I recently spent one of my most inspiring and recharging vacations to date! In September we jetted off to New Orleans for a quick trip between work and wedding engagements. This year I've been doing a ton of traveling between Seattle and NYC, however I haven't really had any down time to vacation or relax. There have been off days, but none spent continuously with my husband, exploring new places in depth, which something I truly love to do.
We chose NOLA simply because it was going to be convenient and inexpensive. I needed to be in NY for Labor Day weekend to install a work project (more on that soon), but also CT for a wedding on September 10th. Which meant I would have 5 days in between to do something or nothing. Jack had built up vacation days so we both thought this would be the perfect time for a getaway. Quickly researching potential destinations: Mexico City, Miami, Curacao and New Orleans. I realized New Orleans would be the easiest option seeing how we both could take a nonstop flight from each coast at a very reasonable price. The only chance we'd have to take, would be that we'd need the weather gods on our side. There was a hurricane scare, but we lucked out and it only rained for part of our trip. I chose to stay at the Ace Hotel in New Orleans mostly because I'm in love with Ace Hotels, and the work of the designers of this particular one, Roman and Williams, but also because they had a pool and the pricing was remarkably reasonable. I'm guessing it's because the hotel recently opened and it's the off season.
In short, we absolutely loved the city. It feels the closest to Europe of any American city (that I can imagine). The French Quarter with the historic Spanish style architecture and all its stucco facades and tropically planted courtyards are extremely reminiscent of time last year in southern France and Spain. The hotel was everything I was hoping it to be, the staff were friendly, the rooms spacious and dramatic. The rooftop pool and bar, were the perfect retreat from the afternoon heat.
I recently started using the app SPOT, which is similar to a mix of Yelp and Pinterest. It's an app that allows you to save places (restaurants, hotels and landmarks) to lists for travel itinerary or just as a reference for the everyday. I created under the UNION ADORN user several lists that detail the antique shops to visit and the long list of vegetarian friendly places that one can eat (we're both vegetarian). With my personal account LAUREN L CARON, I created a Designer's Itinerary for NOLA that was featured [here]. It should be an easy, on the go itinerary.
On here, a quick list of my favorite things to do and places to go:
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed here and absolutely loved it! The rooms are large, the lounge is lovely, and the pool and Alto bar were the perfect retreat on the rooftop. Be sure to check out my next post which will be more in depth about our stay at the Ace. I took a bunch of pictures of the public spaces, and our room. It was equal parts chic, cool and relaxing.
Designed by the famed architect Henry Howard, the historic townhouse was constructed in 1867 and was recently, beautifully reimagined into a luxury boutique hotel. I was tempted to book a night or two here, but ultimately it was the pool at the Ace that swayed me. I would definitely plan a visit here in the future.
WHERE TO EAT + DRINK
(A short List, Check out my Spot Lists for more)
Where To Shop
(Loosely by Neighborhood)
Any of the Antique Shops Along Lower Magazine Street
What To See / Do
The Garden District
With some of the most stunning homes in all of New Orleans, you must stroll the streets of the Garden District. Be sure to walk along 1st Street, 4th Street, and Coliseum street to see some of the noted buildings. You may catch a glimpse of the home from the American Horror Story or Benjamin Button (a quick google search will give you addresses).
The French Quarter
With an abundance of historic buildings dating back to the mid-1800s this part of the city exudes charm and soul. Originally a city ruled by the French (hence this neighborhood's name), New Orleans was turned over to the Spanish, who after several fires, built much of the architecture that still stands today. The area has so much character that is both Spanish and French inspired, all Creole and the epitome of New Orleans. Walk along the streets of this area and take note of it's brick and stucco townhouses, cast iron decorated balconies and galleries. Not to miss are the hidden courtyards. There's just nothing quite like the French Quarter.
Bayou + Swamp Boat Tour
As you can see there is a plethora of things to see and do in this city. It's actually all manageable within 4 days too. We surprisingly didn't find the best food, but that's partially because we're both vegetarians and not even pescetarians, we also have food sensitivities to dairy and gluten - blah (I know). So NOLA was not the best city for us on that front. I am sure though if you are a foodie, then you may want to have one more day there, since you'll probably want to spend more time in restaurants than we did. I'd go back in a heartbeat!
All photography is by Lauren L Caron © 2016