Oak Alley Plantation has 3 listings on TripAdvisor where reviews can be posted, and judging by the number of misplaced reviews, it appears many people are unaware Oak Alley has cottages for overnight stays. The 3 Oak Alley TA sites are: 1) for the plantation tour, 2) for the cottages, or "inn", & 3) for the restaurant. Since we experienced all 3 offerings, we have 3 separate reviews.
We came to New Orleans to attend a large convention, and from the get-go we knew we wanted to visit Oak Alley, having seen many photos of its iconic alley of oak trees and Greek Revival main house, called the "Big House". I assumed, like many, we would tour the plantation via one of the many tour companies available. It was only upon further research on Oak Alley's very detailed website that I discovered there were overnight cottages on the plantation, run like a bed and breakfast. We quickly rearranged our schedule to spend our final night in Louisiana at Oak Alley, and rented a car (this is a necessity if you plan to stay overnight and perhaps visit other plantations).
Oak Alley has 10 rooms or cottages for rent, situated in 6 separate cottages. The cottages are about a century old (the Big House is almost 175 years old). Four of the cottages (#3, 4, 5, 6) are on the plantation grounds behind the restaurant, adjacent to private homes where plantation caretakers live. Cottage #3 has 2 bedrooms and sleeps 3, cottages #4 and #6 have 2 bedrooms and sleep 4. Cottage #5 is split into 2 separate one-bedroom units. Cottages 3, 4 and 6 have full kitchens and dining areas, while #5 has kitchenettes (no stove/oven). According to our Big House tour guide, a couple of these cottages are haunted.
Two other cottages, the Doctor's Cottage and the Rene House, are separated from the main grounds by sugar cane fields, and are actually on the grounds of what was once the Baytree Plantation. The Doctor's Cottage has one bedroom (sleeps 2) and a full kitchen, while the Rene House has 4 bedrooms with en suite baths that can be rented individually, sharing a parlor, dining room and kitchen. These cottages are roughly 1/4 mile from the Big House or restaurant, but one must walk along Highway 18 (River Rd.) and the gravel road into Oak Alley, neither of which have sidewalks.
We followed the directions from New Orleans to Vacherie (where Oak Alley is located) that were posted on Oak Alley's website. One passes through the small town of Vacherie first (Highway 20)--you can stop at the Piggly Wiggly store for groceries if you plan to use your cottage kitchen. This is also where a few restaurants are located.
If you arrive at the proper check-in time, you check-in at the restaurant office cottage. Someone then brings you lemonade (not fresh) and escorts you by golf cart to your cottage (you follow in your car). There, you are shown all the cottage features. If you arrive later that the proper time, you check-in at the plantation ticket office.
Cottage 3 was the only individual cottage available when we booked. It is the most costly cottage by about $5, probably because it has a larger bathroom. Our tour guide also said this is where Brad Pitt stayed while filming "Interview With The Vampire" on the plantation back in the 90's, and according to the guestbook in the cottage, he stayed here again while filming "12 Years A Slave" at a nearby plantation. This was confirmed by a Facebook post from Oak Alley itself. To think our commoners cheeks may have touched the same commode as buns of such high regard!
Our cottage, like most of the other cottages as well as the restaurant and restaurant office, was a "quarter house" design--a square of 4 rooms with a single central fireplace (now closed off) that once heated all 4 rooms. The kitchen and bathroom seemed to have been added on. The cottage had a screened porch, a living room with flat screen TV, a dining room, full kitchen (full fridge, stove/oven, microwave, dishes, utensils, cookware, etc.), a wooden deck, one bedroom with a queen bed and a walk-in closet that appeared to have once been part of the porch, a second small bedroom with a twin bed, and a bathroom with a closeted commode, jacuzzi tub and separate dual-head shower. There were no phones, but there is central air and heat, plus wifi.
The cottage was filled with old and/or period furniture and a lot of bric-a-brac, a housekeeping challenge. I checked for dust and found none, but there was an undeniable musty smell, and the wood floor was sticky. The main bedroom was dark because the bed's large headboard was pushed against the window, blocking over half its light and view. The "fresh" flowers in 2 vases were many days beyond fresh. The walk-in closet was creepy--musty, only 4 hangers, with a half-windowed door that surely led outside at one time. We didn't use it and kept it locked. Our tour guide did not mention that this cottage was haunted, but such thoughts remained in our minds, and we were spooked enough at night (when the grounds become quite isolated) to leave a light on in the hall. The old photos and paintings of people, including a wedding photo on the nightstand, did not help. Thankfully, no one in the photos was staring right at the camera. We did hear the train whistle that another TA reviewer mentioned.
One of the main advantages of staying overnight is being able to take evening or early morning strolls on the grounds in almost complete solitude--a lovely experience. The cottages have flashlights available--of course, one of ours didn't work and the other was quite dim, but the Big House and alley of oaks are decently lit. One of the many cats that live on the plantation did give us a fright in the night, but it was friendly and not black. We enjoyed our morning stroll more. It was also nice to climb to the top of the levee, which has a bike path on top, to see not only the mighty Mississippi River, but also the plantation from this vantage point.
Cottage stays include breakfast at the restaurant, which was nice (see separate review). Since the restaurant closes at 3pm, evening meal room service is offered. You must order at least one day in advance, and the food is placed in your fridge for you to reheat at your leisure. A car is necessary to have dinner off-site, and most places are closed Sundays.
Overall, this was a very unique stay, enjoyable, if a little spooky. Should we return, I would try to spend more time in the area to visit other plantations. And I would pack my own bright flashlight.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nowhere else in the south will you find such a spectacular setting!The story of Oak Alley Plantation began with a vision, an alley of 28 oaks later mirrored by a manor with 28 columns. In the early 1700’s an unknown settler planted twenty-eight evenly spaced oak trees in two rows leading from his humble cottage toward the mighty Mississippi River. Over a decade later, an aristocrat by name of Jacques Telephores Roman lured his New Orleans socialite bride to leave her city live life, to achieve his dream of becoming a sugar king. In 1839, Jacques and Celina built this spectacular mansion, leaving the Roman legacy for us to enjoy today. Come and enjoy her beauty and dream of her rich past. Explore 25 acres of history and romance, regret and rebirth, tragedy and triumph. Enjoy a Mint Julep or refreshing lemonade while strolling these historic grounds and see the legacies left by the Romans, the Stewarts and those in between. Step back in antebellum elegance and tour the Big House with a guide in period dress. And witness the reconstructed slave quarters to understand the lives of the workers whose labor made plantation life and its luxuries possible. Visit the Civil War Interpretive Exhibit which consists of a commanding officer's tent, staffed most days by one of our three Civil War interpreters. These interpreters, along with our video kiosk, will allow visitors to understand one of the most crucial periods in this nation's history. Enjoy small group discussions with one of our interpreters who are available to answer your specific questions.Dine with us and savor flavorful Cajun & Creole dishes in our Restaurant or grab a light lunch or ice cream in our Café. Browse our impressive Gift Shop. Spend a tranquil evening in one of our 19th century old cottages. Even plan a wedding, corporate or special event. There is just so much to experience at Oak Alley! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Oak Alley Plantation Hotel Vacherie