Upscale property with stellar Bourbon Street location
Gorgeous and modern Art Deco-inspired rooms; some with terraces
In-room Keurig machines, bathrobes, and iHome docking stations
Excellent dining includes oyster bar, coffee shop, and Louisiana cuisine
Popular jazz club with nightly performances
Courtyard pool with seasonal pool bar and ample loungers
R Club Lounge provides free hot breakfasts, happy hours, and snacks
Spacious 24-hour fitness center with good range of equipment
20 function spaces on-site, and wedding services available
Free property-wide Wi-Fi
Thin walls mean both exterior and internal noise issues
No spa on-site
Pricey daily parking
The 483-room, four-pearl Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans is Bourbon Street's swankiest property, attracting a mix of leisure travelers and on-site convention-goers. Renovations until 2016 left the rooms with a chic, modern design, all of which have Keurig machines, mini-fridges, and free Wi-Fi. Some have jetted tubs or furnished terraces, but street and internal noise are both issues. Club-level guests get their own concierge and access to a lounge with free breakfasts, daily happy hours, and all-day beverages. Multiple dining options include an upscale Cajun and Creole eatery, oyster bar, and a popular jazz club with nightly performances. A courtyard pool with seasonal bar is a lovely spot in warmer months, plus there are 24-hour fitness and business centers. Unfortunately, no spa is available. Travelers wanting a more intimate and historic-feeling stay should consider Audubon Cottages.
Business travelers and partiers find common ground at this upscale, modern property
The Royal Sonesta is the swankiest property on famous Bourbon Street, occupying an entire city block with its hundreds of rooms and extensive meeting space. Because of this, travelers are a mix of couples, groups of friends, and business travelers either attending conferences on-site or in the area. The first floor's lobby and ballroom space are often busy with suitcase-touting tourists and meeting attendees wearing name tags, though the vibe remains calm and upmarket. The property underwent a massive renovation that was completed in 2016, resulting in modern, stylish rooms, though common areas kept a classic French Quarter feel with chandeliers, extensive marble, bronze columns, and archways. Calming outdoor spaces include a pleasant courtyard featuring a fountain, citrus trees, and wrought-iron dining sets, as well as an outdoor pool -- though this area gets more buzzing in the summer when a bar opens.
This is an excellent pick for travelers wanting to be in the heart of the action, though the large property lacks the intimate charm of some nearby properties such as Audubon Cottages and Melrose Mansion. For a similar stay, it's worth comparing rates with Hotel Monteleone, which has a spa.
On famous Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, surrounded by bars and eateries
The Royal Sonesta sits in the liveliest heart of the French Quarter, directly on famous 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 doors.
The French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré, 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.
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
Five-minute walk to Canal Street, where travelers can board 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
15-minute walk to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum
Stylish, modern rooms with Keurig machines and shower/tub combos in most
Renovations completed in 2016 brought a gorgeous, contemporary style to the 483 rooms, many of which have pool, courtyard, or French Quarter street views. Unfortunately, noise can be an issue across the board, due to thin interior walls and bustling streets. Nevertheless, rooms are comfortable and well-sized, outfitted in dark-wood furniture, brown-patterned carpet, gray-papered and light-blue accent walls, white headboards, metallic decor, and blue or purple accents in bed runners, armchairs, and artwork. Some rooms have small windows, while others have furnished balconies or patios.
Standard amenities are solid, consisting of flat-screen TVs, Keurig machines, mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, iHome docking stations, laptop-sized safes, desks with silver chairs, and closets housing ironing facilities. Some suites are split-level and/or have sitting areas or hot tubs. Sleek white-marble bathrooms mostly have shower/tub combos, though some upgraded units have walk-in showers. All come with bathrobes, slippers, hairdryers, and high-end toiletries.
The Bourbon Balcony Hospitality Suite is popular for events, as its wrap-around terrace offers wonderful views over Bourbon Street. It has a bathroom, living room, and wet bar area.
Outdoor pool with seasonal bar, 24-hour fitness center, and extensive meeting space
A downside for the Royal Sonesta is that it lacks a spa, but all other expected features are available here. A standout is the well-sized, heated outdoor pool, set in a red brick-tiled courtyard with metal loungers, dining tables under umbrellas, and a seasonal bar. It's generally a tranquil spot, though gets more buzzing during the summer. For gym time, a 24-hour fitness center is located on the basement level, outfitted with cardio and strength-training machines, free weights, and a couple of vending machines. The business center is also open 24/7 and offers printing services.
Travelers staying in one of the sixth-floor R Club Concierge Level rooms get access to the R Club Lounge and a dedicated concierge. This lounge provides free hot and cold breakfast buffets, free wine and beer happy hours with tasty appetizers, and free all-day non-alcoholic beverages, fruit, and sweet treats. A small outdoor terrace is available, as are a computer and printer.
Extensive meeting and event space spans 20,000 square feet and includes a grand ballroom. Wedding planning and catering services are available. Daily parking is available, but it's pricey.
Well-reviewed oyster bar and upscale Creole cuisine
Although there are numerous highly rated restaurants and bars just outside the property, travelers have multiple tasty dining options on-site. Restaurant R’evolution is an upscale spot offering fresh New Orleans cuisine that draws on Chef John Folse’s southern roots and Chef Rick Tramonto’s global expertise. The lunch and dinner menus feature a contemporary take on Creole and Cajun cuisine, and Sunday jazz brunches are popular. In addition to its bar area, guests can grab a drink at Le Booze, which faces Bourbon Street, or at the well-reviewed Desire Oyster Bar, an all-day eatery featuring a decorative tin ceiling and red, black, and white decor. Traditional fare such as gumbo, blackened catfish, and chargrilled oysters are served here. PJ’s Coffee House offers caffeinated drinks, pastries, and grab-and-go meals, while the Jazz Playhouse has popular nightly jazz performances and weekly burlesque shows.
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