If ever there was a city for indulging one’s vices, it would be New Orleans. A town built on pleasure, it’s an epicentre of jazz, classic cocktails, Sunday brunch, and countless other hedonistic pursuits. Days here are as languid as the sound of a local drawling out the word “N’Awlins,” from the first milk punch of the morning at Brennan’s (a classic French Quarter spot) through steamy afternoons of spiked lemonade under shady live oaks onto nights spurred on by music and Sazeracs. It’s a heady place, and sometimes, its decadence starts to feel like too much of a good thing. Should Bourbon Street leave you seeking a change in pace, take a 10-minute walk southwest into the city’s quieter—but emerging—Warehouse District, and check yourself into the Ace Hotel New Orleans, which opened last year.
Since the first Ace Hotel opened nearly 20 years ago in a converted former halfway house in Seattle, the group has built a mini-empire creating properties that consistently become destinations in their own right though a careful cultivation of local music and culture, design, and food and drink. In a city like Nola, though, this might seem redundant. Who wants to stay in when there’s so much to see and do? Well, step onto the original Terrazzo floors of the Ace Hotel New Orleans’s Southern Gothic-inspired lobby and all those ambitious goals for exploring fly right out the oversized windows that look onto the trolley tracks of Carondelet Street. And that’s just fine.
Sink into an antique tufted leather couch, order a Sidewalk Daiquiri made with cold brew from adjacent Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and settle in. A self-serve popcorn machine and free concerts at Three Keys, a venue just off the lobby, do little to counter inertia. It’s worth rousing yourself, however, for the nine-floor elevator ride up to the roof, where you’ll find a plunge pool and leafy garden-party vibe, complete with twinkle lights and grown-up slushies (the Summer Daze, with honeysuckle vodka, coconut, lemon, and orange bitters will give you the most enjoyable brain freeze of your life).
Josephine Estelle is the hotel’s flagship restaurant, serving modern Italian by James Beard Award-nominated Tennessean chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman. But if it’s an atmospheric New Orleans vibe you’re after, head a couple of doors down to Seaworthy, the Ace’s second restaurant. Located in a Creole cottage that dates back to 1832, the restaurant offers a menu by Kerry Heffernan, the opening chef at Eleven Madison Park and creator of the Shake Shack burger (while oysters and other seafood are the draw, do try to fit in a burger), and chilled rosé on tap.
Back at the Ace Hotel New Orleans, rooms are large, dark, and designed for minimalist functionality. That said, in this beverage-driven city the minibar is among the best—rooms are stocked with two types of Miro vermouth, Olmeca Altos Plata tequila, and a retro Smeg fridge full of Stiegl radlers, Nola Rebirth pale ale, and other thoughtful offerings.
600 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA 70130 504-900-1180
Never miss a story, sign up for NUVO’s weekly newsletter, here.