Heading to New Orleans? If you’re looking to be in the heart of the action of Bourbon Street, a hotel in the French Quarter is your best bet. The French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré, is an historic neighborhood that stretches 12 blocks to the Mississippi River. It has a mix of colorful Creole cottages, museums, delectable beignets, and a thriving nightlife scene. After visiting the area’s top hotels and evaluating how each stacks up against the competition, we’re here to tell you which are the best of the best in the French Quarter.
With a gorgeous Tuscan-style courtyard complete with a heated saltwater pool; seven exclusive one- and two-bedroom cottages; top-notch services; and a central location in the French Quarter, the Audubon Cottages is a great pick for travelers looking to splurge. Just note that there are no amenities aside from the pool and that parking is available only at the hotel’s sister property a block away.
The Hotel Mazarin is an upscale boutique located in the heart of the French Quarter. It features 102 rooms with elegant decor, striking bathrooms, and solid amenities -- including large flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi. The property offers wonderful freebies, and a popular wine bar with outdoor seating -- but the highlight here is the gorgeous arched courtyard, a welcome retreat from the crowds of Bourbon Street. Plus, rates are competitive, and location is convenient for those looking to explore the main tourist attractions on foot
Hotel Le Marais is a mid-range boutique located in the heart of the French Quarter. It offers 66 rooms with great amenities -- including flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi -- and contemporary (if generic) decor. There’s a small gym with a decent selection of cardio machines; a colorful bar with a daily happy hour; and great freebies, including free bottled water and free continental breakfast. The highlight here is arguably the lovely courtyard complete with a small heated saltwater pool and tons of loungers.
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.
The Omni Royal Orleans is an upscale business hotel housed in a historic building in the French Quarter. It offers 345 elegant (if small) rooms featuring solid amenities, including flat-screen TVs with LodgeNet system, iPod docks, and stocked minibars. Property highlights include a renowned restaurant, a heated saltwater rooftop pool, and a well-equipped fitness center. But there’s a fee for in-room Wi-Fi (free for Omni’s loyalty program guests) as well as for valet parking.
The 600-room French Quarter hotel has made literary history and cocktail history, but it's no museum piece. Monteleone renovated guest rooms in 2010, completing its new look in 2012 with updates to its common areas and restaurant. On the upper floors, the hotel offers some of the city's most exhilarating views. If you'd rather get your kicks on the ground, ride the legendary Carousel Bar.
The two-story Hotel Provincial -- with 94 rooms in the historic French Quarter -- is a retreat into old New Orleans. The hotel, with period architectural accents, brick courtyards, and antique furniture, also has on-site valet parking, free Wi-Fi, two pools, and an attractive restaurant with happy hour specials. Rooms complement the traditional vibe of the hotel, but the antique furniture can be dank and musty, although bathrooms have been remodeled. All in all, it's one of the best boutique hotels for the price in the neighborhood.
The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans is housed in the 1908 Beaux-Arts Maison Blanche building on Canal Street, the dividing line between the French Quarter and the Central Business District. Geared toward luxury travelers, the hotel maintains the regal atmosphere for which the Ritz-Carlton brand is known. With big, elegant rooms, a farm-to-table restaurant, a hopping bar, and the largest spa in the city, there's plenty to do on the premises, and its location makes it convenient for tourists and business travelers alike. Note that Wi-Fi costs extra.
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.