Catering, event production, and wedding planning staff
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel and in guest rooms

Cons

  • No coffeemaker in rooms
  • No day spa
  • Daily fee for parking
  • Cramped fitness center

Bottom Line

The Royal Sonesta is Bourbon Street’s swankiest hotel, and guests can customize it to their level of party pleasure. Low-key travelers should ask for a hushed interior room deep in the property, while those who want a certain New Orleans experience can take a balcony room and watch an eclectic parade of people go by at all hours. Live jazz and a hopping pool scene add appeal for weary business people who can’t wait to break out of their meetings.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Business travelers and partiers find common ground here

Hotel Grounds
Hotel Grounds

The Royal Sonesta fronts one of the world’s most notorious streets, but the property takes up nearly an entire city block, so the majority of its rooms do face something other than Bourbon Street. Adding to the unlikely calm is the hotel’s full-time horticulturist, who nurtures the romantic banks of lush flowers and trees in the property’s three courtyards.

The hotel’s relaxed floor plan makes for a fluid walk from their corner Desire Oyster Bar through the Irvin Mayfield Playhouse (where live jazz and cocktails flow every night), then on to the main courtyard and a flowery, crystal-lit lobby. A round tower, staggered decks, white walls, and riots of flowers give the grounds a hacienda feel. This openness isn’t taken for granted, and at night security guards keep non-guests from getting hotel access.

One place on the property that lets in the energy of Bourbon Street: the hotel pool, a sprawling flesh festival of singles mingling at the poolside cabana, and lounging in the water. The cabana provides drinks, snacks and even free sunscreen, a thoughtful touch.

For those who must work, the Royal Sonesta has an impressive lineup of stage set designers and carpenters, audio visual technicians, digital and graphic artists, and computer rental staff who can put on nearly any kind of business or event production.

The hotly anticipated Restaurant R’evolution, a partnership between top chefs John Folse and James Beard award-winner Rick Tramonto, opened in spring of 2012. Featuring modern interpretations of classic Creole and Cajun cooking, Restaurant R'evolution builds off of Louisana's traditional fare but revamps it for a new generation of NOLA afficionados.

 Location

In the center of the French Quarter, within easy walking distance of art galleries, boutiques, museums, and world-class dining

The Royal Sonesta sits in the liveliest heart of the French Quarter, directly on Bourbon Street and 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. Adults looking for strip clubs, free-flowing cocktails and an always-buzzing, electric street crowd need only walk out the hotel door.

The French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré, 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.

The French Quarter is fairly safe during the day; at night, you’ll be fine in tourist areas. Local cops are experts at crowd control, and it's rare for a visitor to get into trouble. Taxis are easy to find, except during Mardi Gras and Halloween. Keep in mind that the heavily tourist parts of Bourbon Street are closed to vehicles (except for delivery trucks, taxis and airport shuttles) every night after 6 p.m.

Canal Street is a retail center and the upriver boundary of the French Quarter. Canal is one of the widest streets in the country and a major thoroughfare in the New Orleans, though it’s packed with national retail and souvenir shops that aren’t worth exploring for a visitor with limited time.

  • 20-minute taxi or shuttle ride from Louis Armstrong International Airport
  • 5-minute walk to Canal Street, where you can pick up streetcars to St. Charles Avenue or the New Orleans Museum of Art
  • 5-minute walk to Preservation Hall
  • 10-minute walk to the Mississippi River
  • 10-minute walk to Jackson Square and Café du Monde
  • 15-minute walk to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum
  • 15-minute taxi ride to Mardi Gras World

 Rooms

Eclectic French Quarter or courtyard views

The Living Room in the Presidential Suite
The Living Room in the Presidential Suite

Many of the hotel's 483 rooms have pool, courtyard, or French Quarter street views. During spring 2011, the hotel began phasing in renovations that have freshened up guest room decor with a sleek palette of dark woods, new carpets, and cream or sage furniture. Still, until the refresh is complete, guests might get a room with faded florals and pastels, which is more vintage New Orleans.

