The image you may have of New Orleans is that of "laissez les bons temps rouler"... in other words, jazz, fried everything, voodoo, Mardi Gras, endless rounds of cocktails, and Geaux Saints! Well, that's all true, too, which makes it doubly easy to forget that New Orleans boasts its fair share of elegance, luxury and class. On a recent visit to Nola we discovered a place to stay that is a peaceful and elegant oasis, yet situated close enough to all this great city has to offer.
Just walking distance to the French Quarter and all the action and merriment of Bourbon Street is the Windsor Court Hotel. The property is the brainchild of an entrepreneur who was educated in England and developed an interest in the British Royal Family, its lineage and cultural history.
Stepping inside the Windsor Court is like stepping back in time to an age of civility and charm, which is, by the way not at all out of step with the Southern hospitality easily found in the Crescent City. The property, which recently underwent a $22 million renovation, boasts a collection of art valued at approximately $10 million, including an original Gainsborough and a Van Dyck.
The accommodations range from Guest Room to Presidential. We can personally vouch for the Premium Suite, which measures a luxurious 800 square feet in size, with king-size bedroom and separate dressing room and parlor with wet bar divided by French doors. Decorated with a nod to the 19th Century refinement in muted and soothing tones, your suite becomes a haven from the hustle and bustle of the world famous Gulf city.
Health and wellness will be part of your agenda no doubt, if for no other reason than to offset the effects of all your rich, roux-laden entrees and all-hours partying! Book yourself a relaxing treatment such as a deep tissue massage in the spa on Level 4 and follow that with a dip in the heated outdoor pool, which is on the same level.
If you've booked a room on a Club Level, make sure to partake of breakfast at the very decorous Club Lounge or pop in for happy hour and take in the gorgeous views of the city and river before heading out on the town. New Orleans is absolutely bursting with dinner options, including old world and upmarket fine dining restaurants such as Antoine's in the French Quarter (operating since 1840) and the lovely and romantic Arnaud's with its cozy and classic French75 bar, which we can highly recommend. But we're also delighted to report that the restaurant at the Windsor Court Hotel is worth staying in for, especially if you're traveling with that special someone.
The Grill Room presents diners with old world charm and contemporary flair. The food is stunningly presented, from delicate tuna crudo, to bouncy grilled Gulf shrimp, to perfectly seared scallops, to prime rack of lamb. And the cocktails are sublime, mixed as they are by a dextrous Bartender of the Year (we can personally vouch for the deliciousness of the dirty vodka martini!). You can have several more of these in the delightful Lobby Bar where you might also see the lovely and talented Robin Barnes, jazz chanteuse extraordinaire, who has a residence at The Windsor Court and may charm you with a selection from her "Songbird Sessions."
The Windsor Court Hotel is also an easy stroll from all the fabulous shopping at Riverwalk, where perhaps you'll snag a luxe bargain from Coach or Neiman Marcus. And if you're fixing to have a grand old time, deck yourself out in your finery and head to the Garden District and splurge on brunch at the refined yet fun Commander's Palace. Acknowledged by the James Beard Foundation as an outstanding restaurant, and an enduring favorite with locals, particularly for special occasions, this is the place to let the good times roll!