The Hotel Monteleone is a classic, New Orleans hotel, perfectly situated in the French Quarter. The rooms were of good size and the king bed was actually a king bed; (we measured it!) Too often hotels list rooms with king sized beds but you get the feeling that it is really a queen plus. This bed was the real deal; the mattress a little too soft for my liking, but it did not prevent me from sleeping well.
The service was pure southern hospitality (even though a lot of the lobby staff seemed to be from Eastern Europe). The housekeeping staff was great. The room was made up perfectly and even items that were left strewn about were neatly folded and placed on a chair. Even the toiletries in the bathroom were laid out on a towel and aligned perfectly.
The Carousel Bar was definitely a highlight. The seating area around the bar actually rotates 360 degrees every 15 minutes. You don't even realize that you're moving. On top of this, the bartenders were spot on, no matter what drink you ordered. And although the prices were hotel high, you did get what you paid for.
O.K. That was the good news...now for a little of the bad. We stayed at the Monteleone from October 24th and checked out on the 29th, 2011. I can't review the restaurants since they were all closed for renovation. In itself, this wasn't so bad as you got to experience a lot of the local fare in the Quarter. The problem was; noise, Noise, NOISE. Our room was on the 15th floor (highest room floor) and every morning, just about 7:00AM, the hammering and drilling started. We ended up complaining every morning and the noise was quickly shut down, but the damage was done. Yes, we did receive free drink coupons every day, but a little more sleep would have been more appreciated. So, if you're expecting a quiet room, do yourself a favor; either skip the Monteleone until after renovations are completed, or I would suggest a lower floor. Since we really liked the Hotel, go for the lower floor and enjoy the experience.
Ordinarily, this would be the end of the review. However, I'm a little too lazy to do separate reviews and I wanted to give people an idea of the great restaurants, shopping, etc. we were able to enjoy while in town.
The French Quarter - This section of New Orleans has everything you could possible hope for in one location. Bring soft shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking. Royal Street is loaded with antique shops and art galleries. You can literally spend an entire afternoon just walking up and down Royal Street. ****Beware - Stores open at their leisure and except for the tacky tourist shops, most do not open their doors before 10:30AM and close by 6:00PM. The Art Galleries are loaded with local artists, some of which are really talented. I have never seen a greater collection of 'weird' or 'voodoo' art in my life. Really cool! The Antique Shops are, well, antiquie. If you're into that, I'm sure you'll enjoy them.
Bourbon Street - I guess that your level of appreciation is directly correlated to your age. This street runs for about 5 blocks and is pretty much where all the action is at night. There are 4 types of establishments that occupy Bourbon; Restaurants, Bars, Tourist Shops and Strip Clubs. It is also one of the few places I have ever been where they advertise 'Drinks to Go'. It is legal to walk down the Street, getting plastered. I guess that's why the Strip Clubs are doing so well. My Wife and I enjoyed Bourbon Street for, I guess, around 1 1/2 blocks. We both had headaches by the time we turned off the Street. Not that I didn't like the music; the problem being that every other place had live music and it kept rolling around in your brain. The better thing to do is to pick out one place and park your tush there for awhile to really enjoy the sounds. Other than that, watching people stumbling down the street with drinks in both hands was not exactly eye-pleasing. And some of the women hawking the strip clubs?; I've seen better T&A at Wallmart!
Restaurants - Here is where the French Quarter really shines. Be prepared to spend some hard cash, but the food is out of this world. *****Note***** There are some lesser priced restaurants in the area, but you really have to search them out. I'm listing below the ones we ate in and the cost for 2 people. ***Also beware that their tax is outrageous; bordering on 10%.
Felix's Restaurant - Forget Acme's. That's the place all the tourists go to.There are always long lines at Acme's and the prices are high!!!! Felix's is directly across the street (739 Iberville St.) and has absolutely the best oysters around. Well, I shouldn't say that since everyone's oysters come from the same place. But get this.. A dozen of these beauties at Acme's will cost close to 15$; at Felix's, only $11.50. Get the point? Also, the char-grilled oysters are to die for...They cost more ($9.95 for 6) but worth every pretty penny. Their bread pudding is to die for; warm and with a whiskey-based sauce ($5.00) On Wednesdays, you get a free draft when you order a dozen oysters. And the staff is great; outgoing, friendly and helpful.
