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The building which is now home to the Pontchartrain Hotel first opened as luxury apartments in 1927. In the 90 years it operated as such until its 2016 relaunch as a stylish boutique hotel, it welcomed such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, Rita Hayworth, Gerald Ford, and George HW Bush.
It’s probably no surprise, then, that its relatively recent reincarnation is a testament to almost a century of glamour. Each of its 106 rooms is thoughtfully decked out with nods to both classic European and colorful Caribbean styles. The Caribbean look is a legacy from the 1940s and 50s, when post-war interior design looked to evoke the tropical climes that many servicemen had become accustomed to during World War II. Brimming with historical nods, the unusual decadence of the decor and space (there are no cramped rooms, even at entry-level) were built-in features of the $10 million renovation.
It’s a stand-out property in New Orleans, and especially in the Lower Garden District, a neighborhood equidistant between the attractions of Uptown and the downtown historic French Quarter. Its geographic peers are mostly smaller upscale bed and breakfast type properties or nondescript three-star chains, making a medium-sized boutique hotel, especially of this caliber, really stand out.
The streetcar line runs right outside on the famous, tree-framed St Charles avenue, so exploring the city is phenomenally easy. However, the hotel also has plenty of amenities to keep you on site, including one of the best hotel restaurants in town, Jack Rose, and a rooftop bar that’s consistently busy thanks to its unequalled city views.
If this hotel was in the French Quarter, there’s no doubt its rooms would be significantly pricier, but its way of tempting visitors away from the touristy hub is a range of affordable rates. The pandemic has lowered them even more, and when I saw their entry-level Clio King room available at $129 per night plus taxes and fees, I knew I’d found a real bargain. I had taken advantage of their incredibly good value suites to host a Mardi Gras party some years ago (many of the parades pass right outside), but I was curious to see how an entry-level room stacked up.
On booking, I was assured that all of the hotel’s amenities were operational, albeit with some limitations and new COVID-19 protocols in place, which piqued my interest to see how such a historic property would implement new policies. As it turned out, I was incredibly impressed with my stay from start to finish. I found the hotel to have one of the best-implemented sets of COVID protocols in the city, and my entry-level room managed to maintain the luxe feel of the suites.
In fact, my stay firmly cemented this property as one of my go-to hotel recommendations for visitors to the city.