Historic, grand dame, removed
2031 St Charles Ave 504-941-9000 thepontchartrainhotel.com
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At a Glance
Set on St. Charles Avenue in the leafy Garden District, Hotel Pontchartrain is a New Orleans landmark that was transformed in 2017 with luxe furnishings and new dining outlets while still preserving its original 1920s flair.
- The fabled history of the hotel and its illustrious guests (Tennessee Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire here)
- The location in the Garden District near the excellent shopping on Magazine Street but away from the city’s notorious Bourbon Street
- The vibrant décor that incorporates sumptuous fabrics, lavish art and old-world opulence
Hotel Pontchartrain Review
Hotel Pontchartain opened in the 1920s, when New Orleans was the Southern epicenter for artists, writers and the global glitterati. With its fusion of French, Spanish and Caribbean influence, the city has a unique flavor unmatched anywhere in the United States, visible in its diverse architecture, bluesy jazz culture and lust for cocktails and fine cuisine. Set on famed St. Charles Avenue, lined with stately oaks, gracious mansions and historic streetcars, the iconic grand dame was restored to its former glory with a chic style that melds the traditional and the modern.
Upon entering the hotel, New Orleans’ love of drinking and dining is immediately apparent. On either side of the hallway, guests will find the Bayou Bar, a mahogany-paneled tavern frequented by Frank Sinatra and Truman Capote, and the Silver Whistle Café, a light-filled coffee shop with an upscale diner theme. Further into the atmospheric hotel is the crown jewel, a confection of a lounge lined with floral oil paintings, plush velvet and print linen sofas and opulent standing candelabras. This cozy, yet over-the-top space opens onto Jack Rose, the dining room that is currently being renovated and is set to re-open April 2018.
The 106 guest rooms are spacious, ranging from an oversized king room to a two-bedroom suite, and feature a luxurious, old-world aesthetic with large windows overlooking the oaks of St. Charles. Moss green velvet headboards, batik print pillows, gorgeous ceramic lamps and lacquer woodwork evoke a romantic vision of days bygone in New Orleans.
The hotel’s location on St. Charles is perfect for strolling the boutiques at Magazine Street and is not far from Tulane University or the revelry of the French Quarter. After a day of touring the history-rich city, guests can retreat to Hot Tin bar (the name harkens to the work of hotel denizen Tennessee Williams.) The rooftop watering hole serves creative cocktails and boasts an alfresco terrace with scenic views—the perfect spot to unwind on a balmy night.
Who Should Stay
Couples and older travelers who appreciate the hotel’s sense of history, chic design and removed setting in the discreet Garden District. While families can be accommodated in the larger suites, the debonair hush of the hotel and its environs might deter those with younger children who would prefer The Roosevelt or the Ritz-Carlton.
- Kira Reinke