The Marigny Brasserie - This place is a little out of the way; at 640 Frenchmen Street. Take a cab. I had the fried chicken which is one of their specialties. It is Crispy, to say the least and the pieces barely fit onto a large plate. Share it with someone since you won't be able to finish it. My better half had the BBQ shrimp and grits (another house favorite), This was the first time I tasted Grits and actually enjoyed them. Dinner for two - $62.00 including tip.
Antoines - Make sure you have room on the credit card 'cause this baby will cost ya. The grandest of the grand restaurants in New Orleans as well as the oldest. I wanted to go there after watching one of Emiril's shows. It included Antoine's and a dish he really enjoyed. He was spot on. The dish is referred to as Pompano Pontchartain and it is simply outrageous; a fillet of pompano (lightly breaded and pan seared), topped with loads of crab meat. OMG - heaven on a plate.We also had an appetizer of breaded oysters with this sauce (didn't need it) and a nice salad. For dessert, we had the Baked Alaska. At $16.50 (yes, that much) it was listed as dessert for two. Yeah right! It could have fed us and the two tables nearby. As a special treat, they flambe' it for me (my birthday present). The tab was , you ready? $120.00 including tip..and this was just 1 appetizer, 1 salad, 1 entree and dessert. Our most expensive meal, but really well worth it. It's a pleasure to sit at a table with white cloths and tuxedo dressed servers who are well versed in their field and really enjoy making sure that your experience is a great one.
Olivier's - You will not find this place in any of the guides. We were directed there by one of the bartenders at the Monteleone. Good choice; Great Food. Only a couple of blocks from the hotel. My wife had Creole Rabbit and this was out of this world. I was in the mood for meat (carnivore that I am) and had one of the most tender Rib-Eyes I have ever had. Cooked perfectly to medium rare. Make reservations..This is a smaller restaurant and fills up quickly. Dinner with one drink and tip - $75.00
American Sector - This is one of John Besh's places and is inside the National WWII museum. We went there for lunch and had a great time. The restaurant is themed in the 1940's and the food is served in tins, cans, etc. Done really well. We didn't go into the museum proper but it seemed like a cool place to spend a couple of hours. The restaurant is worth it. We had Rabbit pate', with celery root slaw and horseradish and for the main course, we shared Pork Cheeks. Yes, pork cheeks. They were out of sight, so tender and tasty and they came with black-eyed peas and corn bread. The servers were all dressed in the outfits of the times and, once again, were extremely friendly and out-going. Total bill around $40.00 including tip.
Best dining surprise? Fried Green Tomatoes. Honestly.
Finally, one of the cooler things we did was to take a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. It only costs $29.00/person and is well worth the visit. You're seated at tables of 8-10 and they take around 100 people at a time. This was an open lunch class and started at 10:00AM and ended up around 12:30PM. Our 'instructor' was Aunt Sandra and what a character. This woman talked non-stop the entire session, while she was cooking the whole time. She was great, giving us a history of New Orleans, the foods, etc. After each course was finished, food was served. We had a creamy artichoke and shrimp soup, crawfish etouffee, bread pudding and pralines. Everything was delicious. There is not a better way to spend 2 1/2 hours!.
Overall, I would rate our trip a 9.5 out of 10. We had a fantastic time. Yes, sometimes you couldn't tell the homeless from the tourists, but hey...that's true in a lot of cities. New Orleans is on the mend welcomes all with open arms.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- It’s been said that the French Quarter begins in the lobby of the Hotel Monteleone. In fact, this venerable establishment sits majestically at the foot of Royal Street giving guests the best point of departure for all things New Orleans. Visitors need only step outside this French Quarter hotel to discover shop after shop of fabulous European antiques, estate jewelry, Oriental rugs, and art and antiquities from around the world. Quaint restaurants and specialty shops outside of this luxurious New Orleans hotel line the cobblestone French Quarter streets that lead to Jackson Square, the Old French Market and the Riverwalk where tourists and native New Orleanians stroll the levee and watch the steamboats and barges along the Mississippi River. At this New Orleans hotel, you’ll find history around every corner. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Monteleone Hotel New Orleans
- Monteleone New Orleans