This piece originally ran on Feb. 24, 2020.
The staccato thumps of a tuba bounce between the bars before falling to the rest of the band as they continue to march down the street. Floats and costumed participants follow along, throwing out more beads than you know what to do with. In New Orleans, where the party really never stops and the booze flows endlessly, Mardi Gras is the culmination of the city’s party lifestyle. It’s the largest party of the year.
While the French Quarter is the place to be for all of the events, bars and music, it’s certainly not the best place to sleep—especially now that Airbnbs have been banned and are no longer an easy way to watch the parade from above. So consider booking one of these wonderful hotels instead for a restful stay just outside of the action.
It’s clear you’ve rolled into the Big Easy the first moment you step into your room at Maison de la Luz. Zydeco’s playing on the radio, there’s Voodoo-inspired art on the bedside table and the modern take on French antiques is a playful ode to the antique-filled city. Stop by the lounge between 6 and 8 p.m. to enjoy the cheese and wine reception or head to the speakeasy that provides a private entrance to Bar Marilou just next door. If the bar’s too busy, stay in the guest-only room with a painting that serves as a cocktail window for taking orders. The stylish, new hotel opened in April 2019 and is located in the Central Business District. It’s an easy walk straight into the French Quarter yet a quiet corner to retire to when the streetcars stop running.
This hotel, a property of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, reflects the quintessential old-world style of New Orleans. Set in three French Colonial homes that date to 1830, the Soniat House’s wrought-iron rails, green shutters and doors, and rust-colored exterior exude classic Big Easy energy. The antique-filled hotel fits perfectly into the gaslight and cobblestone image the city paints. Just on the northern perimeter of the French Quarter, it’s easy to walk into the center of the action and just steps away from some incredible jazz bands.
This grand hotel at the edge of the Central Business District and the French Quarter is jaw-droppingly stunning. From the elegant chandeliers hanging in the Neoclassical lobby and lounge to the richly decorated rooms, Le Pavillon is an indulgence. The rooms were recently remodeled to become comfortable retreats from the bustling city. Inspired by French antiques, get cozy next to one of the marble fireplaces and order a drink or enjoy the peanut butter and jelly bar for an eccentric touch to the end of the day. To make the most of your stay, book the park, eat and play package.
The Higgins is the furthest from the French Quarter but is just across the street from the new World War II Museum. It’s a new build that just opened in December 2019, and it’s a bustling hub for all kinds of guests. The expansive hotel also holds the largest rooftop bar in the city—Rosie’s on the Roof. After check-in, head to the top floor for a drink and watch the sunset. There are also great bar bites to hold you over until dinner after the krewe parade ends and the crowds disperse.
Maison de la Luz photo courtesy of Maison de la luz
Soniat House courtesy of Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Le Pavilion photo by Stephen Kennedy under Creative Commons 2.0 License
The Higgins photo courtesy of Higgins Hotel NOLA
Molly Harris is a freelance journalist. You can often find her on the highway somewhere between Florida and North Carolina or taking life slow in Europe.