When strolling down Orleans Street in the French Quarter, you may notice an unassuming yet masterfully restored French Quarter complex, marked by a hunter green sign bearing the name “Bourbon Orleans Hotel.” What you may not notice from the elegant exterior is the hotel’s high-end accommodations and amenities, rave reviews, and rich history.
The Bourbon Orleans Hotel, located steps away from Bourbon and Royal Streets and adjacent to the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, houses 218 upscale units in addition to a fitness center and private French Quarter courtyard that contains a heated saltwater pool. The hotel boasts three types of rooms – Traditional, Vieux Carre, and Petite Balcony – as well as two-floor suites which include a queen bed and spacious downstairs living area. All rooms come with a 42-inch flat-screen television, complimentary high-speed Internet access (both wired and wireless), in-room dining options, and granite countertops in the bathroom. Most of the suites and all Petite Balcony rooms even come with private balconies from which you can relax as you take in the French Quarter.
In addition to the luxurious lodgings, all guests have access to valet parking, concierge services, and laundry services. For guests looking to escape the daily stresses of their lives, in-room spa services are offered by Le Jardin Spa and include facials, massages, hand and foot treatments, and more! If you’re feeling the familiar pangs of hunger, you can visit Roux on Orleans, the hotel’s contemporary Creole restaurant, or the Bourbon “O” Bar for a drink and live piano music. Businesspeople need not worry, either, as the Bourbon Orleans offers audio and visual equipment rentals, express mail, and workspace in each of the rooms and suites. Those looking to house events have a number of venue options – the famous Orleans ballroom, St. Ann Cottages, St. Mary Salons, St. Joseph Salons, and courtyard. Moreover, the hotel offers wedding packages that include not only the venue, but a professional wedding coordinator, complimentary bridal suite, private attendant during the reception, and special rates for wedding guests as well. The Bourbon Orleans truly has something for everyone, and if the lavish features listed above aren’t enough to convince you to book a room, the photo gallery at the hotel’s website is sure to impress.
Though now it’s a hotel, the three-building complex began with just the Orleans ballroom: John Davis’s 1817 contribution to the NOLA social scene. In 1827, the ballroom became the state and house legislative meeting place, and it’s rumored that Andrew Jackson first announced his presidential candidacy here. The success of the ballroom led Davis to construct the Orleans Theater, which became an established venue responsible for introducing French opera to the New Orleans population. After the war destroyed the city’s high society, the Sisters of the Holy Family acquired the theater and ballroom in 1881 for use as a school and convent. The buildings remained as such for 83 years before the sisters sold them to hotel interests. In addition to its deep historical roots within the New Orleans community, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel ranks as one of the area’s most haunted hotels. Some of the rumored ghostly inhabitants include a confederate soldier who marches along the third and sixth floors, a dancer who frequents the Orleans ballroom, an elderly cigar-smoker in the lobby, and various children and nuns said to have succumbed to the yellow fever epidemic.
The hotel’s Orleans ballroom will be the site of a plethora of events this summer. Coming up on the 23rd of June is the FestiGal’s Saints and Sinners Drag Queen Brunch from 10:00am to 12:00pm. As they say on the event page: “Girls will be girls, and well, boys will be girls too! Enjoy brunch with some of Bourbon Street's most entertaining entertainers...guys who look better as girls than they do as guys!” For $49 a person, you’ll receive a complimentary glass of champagne or mimosa and have access to a delectable selection of New Orleans food, including chicken and Andouille gumbo, sage sausage links, French pastries, and bread pudding with rum sauce. It’s guaranteed to be a blast! To reserve your spot, call (504)-571-4672 or send an email to Judy.LeBlanc@bourbonorleans.com.