Arrived here on a Thursday after two long connecting flights and a Tom-Tom guided drive in from NOLA airport. Like arriving at an endless ongoing party - streets barricaded off, revelers strutting their stuff - gals in cowboy hats, boots and little else, corpulent guys gravel-voiced someway south of Nick Nolte. Hey, Nawlins man!
So something of a surprise to drop the car off in the subterranean garage of the Sonesta and rise up into the cool, air conditioned glam lobby. "Can I help you with your bags Sir?" You certainly can.
Our room overlooked the pool and patio area, filled with a different set of party animals. The rich, downing Mai Tais and Mint Juleps like there would never be another Mardi Gras.
And a very comfortable King Size bed there was. Slowish Wi-Fi, but probably because the entire hotel was online trying to find anywhere nearby with the kind of Jazz that Louis Armstrong made famous. Fat chance. Bourbon Street is filled with scummy bars playing awful 4th rate Rolling Stones rehashes by semi pro bands and even worse, karaoke. Gone are the piano bars where you might find Dr. John or Fats Domino or Harry Connick Jr, vamping on a night off. But all is not lost. Wander off towards Jackson Square and your ears will guide you to a bunch of kids playing the music this city made famous - trumpet, tuba, trombone and snare drums. Fabulous and worth every dollar you mostly certainly will give them. And outside the Cafe du Monde - essential for beignets and coffee - I heard a wiry man in his late forties singing his soul out. Wade In The Water and Amazing Grace, testament to his childhood in Baptist churches. Such courage, armed with nothing but this voice that hit every note heart-stoppingly bang on. It was like Sam Cooke was back and had never been near that damn motel.
And in the midst of all this, the Sonesta is your sanctuary.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Royal Sonesta New Orleans is the most Authentic French Quarter Experience located on world famous Bourbon Street, within steps of world-famous restaurants, antique shops, and premier tourist attractions. A landmark in New Orleans since 1969, its atmosphere reflects a strong European influence and Southern charm, with its elegant marbled lobby, tranquil fountains and sparkling chandeliers. The 483 room hotel including 36 suites features a secluded tropical courtyard, a beautifully landscaped outdoor pool, fitness center and five unique restaurants and lounges. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sonesta Hotel New Orleans
- New Orleans Royal Sonesta
- New Orleans Sonesta Hotel
- Sonesta New Orleans
- Royal Sonesta Hotel