Whenever I’m looking for a hotel anywhere, I try to find a small, intimate retreat that is very much full of local color. Mostly, I look for a hotel immersed in the colors, style, and culture of a place. When visiting the Southwest, I want to stay in an adobe; in California, I want an airy oceanside retreat; in England, I want to stay in a moss-covered cottage. It’s just who I am. So it’s obvious that for a visit to New Orleans, I want to stay in an old house in the French Quarter!
When I first discovered the gorgeous New Orleans hotel, Soniat House, two years ago, I was fascinated. I wrote about our first visit in this post, but I wanted to share more about the hotel this second time around and what makes it so unique. So step back in time with me, to the magnificent Soniat House…
Soniat House was the city home of a wealthy plantation owner whose ancestors first came to New Orleans in 1751. Built in 1829, the historic building is typical of many New Orleans homes constructed at that time. The two-story, exceptional brick residence consists of a lower level that once housed stables, gardens, storage, slave quarters, and kitchens. These were all placed at ground level to accommodate occasional flooding of the Mississippi River. The more elegant rooms, on the second floor, were the main living quarters. After years of family use, the property was sold around to various people until it was restored it to its former glory by Rodney and Frances Smith, and built it into the hotel it is today.
One of my favorite things about this hotel is the courtyard at its center. Full of palms, a magnolia tree, a fountain and lush green plants, the brickwork and atmosphere send you back in time.
Even more, each room is decorated with beautiful antiques and paintings that make me feel like I’m in Interview with the Vampire. But, perhaps a bit more luxurious!
Did I mention breakfast?
Each morning, you can order fresh, homemade biscuits delivered to your room or, if the weather permits, to the courtyard. With a sterling silver coffee service, it feels decadent.
And of course, there’s Claire, the hotel’s cat who meows more often than not and preferred Jon to every other guest during our visit. Seriously, she would cry from outside our room until I let her in! Then she’d hide under the bed, and Jon would play wack-a-mole with her using a pencil. Such a sweetheart!
My other favorite place? The gorgeous, cast iron balcony which was installed in the 1860’s. While it was still early in the season for cascading plants, I enjoyed sipping warm tea on the wicker seats as the sun went down.
Soniat House, I don’t know when I’ll be back, but you’ve got a special place in my heart!
To find out more, check out the Soniat House website here. And to book a reservation, I recommend using Mr. & Mrs. Smith for the occasional free upgrade! Do you have a favorite hotel or retreat you love to visit? I’m always looking for recommendations, so share with me in the comments below! And to read my last New Orleans post, click here!