Reopening after a renovation in early 2016, Royal Sonesta New Orleans is a sort of all-in-one New Orleans experience. Unmistakably southern, the property has traditional gabled windows, wrought iron balconies and a lush courtyard.
Jazz and food are the hallmarks of New Orleans and Royal Sonesta has plenty of both. Restaurant R’evolution is for those who want creative reimaginings of Cajun and Creole classics, while those who want to sample the classics in their original format first can head to Desire Oyster Bar where shrimp and grits and po’boys await. As the name suggests, Desire also has a raw oyster bar where plump gulf oysters are shucked and eaten by the hundred every night during oyster season. Evenings at Royal Sonesta often end with a stop at the Jazz Playhouse where notable names from the New Orleans jazz scene can often be found.
FAT TUESDAY IN THE BIG EASY
New Orleans is and will always be inextricably linked with Mardi Gras, and it is an experience not to be missed. However, carnival season in New Orleans starts at Epiphany, which in 2019 is January 6, and leads up to Mardi Gras on Tuesday March 5, so there is plenty of time to experience the colorful parades through the streets that New Orleans is known for. In fact, the season kicks off with the Phunny Phorty Phellows annual ride on the St. Charles Streetcar on January 6. That celebration sees historical characters in medieval dress parading through the French Quarter.
THE GARDEN DISCTRICT
New Orleans is much more than Bourbon Street, so hop on a streetcar and head uptown to see a different side of the city. Trundle along in a streetcar and admire the beautiful and historic homes in the Garden District and Carrollton. Step off and wander under the canopy of oak trees and browse in the shops and restaurants on Oak, Maple, Freret and Magazine.
Royal Sonesta has 483 newly renovated guest rooms plus 36 suites. An executive lounge with complimentary food and drinks can be a good way to jump-start your stay in one of the USA’s party capitals.
TRAVEL IN STYLE
Anything goes in New Orleans, but that works both ways, however, nobody has ever been accused of being overdressed in the Big Easy.
WHAT WE LOVE
- Location, location, location. Being so centrally located is a real bonus, particularly if you want to take a break and a dip in the pool to cool off.
- Having a jazz bar in the building that brings in notable names cannot be overestimated, particularly as visiting a jazz club should be your itinerary anyway.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport currently hosts 16 airlines and serves 54 nonstop destinations with approximately 150 daily departures making it accessible from pretty much every corner of the continental US. International destinations are few and far between with just two destinations in Europe (London and Frankfurt) and no direct flights to Asia; lots of connections in California, however, make Asia just one transfer away.
- New Orleans is a food lovers’ paradise, but most of it is for the faint hearted or at least the diet restricted. Mix up your eating with some experiences and you will be fine. Must try foods include beignets, po’ boys, muffalettas, and oysters. The New Orleans classic sazerac cocktail is also de rigueur.
WHEN YOU SHOULD GO
The best time to visit New Orleans depends on what you want. Favorable weather and carnivals come together in spring (February – May to be specific), but that also coincides with high occupancy rates and even higher prices.
New Orleans is busy throughout the year, but they still have high and low seasons. Low season prices start as low as US$139 a night, while rates climb in the lead up to Mardi Gras to around US$429 a night. High seasons rates can be as much as US$649 a night.