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When a sign in the elevator warns you of a poltergeist problem, you know you’ve checked in to a hotel with a story to tell. The Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery started its life as a 19th-century warehouse that served the port of New Orleans. Fast forward 150 years and the industrial building has been transformed into a cool but cosy retreat in the heart of NOLA’s Arts District – close enough to Bourbon Street to stumble home after dark, but far enough that you won’t have to share the walk with inebriated hen parties.
Plenty of evidence of the warehouse’s original purpose remains, with exposed-brick walls, polished concrete and original timber beams considerately placed throughout the building. On the walls, eye-catching artwork by local artists shows off the city’s thriving creative scene. But what will win you over isn’t the stylish decor or the excellent location; it’s the lively Southern charm you’ll be welcomed with the minute ya’ll walk through the door.
New Orleans is a city of excess, so it makes sense that the rooms at one the city’s most lauded hotels are excessively large – you’ll find plenty of room to party or relax around the king-sized beds with their chic upholstered headboards and copper lamps. Brick walls and polished wooden floorboards continue the hotel’s industrial-chic aesthetic, while tongue-in-cheek “do not disturb” signs hint that you’re here for a good time not a long time.
What’s for breakfast?
Duck down to breakfast bar Tout La (or order to the room if you made some questionable decisions the night before) for light plates like chia-seed puddings with fresh fruit and smashed avocado on toast, plus a barista-made latte that will hopefully quash any lingering headache.
How about lunch and dinner?
Book a table at the talk-of-the-town Compére Lapin, where chef Nina Compton creates dishes drawing on her Caribbean childhood, classical French training and much-loved Italian fare. The result is an inventive menu that serves up everything from aubergine ravioli with ricotta salata to a cornmeal-crusted catfish sandwich with chips, all against the backdrop of a stylish eatery and bar.
Is there a bar?
Definitely leave at least one evening free to sample a Copper Bunny down at Compére Lapin – the bar’s signature drink is worth staying in for, with pineapple jalapeno tequila, vodka, ginger, lime and champagne served up in a shiny copper bunny. There are also plenty of less flashy drinks if you prefer to fly under the radar, including several pages worth of craft spirits and beers.
If your trousers are feeling a bit tight having sampled too many beignets at Café Du Monde during your stay, there is a gym on the ground floor. Alternatively, make use of the Bluetooth speaker and all that space in your room to throw an impromptu dance party.
Things you should know
The hotel is pet friendly and will provide your furry travel companion with their own bed, food and water bowl. Meanwhile, creative types should book into the Artist Loft Suite, which is filled with pieces curated by several of New Orleans’ most-coveted artists.
Within a short walk you can find…
New Orleans’s buzzing French Quarter is just a 10-minute walk away, so you won’t have to go far to find some nightlife. For activities that involve less whiskey and more marvelling at impressive architecture and spooky cemeteries, hop on a street car and head in the other direction to the nearby Garden District.
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