All guest rooms now have pillow-top mattresses, big pillows, and flat-screen TVs; sparkling baths feature updated fixtures, granite countertop and ceramic-tiled showers.

  • The entry-level rooms are Standard and Deluxe. Standard rooms are slightly less expensive but the hotel can’t guarantee bed size. Deluxe rooms are a little bigger, at 250 square feet.
  • R Club Level rooms come with private key access to the floor as well as the R Club Lounge, offering free food and drinks throughout the day, a dedicated concierge, free Wi-Fi, a guest computer, and a 52-inch flat-screen TV. Rooms on that floor also receive free daily newspapers and free bottled water.
  • The hotel's 35 suites include the Petite Suite (500 square feet, with a separate seating area); Jacuzzi Suite (with its own Jacuzzi tub); the Split-Level Suite (featuring a spiral staircase dividing the living room and bedroom); the Honeymoon Suite (with a wet bar); and the Senator Suite (which gives you one or two bedrooms, a dining room, dressing area, and French doors that open onto the pool area).
  • Mini-fridges available on request, for a fee (unless it’s needed for medication)
  • No coffeemaker -- available on request only
  • Guest room safes are electronic, but not big enough to hold a laptop

 Features

Great outdoor pool in a flowering courtyard

The Fitness Center
The Fitness Center
  • Outdoor pool with cabana bar
  • Three flowering courtyards, maintained by full-time horticulturalist
  • Spa services available in guest rooms and poolside
  • Cramped fitness center
  • The virtual concierge lets you make restaurant or tour reservations online, ahead of your visit, or stage amenities to be in your room on arrival. These selections include Mardi Gras mask and beads, local Abita beers, and house-made pralines.
  • Business center open 24/7; secretary and computer technicians available; free boarding pass printing
  • Event production and wedding planning staff on hand
  • Translator available
  • View full list of amenities

 Food

Desire Bistro & Oyster Bar and the hopping Jazz Playhouse

Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse
Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse

It takes a block-long hotel to provide so many different options for food, whether it’s caramel sticky buns and an iced coffee at PJ’s Coffee House (just off the lobby) or at Desire Bistro & Oyster Bar (try the Creole Trio platter of gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice, with a side of Bloody Mary).

Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse offers cocktails and a chic, small-plate menu, as well as live jazz every night (and a wee-hour burlesque show once a week). Also on the hotel grounds is Le Booze, offering cocktails and cigars at a copper-topped bar that opens onto Bourbon Street.

The hotel resumed its more upscale dining experience when Restaurant R’evolution, offering fresh New Orleans cuisine that draws on Chef John Folse’s Southern roots and Chef Rick Tramonto’s global expertise.

  • Desire Bistro & Oyster Bar, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Le Booze serves up, well, booze, all week long.
  • Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse open every night
  • PJ’s Coffee Café, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Restaurant R’evolution, open daily for lunch and dinner, Sunday for brunch

 Bottom Line

The Royal Sonesta is Bourbon Street’s swankiest hotel, and guests can customize it to their level of party pleasure. Low-key travelers should ask for a hushed interior room deep in the property, while those who want a certain New Orleans experience can take a balcony room and watch an eclectic parade of people go by at all hours. Live jazz and a hopping pool scene add appeal for weary business people who can’t wait to break out of their meetings.

Things You Should Know About Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans

Address

  • 300 Bourbon Street , New Orleans, LA 70130

Room Types

  • Bourbon Balcony Entertainment Suite
  • Bourbon Street Balcony Room
  • Conti/Bienville Street View Room
  • Deluxe Room
  • Honeymoon Suite
  • Jacuzzi Suite
  • Petite Suite
  • Pool/Patio Balcony Room
  • R Club Room
  • Split Level Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 483
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: French Quarter, New Orleans
Address: 300 Bourbon Street , New Orleans, LA 70130
(See Map)
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