Are you looking for recommendations on where to stay in the French Quarter from someone who’s actually visited and stayed or at least walked through a bunch of hotels? Then this is the post for you!
I’ve visited New Orleans seven times now, and have stayed at fabulous hotels in the French Quarter and some just outside it.
But my top tip for visiting the city of jazz is to stay IN the French Quarter. It’s where you’ll spend most of your time walking (and walking – bring good shoes) and there’s lots of exploring to do here and if your hotel is nice and central you can pop in and out for bathroom breaks or a little lie down when the shopping gets tough!
Behind all those little shuttered windows of gaily painted buildings and wrought iron balcony railings above are courtyards, swimming pools, gardens and patios of the boutique hotels hidden from view but right on the doorstep of all the action of the French Quarter.
So here are my picks for six of the best places I can totally recommend staying in the French Quarter of New Orleans…
I stayed here for four nights, just one block from Bourbon Street. Next door is May Baily’s bar, a former bordello, for a cheeky splash of an evening and breakfast is in the Audubon room where John James Audubon painted his famous Birds of America series from 1821-22 while residing at the Audubon Cottages next door. I had a street front room which can be noisy when folks stumble out of nearby bars at 2am. But this is a wonderful character hotel and for the convenience of being so close to said bars, restaurants, shopping, a short stroll to Jackson Square and famous Cafe du Monde, I’d recommend it. They also have valet parking.
After a huge $30m refurb, the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street is an elegant and luxurious gem of a hotel. It’s deceptively huge with 483 rooms hiding a pool in the back surrounded by loungers. Some rooms have French doors onto the balcony overlooking it (mine!) I was staying with my cousin so we loved the two queen beds and huge bathroom with plenty of room to unpack and drop off our constant supply of “show-and-tells” from the surrounding shops.
Their jazz lounge is a great venue with no cover charge for live music except for Wednesdays* when for $15 you can see the legendary Irvin Mayfield and his band from the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra from 9pm till midnight. Directly across the road on Bourbon is Cafe Beignet with live music all day and Southern style fast food.
*Yikes. I read that in December 2017 Irvin Mayfield has been indicted by a grand jury for fraud and I note that he is no longer on the billing at Royal Sonesta. Such a silly man. Such a waste.
Half a block from Bourbon Street is this trendy, chic boutique hotel.
I stayed here on my last visit for four nights. The rooms are spacious and the breakfast is free in the bar area. On a balmy night you’ll love sitting outside beside the pool on the lounge furniture – or taking a dip if you don’t mind people watching from the floor to ceiling windows all around.
This is where the hipsters stay when they want a stylish 4-star hotel. Every guest gets a voucher for a free drink at the bar. Happy Hour is 5-7pm Monday to Friday where house wines are $5, some cocktails are $4 and domestic beers are $3.
So even if you’re not staying, pop in for a drink and a look around. You’ll probably choose this hotel next time!
I poked my head in here to see this awesome courtyard open up hidden behind the walls of this luxury boutique hotel. As it happened the presidential suite was available for me to have a gander through. The owner has classy taste. Not only are the furnishings and antiques completely covetable, but the rooms are bigger than most in the city, Egyptian cotton bed linens and granite tile in the bathrooms. This is a five star hotel – and they don’t charge for WiFi! Oh and you’re half a block from Bourbon and Royal Streets.
These newly multi-million dollar renovated cottages are hidden behind a private door in the wall on Dauphine Street (a block from Bourbon). It’s leafy and tranquil back here and I had a peek in one of the 2 bedroom cottages with their own little courtyard. There is a saltwater pool – said to be the oldest in New Orleans. This would be ideal for a group booking – and often it’s snapped up by the many wedding parties that come to New Orleans to tie the knot. Again, the attention to detail in the furnishings is gorgeous and on the coffee table lies a copy of one of the most expensive books in the world, John James Audubon’s book of paintings of American birds. The original sold for $30million!
This hotel has also undergone a multi-million dollar restoration and it’s now a upscale hotel with heaps of history. It’s regal and elegant with plush furniture under chandeliers, adjacent to Jackson Square, which is a fantastic place to enjoy street musicians and local artists who hang their wares on the iron railings, you’re also only half a block from Bourbon Street.
If you’re looking for some cool things to do in New Orleans, I loved this three-hour cycle tour around the French Quarter (which included a stop for beignets!) You can read my post here >>
And here’s my post on some of the best cocktail bars in New Orleans and their amazing history!