Close to many of New Orleans' highlights and home to one of the city's top new restaurants, this is a cool hotel at a decent price.
Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery, New Orleans
New Orleans' Warehouse District, just on the edge of the CBD and a short walk from the Mississippi River waterfront and the famous French Quarter.
Despite the name, the Warehouse District is no longer an industrial neighbourhood. Instead it has become known as the city's arts district, home to museums, galleries and hipster cafes.
Housed in a former warehouse used by a local company as a coffee store, the hotel's building dates back to 1854. The 167-room space across four storeys retains some of its industrial origins, with exposed brickwork, metal support frames and original hardwood floors.
The hotel has a partnership with the New Orleans Centre for the Creative Arts and artwork permeates the building, both on the ground floor lobby which leads into a gallery space, through to the rooms which feature modern, original works.
Three of the hotel's suites have been curated by three separate artists, each offering a unique look and feel. There's a gym on the ground floor as well as a store (the Chandlery of the hotel's name) that offers a variety of local goods for sale.
A nice touch is the converted cigarette machine in the lobby, which now sells small works from local artists. At $5 a pop, these make for great souvenirs.
The hotel is also pet-friendly, with some rooms offering pet beds and other amenities. During my visit this seemed to be a popular option, as numerous guests were coming and going with their dogs in tow.
It's a good-sized space, with exposed brick, two modern artworks on the walls, stylish furniture and thick, dark curtains to block out the hot Louisiana sun. The bathroom is a simple affair with a large shower, toilet and single sink, but little space for storage of your own toiletries.
A sideboard doubles as a desk space and also contains the safe, while the open wardrobe space hides behind the door upon entry. The king-sized bed is very comfortable.
Compere Lapin, located within the hotel, was named the best new restaurant in New Orleans in 2016 and its owner and chef, Nina Compton, was named one of the 2017's best new chefs by US Food and Wine magazine. Compton has a national profile thanks to her success on the TV cooking contest Top Chef and, as such, the restaurant is popular spot.
Like the city itself, the menu is French-influenced but offers modern twists on traditional fare. I opt for the fresh oysters as an appetiser, which come with several sauces on the side. For the main I opt for the signature goat curry, which is tasty, though American tastes tend to lean away from subtlety. The "biscuits" served on the side – a scone-like side served instead of bread at most restaurants in New Orleans – are so delicious it's hard to resist filling up on them.
You're a short walk from the Mississippi River and it's a pleasant stroll from here down to the French Quarter. Though Bourbon Street is notorious for its cheap cocktails and rowdy nightlife (it's one of the few streets in the USA where it's legal to drink on the street), there are pockets of more authentic culture to be found here.
Preservation Hall (726 St Peter St) presents nightly performances from a collective of more than 100 local jazz musicians performing classics in a traditional style. See preservationhall.com
Close to many of the city's highlights and home to one of the city's top new restaurants, this is a cool hotel at a decent price.
Rooms at the Old 77 Hotel start from $US148, including taxes. See old77hotel.com
The cool style of the hotel is fitting for the Big Easy.
While I do love dogs, I don't particularly like hearing them barking in neighbours' rooms or corridors early in the morning.
Craig Platt stayed as a guest of New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.