The heart of New Orleans, Louisiana, since 1886
By Hope S. Philbrick
21 Plus Salute! Let’s start with the fact that Hotel Monteleone earns our top honors.
The reason we bestow this award is not because you’re guaranteed never to see or hear children while here, but because the hotel serves up such fantastic, adult-oriented sophisticated fun that children are besides the point. (And so, kids are rare guests.)
Take, for instance, the Carousel Bar & Lounge. Located right off the main entrance is the best Merry-Go-Round ride of any grownup’s life. It’s a bar where skilled bartenders serve up some of the best cocktails in town, including the Vieux Carré, which was invented by Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Hotel Monteleone in 1938—so, of course, you must try one! Cheers to Walter! The Carousel Bar is an actual revolving carousel—though the horses have been replaced with bar stools. Sit and sip and gently circle—the technical term is circumnavigate—the bar one revolution every 15 minutes, which by our count is fast enough to loop around a few times while sipping a cocktail yet slow enough that you shouldn’t get dizzy, unless you drink too much, and then that’s on you. The Carousel Bar is strictly adults-only—since, hello, it is a bar!—however bright and circus-y it may seem. Installed in 1949, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty and Winston Groom are just a few of the famous writers who’ve enjoyed drinks at the bar. Sitting on one of its 25 stools and sipping a beverage is part right-of-passage for any cocktail aficionado, part must-do grownup activity in New Orleans, and part essential New Orleans’ historic site. It’s also super fun.
Of course you can visit the Carousel Bar & Lounge even if you’re staying at some other hotel, but it feels more like home when your room is just an elevator ride away.
What a lovely, comfortable room it is. “Back in the 1920s, Hotel Monteleone featured the latest in luxurious comfort for its patrons. Recent upgrades then included a radio in every room, and some of the rooms were even air conditioned. How times have changed,” reports one press release. Indeed, after more than a year of upgrading and renovating, every guest room now boasts everything you’d expect of a contemporary upscale hotel—of course there’s A/C!— including iPhone docking stations, coffee makers and Wi-Fi.
Hotel Monteleone is on Royal Street, which is home to dozens of upscale art and antique boutiques. If you’re in the market for an original Gauguin, for example, you’ll want to shop on Royal Street and this hotel is an ideal home base for such a trip. It’s also convenient for a getaway focused on the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE). Or Tales of the Cocktail. Or any trip to New Orleans, really. We love this hotel and odds are that you will, too.
Hotel Monteleone manages to be contemporary and historic, refined and comfortable, legendary and welcoming, vibrant and relaxed.
Like the city of New Orleans itself, it’s a place you’ll love to call home, a place you’ll long to return.
- Hotel Monteleone is the largest full-service hotel in the French Quarter with 570 guest rooms, including 55 suites.
- The hotel is within walking distance of some of New Orleans’ most famous attractions.
- The hotel is 11 miles from the Louis Armstrong International Airport. Airport shuttle service is $13/one-way.
- Each guestroom is equipped with a Keurig coffee maker and supplies, safe, refrigerator, ironing board and iron, robes, hair dryer, clock radios with iPod charger, and flat-screen TV.
- High-speed Internet access is available for an extra charge.
- Hotel Monteleone is making an effort to Go Green as detailed here.
- The award-winning Criollo restaurant is on-site. Chef Randy Buck was honored as “Chef of the Year” by the American Culinary Federation New Orleans Chapter. Bites like “oysters and pearls” dance across your tongue like smooth jazz.
- Up on the roof you’ll find a pool and a bar. (That one doesn’t rotate.)
- There’s a 24-hour fitness center; nice way to burn off some calorie splurges bound to occur during any visit to New Orleans.
- The Carousel Bar & Lounge is open daily from 11 a.m. until they kick the last person out.
- The hotel is pet-friendly; please ask for details when making a reservation.
Stir It Up…
When you can’t make it to New Orleans, mix this up at home. The cocktail is like a ‘liquid postcard’ that says “Wish You Were Here, from the Carousel Bar.”
1/4 oz. Benedictine
1/4 oz. Cognac
1/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz. Sazerac Rye
3 drops Angostura Bitters
3 drops Peychaud Bitters
Pour ingredients over ice and garnish with a twist of lemon.
Hotel Monteleone is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Historic Hotels of America and has been awarded Four-Diamond status by AAA.
Hotel Monteleone is one of only three hotels in the U.S. to be named a Literary Landmark by the “Friends of the Library Association.” (The other two are the Algonquin and The Plaza in New York.)
The hotel has been family owned and operated for over 125 years. The fifth generation is currently at the helm.
214 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
-Photos courtesy Hotel Monteleone