Pretty courtyard with a heated saltwater pool and ample loungers
Creole restaurant open for breakfast and dinner
Bourbon O bar provides free welcome drink and live music
Well-equipped fitness center open 24/7
Meeting and event spaces on-site
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Some rooms suffer from bar or street noise
Rooms can be small and face a brick wall
Some wear and tear
Daily fee for valet parking
The upper-middle-range Bourbon Orleans is a grand Southern hotel with a haunting past and excellent French Quarter location between party-centric Bourbon Street and art gallery-filled Royal Street. The 218 rooms are classically elegant and come with mini-fridges, coffeemakers, free Wi-Fi, and hairdryers, plus balconies in some. However, some are tiny, face a brick wall, and/or suffer from street noise. Lovely features include a pleasant courtyard pool that's heated and popular in the summer, a Creole restaurant, and a popular bar where guests get a free welcome drink and can listen to live music. A 24-hour, well-equipped fitness center and elegant event spaces are also available. This is an excellent option, but travelers wanting something a bit more modern may prefer the upscale, similarly priced Royal Sonesta.
Historic property with mix of Bourbon Street party atmosphere and New Orleans elegance
This grand, historic hotel is located just behind St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, giving guests easy access to booze-filled Bourbon Street and elegant 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 reportedly announced his run for president in one of the hotel’s ballrooms. The hotel provides free haunted history tours every Thursday.
Even if you don’t see a ghost, it’s easy to conjure up the past in the hotel’s elegant traditionally Southern lobby, with its dramatic double staircase and drop chandelier. Off to one side of the lobby is a Creole restaurant decorated in the same classic style, with white columns and patterned carpets and upholstered chairs. The other direction leads to the more contemporary Bourbon O bar, with its brushed-metal bar, tin ceiling, and black leather chairs. A colorful mural showcases the city's jazz roots, and Mardi Gras celebrations fill the space with gold, purple, and green decor. Rates are competitive at the Bourbon Orleans, but it's worth considering the more modern and upscale Royal Sonesta, or smaller Hotel Le Marais.
Central French Quarter setting, close to bars, world-class dining, and tourist spots
The Bourbon Orleans straddles Bourbon and Royal Streets, and is just behind St. Louis Cathedral. Chic boutiques, art galleries, and street musicians can be found on Royal Street, while adults who enjoy free-flowing cocktails and an always-buzzing crowd can 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.
The French Quarter, or the Vieux Carre, is a 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. 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).
20-minute drive to Louis Armstrong International Airport
Five-minute walk to Canal Street, where you can pick up streetcars to St. Charles Avenue or the New Orleans Museum of Art
Five-minute walk to Preservation Hall
10-minute walk to the Mississippi River
10-minute walk to Jackson Square and Cafe du Monde
Classically elegant rooms, but some face a brick wall or get lots of noise
The Bourbon offers several room types, ranging from beautiful two-level loft suites with large balconies offering French Quarter views, to small units facing a brick wall. Also on the downside, rooms facing the street unsurprisingly suffer from noise and some wear and tear is evident. Traditional rooms are outfitted in a pleasant mix of classic wood furniture, dark-green carpet or black-tile floors, and deep-red accents. Plantation shutters, exposed brick walls painted white, and historic New Orleans-themed artwork at charming touches. All rooms have comfy beds with pillow-top mattresses, iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, free bottled water, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi, as well as closets with safes and work desks alongside ergonomic chairs. But families should note that rollaway beds are not available. Sleek black-tiled bathrooms have walk-in showers and hotel chain-branded toiletries. Hairdryers and bathrobes are provided.
Pleasant courtyard pool, popular bar with live music, and Creole eatery
One of the hotel’s highlights is a heated that's open year-round and set in the quiet, pleasant courtyard. It can get busy during the summer and festival weekends, and it's lined with ample loungers and umbrellas. Drink service is available. Cocktails are also available at the popular Bourbon O bar. Its low ceilings and black floors give it a cave-like feel, but management wisely throws the doors open to Bourbon Street, letting in lots of natural light and a lively vibe. Live music is available here every night, and guests are given a coupon for one free drink. The hotel's on-site restaurant, Roux on Orleans, is a Creole eatery that's serves buffet breakfasts and a la carte dinners. Expect fare such as fish, burgers, and shrimp pizzas. Room service is available from morning until late, but not 24/7.
Also on-site are a 24-hour fitness center with a decent array of equipment, and meeting and event spaces that include a grand ballroom with a long balcony. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property, but valet parking requires a daily charge.
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