FINALLY, HURRICANE KATRINA HAS GIVEN PARTIAL WAY TO "HURRICANE" DRINKS. In other words, New Orleans is back to its old ways, playing both outlandish and outstanding host to events ranging from anything-goes Mardi Gras to soothing, toe-tapping JazzFest.
Ahead, we look at the hotels big and small that will remind you that times are no longer so tough in the Big Easy and also highlight top events to help you schedule your next bayou getaway.
Originally a rice warehouse and converted to living quarters in the early 1900s, Bienville House is an intimate hotel with balcony views of the courtyard and French Quarter; it's also just a stone's throw from the House of Blues. Not surprisingly, Bienville guests have ranged from classic Judy Garland to alternative rock band the Foo Fighters.
The sundecks on the top floor make way for a walk-out share. The Iberville is the most recommended room, featuring marble granite, double sinks, Jacuzzi and a glass shower walk-in parlor area. Their multimillion-dollar renovation just finished up this November and is led by the Gamay Bistro specializing in crawfish spring rolls and Asian barbeque shrimp. Contact General manager Steve Caputo at 504-509-2345 or [email protected]
Renaissance Peri Marquette
As you walk down a side street called Common, you quickly find a bright marquee sign for a hotel that's anything but. Naming its floors after jazz greats, the Renaissance Peri Marquette is normally more boisterous but has a quiet, intimate feel as it continues renovations.
Club Level rooms give the guest exclusivity to a private floor but generously sized bathrooms with marble floors, along with lumbar-favored Herman Miller Aeron desk chairs are found in most of their rooms (though you will have to leave the pets at home). Rene's bistro is led by the husband-wife chef team of Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing, serving pig's cheek and langoustines as the signature. Contact General Manager Frank Zumbo at 504-522-1111 or [email protected] hotels.com.
This higher-end version of the Marriott features deluxe Corner Kings, along with seven suites, the bilevel ones featuring Jacuzzi tubs. Ile de France Grand Ballroom provides a meeting space of 6,160 square feet, among 20 total meeting rooms. There are 96 connecting rooms for families in the hotel overall. Events to Consider
Shula's Steak House will serve your fill of filet mignon when you need a night off from gumbo and shrimp of the jumbo variety. Their "kNOwLA Wednesdays" provide a weekly opportunity for the lobby lounge to be transformed into an evening that varies from live music and local artists displaying their work to elegant wine tastings. Contact General Manager Ted Selogie at 504-527-6500 or [email protected]
Sheraton New Orleans
Enter this property and in just a few feet you'll have a view of a vast wishing fountain where you can sip your daily Starbucks, which is featured directly across the way. The 49-story Sheraton full dining rooms in all suites, featuring Bose sound systems. You can even bring man's best friend: The hotel offers dogs beds, bowls, treats and a map of destinations for where Rover might wish to rove.
Roux Bistro boasts its black-and-red fish po' boy and private tastings for special clients. And, if you have marriage on the mind, look no further than the Armstrong ballroom and its three stories of glass windows that overlook the might Mississippi under a glass skylight roof. Contact General Manager Bill McCreary at 504-595-5521 or [email protected]