New Orleans

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Long seen as the “most unique” of US cities, New Orleans, gatekeeper to the mighty Mississippi, has many claims to fame over the centuries; as a French trading settlement, as an important Civil War battleground, as the birthplace of jazz and now as the place to experience the heritage and cultural baggage amassed by this major port and melting pot. The best places to stay in New Orleans (pronounced “Orlins” by the way, not “Orleens” or “Orleyans”) are the places that share a bit of the spirit of independence and the stubborn refusal to become just another southern American city.

Citizens of this extraordinary mini-metropolis (population 350,000) are fiercely proud of their own traditions and institutions, and they share a sense of solidarity that was heightened after the disaster of 2005 when the city’s flood defences failed after Hurricane Katrina.

Since then, billions of dollars of federal aid have helped rebuild some of the worst-affected areas, the benefits of which spread to a general facelift for some of the city’s more down-at-heel neighbourhoods.

Most visitors come to New Orleans for the atmosphere. This is most concentrated in the celebrated French Quarter, where the balconied, colourful buildings are unlike anything to be found elsewhere in the US.

From a conservation point of view New Orleans has had good luck: it was spared the devastation of many Southern Cities in the Civil War, leaving a stronger legacy of French-era buildings. Also its soft soil made it unsuitable for high rise building, giving it a more horizontal skyline than most American cities.

Tucking into jumabalaya or gumbo, hanging around the restaurants, bars and jazz clubs on Bourbon Street, visiting the uniquely characterful New Orleans-style graveyards with their above-ground tombs, or watching the spectacular Mardi Gras parade in February, there is something about this delightfully defiant, storm-battered city that you can’t get out of your system.

The Hotel Guru's pick of the best places to stay in New Orleans are popular spots, so if you're planning to visit during the Mardi Gras or similarly busy period, you'll have to get organised and book well ahead.

Best places to stay in New Orleans

For jazz-loving night owls

  • Soniat House is an extremely elegant boutique conversion of a former plantation owner’s townhouse in the heart of the French Quarter. Very tastefully decorated in the 19th century French fashion, and a short walk from the heart of the city’s bustling night-time economy.
  • At Hotel Le Marais you can experience appropriately Gallic flavour round the corner from Bourbon Street. A relaxing oasis of calm in the midst of the hustle and bustle, with outdoor pool and terrace to recover from the late nights.
  • International House Hotel is also in a prime French Quarter location. It boasts a buzzy in-house bar and the best of New Orleans nightlife on the doorstep.
  • Fleur de Lis Mansion is not in the French Quarter, but oozes with party vibes, and offers a complimentary wine hour every night between 6 and 7pm. There's a 12 man hot tub in the courtyard and you can rent the whole place for a holiday to remember.

For budget travellers

  • Off the beaten track and competitively priced, the Lookout Inn has plenty of character, with “themed” rooms (Elvis, Bollywood etc.) injecting an element of fun. Good transport links and close to Crescent park.
  • Something of a New Orleans institution, Balcony Guest House (a family-run guest house with a wrap-around balcony), has plenty of character, and offers a warm welcome. Nice décor and great location close to the Mississippi, and a reasonable price.
  • Bienville House is a gorgeous property in the French Quarter. The style is traditional and elegant and rooms start from just $119 per night B&B.

For contemporary style

  • Formerly a dry store warehouse, Loft 523 offers spacious, light and airy public spaces. Bedrooms are minimalist in feel with plenty of exposed wood and vast Italian designer bathrooms. It's a very stylish spot.
  • Another contemporary choice is the W New Orleans. Ws are renowned for their design touches, and the W New Orleans does not disappoint. Here there's sleek interiors and state of the art technology in every room, and studio suites come with a private couryard and your very own hot tub.

For a B&B

  • Audubon Cottages offer luxury cottage accommodation wtih complimentary daily breakfast in a fantastic French Quarter location. Plus they claim to have the area's oldest swimming pool - the perfect place to relax after a busy day in the city.
  • Jazz Quarters is a homely B&B in the heart of the French Quarter, Interiors are traditional in style, breakfasts are legendary and you're just across the road from Louis Armstrong Park.
  • Ashton's B&B is a period property in the Esplanade Ridge Historic District - all high ceilings and chandeliers. The eight spacious bedrooms are individually decorated and the breakfast will set you up for the day!

Still not decided? Browse through our list of the best places to stay in New Orleans, widen the net and check out all our Louisiana recommendations, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in New Orleans

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  • Lookout Inn

    New Orleans (Louisiana)

    Townhouse located in the Bywater District of New Orleans has a saltwater pool, hot tub and BBQ for all guests. Rooms are unique and spacious with private bathrooms. Kitchen facilities available for all, and restaurants and bars are part of the districts make up. A home away from home, great spot.

    4 rooms from $99
    Great walks  -  A great stroll is to Jackson Square.
    Sights nearby  -  Crescent Park is nearby.
    Restrictions on children
    Full of character
  • Bienville House

    New Orleans

    A traditional, charming hotel in the heart of New Orleans' French quarter. Elegant pool, lavish rooms, Old World decor, four-poster beds, terraces, and hand-painted murals. Has the delicacy and character of a centuries old French Manor house. A glamourous spot in a top location.

    83 rooms from $119
    Local exploring  -  Explore the Audubon Zoo, Bourbon Street, Harrah's Casino, or Frenchman Street - all on your doorstep
    Romantic  -  Elegant iron balconies, gracious courtyard, decorative chandeliers...
    Outstanding location
    Sights nearby  -  Entergy IMAX Theatre, Audubon Zoo, St. Louis Cathedral, and more
  • Balcony Guest House

    New Orleans (2483 Royal St)

    Boutique guesthouse 10 minute walk from Washington Square. Room decor is French New Orleans style and all have access to a wraparound balcony. Wifi and private bathrooms for all, with close proximity to the great Mississippi river. A comfortable spot for local exploring and great value.

