BIG THE EASY IS BACK
has recently seen a of new offerings but the city shows no sign of authenticity
NEW ORLEANS SLEW COOL OPEN THEIR DOORS – LOSING ITS
Renowned as the birthplace of jazz and distinctive Caribbeanmeets-the-South style, New Orleans has never needed trendy hot spots to attract travellers. If anything, the trendy spots needed New Orleans. Yes, there are hip hotels and artisanal coffee shops, but there are also stalwart jazz clubs, graveyard tours and dingy dive bars. In New Orleans, Louisiana (or NOLA for short), you can have both your craft coffee and your authentic jazz experience – with a side of cheap beer to boot.
Henry Howard Hotel A glimmering white townhouse with an ornate facade and a big ol’ porch, it’s likely this would be your fantasy hotel when visiting the South. Henry Howard Hotel is located in the peaceful, historic Garden District and boasts 18 classic rooms decorated with antique pieces as well as a beautifully restored parlour that’s perfect for a bourbon-fuelled afternoon. henryhowardhotel.com Catahoula Hotel It’s hard to believe a business district could be home to such a cool boutique hotel. Positioned among big corporate buildings, the Catahoula Hotel is a brightly renovated Creole townhouse that dates back to 1845, with 35 simple, stylish, unfussy rooms, a rooftop terrace and a pisco bar. catahoulahotel.com Ace Hotel Occupying a restored Art Deco building, the Ace Hotel’s entrance is flanked by lush plants – a sure sign that it is an oasis in the city. Inside, there are 234 rooms designed by famed New York decorators Roman and Williams, a lobby bar dotted with vintage furniture and rugs, and an adjoining coffee shop, Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The adjacent hotel restaurant, Josephine Estelle, serves excellent Italian-meetsNOLA dishes and the rooftop (with a pool and bar) offers 360-degree views over the city. The clincher is Three Keys, an intimate events space that showcases live music. acehotel.com/neworleans
Willa Jean There are a number of foods you shouldn’t leave NOLA without eating, and biscuits ( baked goods that are basically like large scones) are among them. Local favourite Willa Jean is so serious about biscuits, it has an entire menu section dedicated to them. The modern Southern restaurant does breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the most unforgettable meal is weekend brunch, which has a menu peppered with comfort food such as crawfish and grits, BBQ shrimp, cornbread, fried chicken – and biscuits, of course. willajean.com Caribbean Room at Pontchartrain Hotel It’s unlikely you’ll find an eatery that oozes more charm than the Caribbean Room by acclaimed chefs John Besh and Chris Lusk. As a tribute to the previous restaurant that was once a NOLA landmark, the dress code at this elegant Creole restaurant is formal, and gents are expected to wear dinner jackets. The dining room has a fine-diningmeets-country-club feel, complete with rattan furniture, hanging plants and palmprinted carpets. thecaribbeanroom.com Seaworthy A collaboration between Ace Hotel and New York’s Grand Banks (a floating oyster bar on the Hudson River), Seaworthy was bound to be a success. While the setting is old – it’s housed in a 19th-century Creole cottage – the stylish interior and refined food are anything but. Downstairs you’ll find a raw bar that shakes up craft cocktails and offers daily oyster specials.