There’s a fresh breeze stirring the air at Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, the uber-luxe 23-story landmark hotel in the Central Business District, just steps from Harrah’s Casino. This year marks the hotel’s 30th anniversary, a milestone in the life of a hotel that has long been the go-to spot for celebrities, athletes and corporate thought leaders.
As gorgeous as this art-filled hotel is, it does have a reputation for being - well, shall we say - a little buttoned up. Known for high-end dining and cushy sleeps since it opened in 1984, the famously conservative hotel was purchased five years ago by the locally based Berger Company.
The splashy entrance to the luxury Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans — Photo courtesy of Windsor Court Hotel
And things started to shift. Those tube television sets that popped up at the foot of the beds? The veddy British drawing room décor? The stolidly classic drink menu? Thanks to a $22 million stem-to-stern redo of the property in 2012, the hotel is now lighter, brighter and up to speed with technology.
Case in point: each of the 316 rooms - 85% of which are suites - now include WiFi and at least one flat-screen TV. That’s epic. There’s also a new spa. Plus, Cocktail Bar is now shaking trendy drinks in the lobby and, most recently, there's new blood in the famous Grill Room.
“I like to surround myself with creative young people,” says David Teich, general manager. “They keep things new and innovative.”
The latest forward thinkers to join the team are Daniel Causgrove, the new chef de cuisine in The Grill Room, and John Mitchell, who returns to the ranks as sommelier.
Daniel Causgrove is the new chef de cuisine in the Grill Room at Windsor Court Hotel. — Photo courtesy of Windsor Court Hotel
His new position is a sort of homecoming for Mitchell, who has already deepened the wine list in the restaurant and the newly dubbed lobby Cocktail Bar. Mitchell was an integral part of the team that got The Grill Room back on its feet after Hurricane Katrina, with a revamped wine program. But he left town to work at some A-list spots, including McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C. His last position was in New Orleans, managing the cellar at Stella! in the French Quarter.
Causgrove brings experience from New York’s Le Cirque to the table, working locally at Cochon and Le Petite Grocery before taking over The Grill Room's kitchen. Causgrove just debuted his first menu, and it’s a beauty. Specialties like blue crab gratin with black garlic and Manchego cheese and cinnamon-cured tuna in a Satsuma-ginger vinaigrette pop with eye appeal and deep flavor.
Meanwhile, Mitchell is knee deep in wine pairings, special vintner dinners and a progressive cocktail list overseen by Food and Beverage Director Skip Adams.
Will Windsor Court ever give the W a run for its money? Not even. Nor would its regular guests want it to. But this haven of luxury isn’t just for your folks anymore. Take a seat at the Cocktail Bar and order a $14 Of Blood & Love cocktail made with Hendrick’s Gin, Crème de Noisette, Dubonnet Rouge and rosewater, and you’ll get a taste of why 30 is a very good number at Windsor Court Hotel.