This was our first trip to NOLA and we couldn't have picked a better place to stay for our three night vacation!! We were there to celebrate Valentine's, my 40th b-day, and of course Mardi Gras! We are not the hugest party people on the planet but we do like the adage.."when in Rome..." so this is a great way to get a good taste of the Bourbon St. experience- somehow even though it appears to only be a block or so into the Quarter, it sure seems to be in the thick of it all come night time!! ;-) It's also close enough to Canal that you can easily walk to the parades and to the Cable car stops for Canal and for St. Charles which is what we did- the oldest continuously running one there or something like that! $3 a piece to ride it all day long! We took that to see Lafayette Cemetery right across the street from Commander's Palace Restaurant, but beware...it closes at 2:30pm!!! WHAT a strange time...didn't check as we figured surely we'd at least have until 3pm...C'est la vie! Got pics of the gate and of inside from there then went to the one I really wanted to see- St. Louis #1 the next am. We chose to go alone as opposed to a tour and since I'm a photo buff and really wanted to soak it all in I was pleased with our choice. We did fit in a Ghost tour with the one that meets at Flannagan's pub (can't find card right now) and couldn't have been better!! Perfect mix of spooky but all real so lots of history! The weather was also made to order that night...rainy and Foggy!! haha
This was such a convenient town to get around in, I've got to say! I'm "disabled" and usually have some trouble with tons of walking, but I was somehow able to walk from our hotel to St. Louis cemetery #1 which is just about to the end of the Quarter on the north side all the way to Decatur and Jackson Square as well as the waterfront...You'll have to excuse my complete lack of punctuation here...SO much to squeeze in! Kind of like the Big Easy!! We fell in love and can't wait to go back! Somehow we managed to fit in quite a bit...I did tons of reading and read lots of reviews prior to going and people did not steer me wrong- so I'm finally taking the time to return the favor for once! ;-) One of my favorite surprises with the hotel was that the cafe that I wanted to have breakfast at to have Beignets (in the Music Legends Park) was DIRECTLY across the street from the Royal Sonesta!! Yippe AND Yummee!! I can see what the hype is about but was satisfied enough that I didn't feel the need to cram some in from Cafe Du Monde as we walked by. Such a better place to enjoy them however...outdoor garden setting and live music (also have a bar and other food!)!! Can I add that I'm surprised at the fact that despite being covered in powdered sugar, they are truly not that sweet! I found myself trying to get more of the sugar on my bite as otherwise it's just a plain donut like taste...VERY good however- they weren't greasy in the least, but not too "cakey", and believe it or not, they were even good at like 2am cold in my room that night! hahaha
Well, I'll stop to keep this more of a review for the hotel- just excited...we just got back! If you have ANY reservations, don't!! I can't understand the complaints people had about room size and noise... granted we were on the side facing Bienville St. but you really have NO business staying in the French Quarter ON Bourbon St. especially during Carnival if you are worried about people be loud and noisy....just saying ;-) haha To me, however, it seemed that the noise was almost shut out as soon as we'd get in the front door/lobby! Speaking of, the hotel was just immaculate and stunning! There were gorgeous tasteful Mardi Gras decorations all over, stunning floral arrangements, beautiful antiques and artwork...there is a small little coffee shop inside just off the lobby, as well as a great looking jazz club- we wanted to go there but were so busy and the one chance we had, there was a $15 cover (not sure what they would charge their own patrons) and we wanted to spend a little time at a lot of places- not one. There is a courtyard just off the lobby as well that is so amazing that it took us some time just to explore it and ALL of the gorgeous plants...orchids in the trees with roots hanging in the air, and tropical plants so perfect it was hard to believe they were real!! Had nice little tables with Umbrellas out there as well. We never did even look for the pool or the "inner" courtyard, and I need to look that up come to think of it, as the button on the elevator said floor 3 for the pool... Our room was MAYBE on the smaller side...but ONLY in comparison to the huge ones that are now the norm in big chain hotels. You must keep in mind, this is an OLD hotel in the Quarter- space is at a premium, yet we had a nice sized room with a King sized pillowtop super comfy bed (don't get me started on those pillows...;-) a huge TV with actual good picture, plenty of room to unpack, and a bathroom that had been updated with great taste! Granite, tile, the works! Even had two nice bathrobes on the back of the door! We stay at very nice hotels and we were thrilled!! Superbly clean!! It was really the perfect mix of old and new...
Anyway, just can't say enough! Thanks so much to all of the staff- we found everyone to be so nice...the ?bellman on the first night who helped us out of the van was full of advice and help and yet took off before we could even think to get a tip out for him- it wasn't like some places where they grab your stuff before asking then linger with their hands out... He was also there when we left later and hailed us a cab to head over to a formal dinner/dance at the WWII museum for Valentine's... and even though I'd been given a rose by the girl at the front dest at check-in, he asked us to hang on one minute and came running back to the cab with another rose for me...SO sweet! We never did see him again to thank him but all were so nice!! They will by the way, check to make sure you are a guest at night since many probably do wander in off the street in search of bathrooms, etc...so good security.
Have Fun..BOOK IT!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Royal Sonesta New Orleans is the most Authentic French Quarter Experience located on world famous Bourbon Street, within steps of world-famous restaurants, antique shops, and premier tourist attractions. A landmark in New Orleans since 1969, its atmosphere reflects a strong European influence and Southern charm, with its elegant marbled lobby, tranquil fountains and sparkling chandeliers. The 483 room hotel including 36 suites features a secluded tropical courtyard, a beautifully landscaped outdoor pool, fitness center and five unique restaurants and lounges. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sonesta Hotel New Orleans
- New Orleans Royal Sonesta
- New Orleans Sonesta Hotel
- Sonesta New Orleans
- Royal Sonesta Hotel