New Orleans is a romantic city. If rekindling or stoking the flame of passion is your goal, selecting the hotel is an important part of the process. The city has endless accommodation options, but a few choice properties reign supreme.
What is it that sets these properties apart? Enchanting rooms, first-class service, top notch spas, skyline views, classy dining and architecture are all on the checklist for couples making their New Orleans hotel decision for a weekend of romance. The rooms at the Windsor Court are designed for luxury and comfort, newly renovated and loaded with extra amenities and upgrades. The Hotel Monteleone has views of the city that are matched by few. The spa at the Ritz-Carlton is one of the country's best. And the seclusion of the Audubon Cottages makes anybody feel like a rock star.
If you want to up the ante, arrange in advance for champagne to be chilled and waiting, a nosegay of flowers on a vase by the bed and maybe even set up a couple's massage at the spa. The city, with its picturesque streets meant for strolling, cheek to cheek dancing opportunities and wide array of intimate bars and restaurants, will do the rest.
You won't want to leave after touring this fab Antebellum plantation - and thanks to the addition of comfy cottages done up in charming Southern style, you don't have to. The Antebellum South gets its bling on at this gracious plantation, meticulously restored and expanded by New Orleans entrepreneur Kevin Kelly. Situated about 45 minutes drive from New Orleans along the river, you can take a tour of the plantation, which is straight out of Gone With the Wind. There's a gorgeous allee of live oaks framing a stately white 1840 Greek Revival mansion brimming with antiques and gardens for strolling. A lovely break from the city, ideal for a romantic getaway, don't miss dinner at Latil's Landing, an atmospheric 1770s French house that provides the perfect setting for chef Jeremy Langlois' imaginative cuisine.
The renovated W in the French Quarter marries urban chic with traditional Vieux Carre architecture in a fabulous location, the best of all worlds. Spacious rooms themed jazz or tarot are decked out in bold art and niceties like Bliss spa products and uber comfy bedding. The central pool is a chill lounge scene. You'll want to sit a spell at the bar at SoBou, the latest venture from the Commander's Palace branch of the Brennan family. Bar chef/alchemist Laura Bellucci concocts brilliant craft cocktails using fresh herbs, tinctures and homemade bitters. Move into the dramatically lit dining room for chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez' playful menu of modern Creole bites.
There are plenty of reasons to cross the 24-mile causeway across Lake Pontchartrain to the Northshore, but downtown Covington is surely high on the list. Oozing laid-back charm, this compact town and parish (county) seat of St. Tammany boasts a historic downtown dating back to 1813. With the reopening of the lovely Southern Hotel, Covington can now offer guests a first-class place to lay their heads. Art filled and dripping with cushy extras, this historic circa 1907 hotel was restored to its former glory and reopened in 2014. The Mission-style building, with its wide archways and lush center courtyard, offers a welcoming oasis to couples looking for a romantic retreat. Don't miss a romantic dinner in the fab Oxlot 9 restaurant onsite.
Built as a warehouse in 1910, the Renaissance Arts Hotel on Tchoupitoulas delivers the vibrant art and culture of New Orleans as soon as you walk into the lobby. The lobby delivers an art gallery sensibility, with an inside sculpture garden and masterpieces adorning most of the available wall space. The locally owned Legacy Kitchen offers authentic flavors onsite, dishes like thin-fried cat fish, roast chicken and local redfish with garlic butter. Tchoupitoulas Street puts you in walking proximity to the sights and sounds of the lively Warehouse District neighborhood. Being a Marriott brand hotel, you can be sure that the quality of rooms and services is top notch.
As tempted as you'll be to settle in at Petit Lion, the Troubadour's airy street level restaurant and bar, the first thing you need to do at the Troubadour Hotel is take the elevator. Hit 17 and ascend to the top of the 184-room boutique hotel, which opened in early December and prepare to be gobsmacked. New Orleans unfurls in every direction from the Monkey Board rooftop bar, spectacular views that have date night written all over them. Cocktails and global street eats with a view are just two of the reasons to check into this striking hotel, with its bold contemporary design and arresting original art scattered throughout the public spaces. Guest rooms are crisp and comfy, there's a 24-hour fitness center and no charge for Wifi. More good news: if your lovers' retreat needs to include Fluffy, the pet-friendly Troubadour is happy to oblige. Add in the stellar location, within strolling distance of the French Quarter, the Superdome and the lively dining and entertainment scene in the Warehouse District, and the Troubadour is a romantic getaway just waiting to happen.
Imagine staying with a rich friend who is touring Europe but is generous enough to give you the key to her secluded French Quarter hideaway. That's what it feels like to stay in one of the seven recently refurbished seven Audubon Cottages, named forformer resident, John James Audubon. If it's high end, uber private and intimate digs you seek, seek no more. Each cottage is unique, and among the many notable details you might find hardwood floors, separate living areas, dining tables and/or antique furnishings. Additional perks include complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and a heated saltwater pool, as well valet parking at the nearby Dauphine Orleans Hotel. In room spa services are available for the asking.
Walk through the doors of the Windsor Court, a landmark hotel in the Central Business District, and you automatically feel like a V.I.P. Known for high-end dining and cushy sleeps since it opened in 1984, hotel was treated to a $22 million stem-to-stern redo a few years back, leaving it lighter, brighter and more tech savvy. But for the purposes of romance, the high end bedding, new spa and chill lobby Cocktail Bar set the stage for fireworks to come. Add in dinner at the famous Grill Room, where chef Gabe Charpentier creates swoon-worthy dishes like boudin stuffed quail with white cheddar grits and life is good.
Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street emanates European luxury with 600 sprawling rooms, and boasts one of the highest inventories of suites (55) available in New Orleans. The location of the Monteleone is perfect, situated on the art and shopping street of the city. Bourbon is only a block away, and the Old French Market and River Walk are a short stroll in the opposite direction. The hotel features a heated rooftop pool and 24/7 fitness center availability and in-room dining. Ernest Hemingway made note of the Monteleone's famous Carousel Bar, a 25 seat, slowly circumnavigating lounge that makes the Hotel worth visiting even if you don't plan on staying there.
The Maison de Ville Hotel is another property located right in the heart of the French Quarter, steps from all must-see attractions. Guests are treated to true Southern hospitality at this historic (and some say haunted) property, with its lovely courtyard and wrought iron balconies. One of the building's first residents invented the now official state cocktail - the Sazerac - while at the hotel and Tennessee Williams penned his famous "A Streetcar Named Desire" in room number nine. The hotel is as Old World New Orleans as it gets, with rooms containing period furniture, antiques and interesting art work.
The Ritz-Carlton name usually speaks for itself, and its New Orleans iteration is no exception. Located on Canal St., the Ritz embraces Southern culture and ideals into its design and service more so than any other Big Easy hotel. The rooms themselves seemed to have been pulled out from a Victorian mansion and plugged into this gracious property. The 25,000 square foot spa is one of the biggest in the city, and in itself draws people to stay. The location is primo, close to the city's revitalized theater district and on the edge of the French Quarter, steps from everything.