Sleeping easy in the Big Easy

We’ve been to New Orleans six times now, and each time we love the city more and more.

Two places we’ve stayed more than once are the Place d’Armes, and the Hotel Monteleone. The Monteleone is a classic, grand New Orleans hotel: doormen, concierge, lovely throughout. It can also be a little expensive, depending on the season. Off season rates are better, but since some recent renovations the prices don’t seem to dip all that much.

Place d'Armes courtyard
Place d’Armes courtyard

For a more “authentic” NOLA feel, try the Place d’Armes, an old carriage house with a central courtyard, which in warm weather is lovely for sitting by the pool or having your morning coffee. A nice plus is this hotel includes a light breakfast – some type of pastry each day (often croissants), juice, coffee, tea and fruit. Room tip: “internal” rooms have no windows; these are the least expensive option, but can feel claustrophobic. The best rooms overlook the courtyard.

On our most recent visit to the city, we opted for something new: a B&B in the Marigny, which is a hip, somewhat boho area northeast of the quarter. The Maison Marigny was absolutely a delight from beginning to end. We received a warm welcome from John Ramsay, one of the two owners who made us feel like family. The place is beautifully decorated, warm and inviting. Each morning we went down to a fabulous breakfast prepared by John himself, at which point we would chat about our plans for the day, getting tips on things we might not already know. Our bedroom (one of only four rooms in the Maison) was comfortable and cozy, with a full bathroom and fluffy towels. What more could you want? Oh, it’s also about a two minute walk away from Frenchman Street, with tons of music clubs, restaurants, etc. A perfect location at the end of the night! We would recommend Maison Marigny highly to anyone, if you can book a room – it fills up fast.

Finally, we have to give a nod to the first place we ever stayed in New Orleans: Le Pavillion. We found this through a flight-and-hotel package on Expedia, and I had recalled a coworker saying she stayed there once and that it was great. It was a really lovely hotel, though it’s in the Central Business District (CBD), and so might not be convenient if you’re planning to spend most of your time in the quarter or the Marigny. One unusual touch: the hotel put out peanut butter sandwiches and milk in the lobby starting around 9 or 10 PM. I guess for those midnight snackers…? We stayed here in 2003, though, so I cannot say if the quality is the same. A recent view of their rates shows it’s fairly expensive–far more than we paid through Expedia–so I’m not sure we would choose it again unless there was a really good deal.

For our next visit, coming up in May for Jazz Fest, we were not able to find rooms at any of the above (well, there was a room at the Place d’Armes but it was an internal room with no windows). However, we were able to book a standard room at the Prince Conti, which is a sister hotel to the Place d’Armes. We’ll let you know how that compares.

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4 thoughts on “Sleeping easy in the Big Easy

  1. We’ve been looking for a place near Frenchmen, so Maison Marigny may fit the bill. The one problem I have with B&B’s: so many don’t feel very “private.” I always get the feeling I’m tip-toeing through my mom’s house. 🙂 How do you think MM does on this? And on Place d’Armes, how would you grade the rooms for cleanliness, comfort, etc.?

    1. Well, the MM is essentially a house, with four rooms, so it’s the usual acoustics you’d get. But we definitely didn’t feel like the walls were paper thin, its a solid old house, and we never felt like we could hear others in their rooms, certainly not conversations. Walking in the upstairs hall we could hear a blow-dryer one day.

      We are usually fans of hotels for the greater privacy/anonymity, so this was a bit different for us. Still, I would stay here again, as the service was fantastic, the room immaculate & comfy, and location was perfect for our needs.

      We have always enjoyed the Place d’Armes, though it is not of the caliber of, say, the Monteleone by any means. Some rooms are def in need of an upgrade, but the rooms have always been clean. One nitpicky thing: on our last visit, we returned one day in the late afternoon, hoping to grab towels from the room to use the pool (we had asked the cleaning staff for a couple of extra). However, it was 4pm and the room had not yet been cleaned, so our only towels from the morning were still damp and we felt like we needed to leave so they didn’t skip cleaning our room. We mentioned it to the front desk and they were very accommodating, contacting the head of housekeeping to take care of it immediately. And we got plenty of towels and chocolates left on the pillow! But we did get the feeling that the cleaning staff was an outside service/crew and so the timeframe for cleaning the rooms could vary day to day.

      So I’d recommend it, but perhaps communicate with the front desk ahead of time if you will need to come back earlier in the day, to ensure your room is done early.

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