BIG THE EASY IS BACK

has re­cently seen a of new of­fer­ings but the city shows no sign of au­then­tic­ity

House and Leisure (South Africa) - - Leisure Travel - TEXT MARY HOL­LAND PHOTOGRAPHS SUP­PLIED

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.

SLEEP

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

EAT

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.

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