Situated on the edge of New Orleans' French Quarter, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans most certainly qualifies as centrally located. But stay here and you'll feel as if you've been transported to a luxury mansion somewhere in Europe. The property is set within a 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building, and upon arrival you'll immediately notice the sweet smell of gardenias that permeates each corner -- it's the hotel's signature scent. Every corner seems to be filled with such touches that make a visit feel super-special. Here's our review.What’s Hot: The courtyard is where most of the action happens, from a morning French press and pastries to pre-dinner cocktails next to the bubbling fountains under the gas lamps. Here, guests can experience special events with the Crawfish Concierge, Snowball Sommelier, and Oyster Butler (yes, those are real positions at the hotel). It doesn't get more New Orleans than that.
Best Feature: The spa is pretty spectacular. The largest in New Orleans, it evokes southern luxury with crystal chandeliers, fountains, and drape-y fabrics over daybeds for lounging pre- and post-treatment -- along with a glass of Champagne, naturally. Our recommendations: The Café Au Lait massage incorporates healing properties of coffee and milk into a fragrant Swedish massage. Or book the Voodoo Massage, and incense will fill the room along with voodoo chants -- while notes of Absinthe and bourbon, cypress and moss, and vetiver are used in the rub.
The Rooms: Accommodation types vary from deluxe rooms to suites -- each offering beautiful neoclassical furniture, locally commissioned artwork, and jewel-toned, custom-designed bedding that's I-don't-want-to-get-up comfortable. We stayed in a club level room, which gave us access to a dedicated concierge and lounge with continuous meal offerings of breakfast, light snacks, hors d' oeuvres, and sweets. Beverages are also served there, including fresh juices, top-notch wines, beers, and cocktails.
The Food: You can't mention food in New Orleans without, first, a nod to drinks. The Davenport Lounge is named for the beloved headliner and trumpet-player extraordinaire Jeremy Davenport. Locals love his music as much as guests do, and you'll find him playing Wednesday through Saturday. You can order from a menu of classic cocktails and fancy lounge bites here -- or head to M Bistro for classic New Orleans seafood (think: gumbo and chargrilled oysters), along with meats from local farmers.
Who Will Love It: The Ritz-Carlton calls to those who want to experience full-on luxury at a central location in a classic city. If you're a lover of fine linens and sipping cocktails in a courtyard, and appreciate antique-appointed rooms -- this is your hotel.
Who Might Not: It's all about relaxation and pampering here -- not so much the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter.
Nearby: The hotel is located one block from Bourbon Street and Saenger Theatre, nearby shopping at Canal Place, and in front of the streetcar line to whisk you away to all other areas of the city.
Deals & Special Offers: If you're willing to brave the New Orleans' heat, you can nab rooms for under $200 per night in the summer -- a steal for such grand luxury. In comparison, sample fall rates start from $349 per weeknight and $399 per weekend night in November.
Getting There: Fly into New Orleans' Louis Armstrong International Airport and the hotel is under than a half-hour's drive.