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Oyster Hotel Review
Drawing on its proud literary roots, and delivering some of the city’s best cocktails
Perched high above the French Quarter, the Hotel Monteleone sign has been a beacon for lost travelers since 1886. The iconic hotel has stayed in the same family ever since. So many writers have lived in the Monteleone -- Truman Capote, William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, for starts -- that the property is registered as a national literary landmark.
But there’s nothing drowsy about the Monteleone. It’s one of the city’s most vibrant hotels, hosting drink enthusiasts from all over the world every July for Tales of the Cocktail, which is headquartered at the hotel. The Monteleone also crackles with conference-goers, who make use of the hotel’s capable meeting staff and roomy facilities (though the business center could use extra computers, a dedicated staffer, and free Wi-Fi).
Because it’s an historic property, expect smaller standard rooms, starting at 240 square feet. But the Monteleone is evenly priced among its competitors, and runs deep discounts during the slow season (in New Orleans, that’s during the summer).
Also notable is the Monteleone's legendary Carousel Bar, which is dressed as a kids’ ride that slow-spins cocktail drinkers past a bank of windows facing Royal Street. Make sure to ask for the hotel’s signature Monteleone Cocktail, a citrus-spiked whiskey. While you’re spinning, look for celebrities like Dennis Quaid and Michael Jordan, who have been spotted here. Also seen at the Hotel Monteleone: ghosts.
In the French Quarter, within easy walking distance of art galleries, boutiques, museums, and world-class dining
The Hotel Monteleone is located on chic Royal Street, with its boutiques, art galleries and fine street musicians, and only a few blocks from the Mississippi River and its riverboats.
Being on the leading edge of the French Quarter also means that the hotel is an easy walk to streetcars, Harrah’s Casino, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Insectarium and must-sees in the Central Business District, like the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and the National World War II Museum.
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 parts of Royal Street close in the afternoon to all vehicles.
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
- 3-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 the Mississippi River
- 7-minute walk to Preservation Hall
- 10-minute walk to Jackson Square and Café du Monde
- 10-minute walk to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum
- 5-minute drive to the National World War II Museum
Homey historic decor, but standard rooms are on the small side
Old-fashioned room decor -- gold moldings on the mirrors, hanging light fixtures with faux candles, pale yellow striped wallpaper, floral pillows -- is homey and reasonably charming, if not quite luxurious. Be sure to ask for upper-story rooms, which offer wide, gorgeous views of the Mississippi River and the French Quarter, or Mid-City New Orleans.
Rooms underwent renovations in 2010, bringing in new bedding and comforters, and updating guest bathrooms, now outfitted with marble floors and granite countertops.
- Traditional rooms are a little on the small side -- between 240 square feet and 300 square feet. Preferred Rooms offer more space (up to 360 square feet).
- There are a variety of guest suites, but the most common is the Vieux Carré Suite, which is 500 square feet and has a Jacuzzi tub, walk-in shower, extra half bathroom, and separate living area.
- The 1,400-square-foot, two-bedroom F. J. Monteleone Suite has glass showers, a Jacuzzi tub, a separate living room with a sofa bed, a 52-inch plasma TV, a humidor, and a wet bar with gold-plated sink. There’s also a small office with fax machine.
- High-end Gilchrist & Soames bath products
- Keurig coffeemakers
- No minibars, but mini-fridges available on request
- Plasma TVs
Rooms and Rates
An excellent day spa and a lovely rooftop pool with city views
The Monteleone is one of the few local properties in its class to have a dreamy day spa on-site. Spa Aria’s services include reflexology, skin treatments, a lemongrass body exfoliation, and massage; if you’ve forgotten a bath or beauty product, you’ll find one here.
- Fitness center with city views and Startrac equipment
- Large heated rooftop pool area, with attractive potted trees and city views
- Poolside bar, Acqua Bella, open daily through lunch and dinner
- Unstaffed business center open 24/7, but considering the hotel's popularity with conference attendees, it could use more computers
- “All About Kids” feature includes games, a disposable camera, and admission to the Children’s Museum and the Aquarium (for a fee).
- For pet owners: mat, water and food bowls, a bag of treats, and a map of pet-friendly places in the city
- The gift shop reflects the hotel's pride in its past, offering handsome history books and cocktail glasses etched with the hotel’s crest (as well as stuffed animals, its own brand of coffee, and surreal, oversized postcards by local artist James Michalopoulos).
- View full list of amenities
There’s not a notable restaurant on-site, but great eats are all around
The circus-themed Carousel Bar is a playground for grown-ups, and will expand its food service in the afternoons, offering Cajun bar fare like boudin balls, as well as chicken tenders and wings.
Criollo Restaurant and Lounge opened in mid-2012 with a varied European menu. Entrees highlight French, Spanish, and Carribean ingredients, with an added Creole twist. (Criollo is Spanish for "Creole.")
There’s also no shortage of exceptional dining within a few blocks of the hotel: the grand dames of New Orleans cuisine like Galatoire’s, Brennan’s and Antoine’s, as well as fresh newcomers like Iris and Sylvain. And just around the corner from the Monteleone is the famed Acme Oyster House.
Transport to / from Hotel
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Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space
|Address||214 Royal Street, French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, United States|