    5 rooms from $130
    Sights nearby  -  The proximity to the oldest part of town, the French Quarter, also makes it a great location.
    Great walks  -  Just a stones throw away from the Mississippi River.
    Full of character
  • Fleur de Lis Mansion

    New Orleans (1216 Annunciation Street)

    Stylish 1824 townhouse in the Garden District, a prime location. Home away from home with nine elegant and individually decorated rooms. A Landscaped patio area includes a bubbling hot tub and BBQ, perfect for relaxing. There is a fully equipped kitchen or explore the restaurants in the area.

    9 rooms from $150
    Sights nearby  -  Near the Orlean's Convention Centre, French Quarter and Warehouse District!
    Restrictions on children  -  Adults only.
    Private Hot Tub
  • Loft 523

    New Orleans (Louisiana)

    Formerly a dry store warehouse this minimalist contemporary hotel offers a bar, spa and notably vast spaces. The Lofts are light, luxurious with Italian designer bathrooms and Aveda soaps. The in house bar is buzzy and location is perfect for restaurants, New Orleans music scene and exploring.

    18 rooms from $160
    Sights nearby  -  Nearby, the historical French Quarter.
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • Hotel Le Marais

    New Orleans (Louisiana)

    Modern and centrally located in the historical French quarter, this chic boutique property offers comfortable, contemporary rooms as well as a pool and fitness centre. Vive! Bar boasts a good wine list and signature cocktails. Perfect location both for New Orleans nightlife and sight seeing.

    66 rooms from $185
    Sights nearby  -  Jackson Square and many other sights make up New Orleans city.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
  • Jazz Quarters

    New Orleans (Louisiana)

    Heart of New Orleans in the French Quarter this B&B has a garden, wooden floors and fireplaces. Comfortable and homely rooms. Restaurants are within walking distance. French Quarter offering much in the way of New Orleans history, culture and live music. The cityscape is vast, happy exploring.

    10 rooms from $189
    Sights nearby  -  Louis Armstrong Park and Congo Square on the river.
    Full of character
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
  • Ashton's B&B

    New Orleans (Louisiana)

    Eight unique, antique furnished rooms in the Esplanade Ridge Historic District. The rooms are spacious with historical detailing and bathrooms. The gourmet breakfast is the perfect start for a day of exploring. Only nine blocks from the French Quarter and multiple other historical sights.

    8 rooms from $209
    Local markets  -  French Market is worth a visit.
    Sights nearby  -  Jackson Square is close by.
    Full of character
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
  • International House Hotel

    New Orleans (Louisiana)

    Centrally located near the French Quarter, this hotel offers a spa break as well as a lively sport to explore the city. Rooms are modern and spacious, with all the mod-cons. A buzzy bar in-house and a wide range of restaurants at the doorstep. Louisiana Maritime Museum is one for all the family.

    117 rooms from $230
    Great walks  -  Jackson Square and City Park are both worth a stroll through.
    Sights nearby  -  Louisiana Maritime Museum is 250 metres away from the hotel.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Full of character
  • Soniat House

    New Orleans

    Peaceful and atmospheric, these historic townhouses in the French Quarter offer quiet seclusion, elegant interior design, quite leafy courtyards, and southern charm.

    30 rooms from $244
    Local exploring  -  In the French Quarter, close to the National World War II Museum, the Audubon Aquarium and the New Orleans World Trade Centre
    Full of character
    Restrictions on children  -  Children over the age of 10 are welcome at the hotel
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith, Small Luxury Hotels
  • Windsor Court Hotel

    New Orleans

    Top New Orleans luxury hotel offers southern hospitality, spa and rooftop pool, and a great art collection. Light, airy rooms decorated in the English style, top notch service.

    316 rooms from $259
    Cooking classes  -  Food lovers and historians should head to Southern Food & Beverage Museum to learn about Southern cuisine.
    Sights nearby  -  Tours galore - from boat to walking, plantation to city - be sure to catch one of them.
  • Hotel Monteleone

    New Orleans (Louisiana)

    Family owned 1886 traditional hotel in heart of French Quarter welcomes guests with marble floors, glittering chandeliers and a chiming grandfather clock. Large, comfortable rooms with all the mod-cons. Carousel Bar revolves every 15 minutes and a popular spot in town. Perfect for local adventures.

    570 rooms from $299
    Sights nearby  -  St Louis Cathedral is an 18th Century architectural beauty.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
  • Audubon Cottages

    New Orleans (Louisiana)

    This private, quiet spot allows one to enjoy New Orleans. Rooms are contemporary and airy and come with a continental breakfast. In-room spa treatments, a saltwater pool and a fitness centre are also available. In the heart of the French Quarter, perfect spot for restaurants, jazz and history.

    7 rooms from $299
    Great walks  -  City Park and Jackson Square are both worth a stroll through.
    Sights nearby  -  New Orleans Jazz Museum is 150 metres away.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • W New Orleans

    New Orleans (Louisiana)

    Modern, downtown hotel near to Jackson Square and Riverwalk offers an outdoor pool and on site restaurant. Rooms have it all in the way of electricals, are luxuriously spacious and modern. Fine dining at Sobou, relaxing by the pool with a book from the library or exploring the city in close reach.

    98 rooms from $335
    Great walks  -  With Jackson Square just around the corner.
    Sights nearby  -  New Orleans Jazz Museum is just 200m away.
    Private Hot Tub
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