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Dallas Morning News - Travel Section, The Saint Hotel & Niven Morgan

Rest easy in the Big Easy at a boutique hotel

NEW ORLEANS — The Crescent City traditionally works its magic on visitors hungry for the next great bite, thirsty for craft cocktails and searching for music thrills, history lessons and architectural eyefuls.

Now, though, the city can boast that it’s also a fabulous place just to retreat and relax.

In the past 18 months, renovations totaling $527 million have ushered in a new era of hostelry in the Big Easy.

Savvy travelers will notice that rooms in some of the major corporate hotels, which have often been simply a place to sleep in a city that loves to party, are boasting hip new designs, upgraded furnishings, high-tech enhancements and eco-conscious initiatives.

At the same time, boutique hotels are gaining a foothold in the French Quarter and the central business district.

We visited three recently to get a measure of what’s new in New Orleans.

Hotel Mazarin

“There’s no hotel called that on Bienville,” my cabdriver told me after I asked him to take me to the Hotel Mazarin on Bienville between Royal and Bourbon streets. He made me call the hotel to double-check the address. Yes, I told him, it’s the Mazarin. He shook his head and drove on.

When we arrived at the address, he nodded in recognition: “OK, the St. Louis.” Some habits die hard: This was formerly the St. Louis Hotel, which recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation to emerge as a boutique hotel named for Cardinal Jules Mazarin, a French-Italian cardinal and diplomat who served as the chief minister of France from 1642 until his death in 1661. He was a man of rich tastes, a collector of art, fine wine and diamonds; he loved the high life. A fitting name, then, for this welcoming hotel rich in creature comforts not often found in typical tourist hotels in the Quarter.

The reception area isn’t particularly posh, but once you get into your room, you start feeling a bit pampered. My king-bed room felt both baroque (gold mirrors and picture frames; sleek black marble floors; rich tones of wood, black, gold and tan) and modern (iPod-iPhone docking station; generous work desk; 42-inch flat-screen TV with tons of channels; fast and free WiFi).

My favorite touches: bright lighting at the his-and-hers sinks; bedside lamps, each with two electrical outlets; a console holding a coffeemaker, a small refrigerator and a safe; and a plush bed with six pillows and luxurious linens.

A few quibbles: a separate water closet with shower and toilet that had inadequate lighting and was temperamental (water leaked from the gorgeous and generous black marble shower); the lack of a waste bin in the bath area; a knock on my door by housekeeping even though I had the do-not-disturb sign on the knob.

But a hotel that has free bottled water and such lovely linens and towels can be forgiven these small criticisms. I also like the pleasant courtyard with its insider’s access to the hip Patrick’s Bar Vin wine bar. Other perks? There’s a small but well-appointed business desk as well as a small but well-appointed workout room, both just off the courtyard.

About that courtyard: In the morning, it’s the perfect place to take breakfast from the generous spread the hotel lays out for free. After a night of partying, you’ll be beyond grateful for that bottomless cup of good coffee and a hot meal that will help you on your way to feeling normal again.

This 102-room inn is ideally situated in the Quarter and offers a lot for the relatively modest rates it charges (average about $169; a summer deal called Summer in the City includes parking and starts at $139 weekdays).

Hotel Mazarin, 730 Bienville, 504-581-7300; hotelmazarin.com.

The Saint Hotel

Trendiness oozes from the Saint Hotel right out onto Canal Street, where doormen welcome you into what is surely the Quarter’s heaviest dose of hip hostelry in years. The century-old Audubon Building that once housed a Woolworth’s department store has been transformed into a 166-room boutique charmer with the kind of design touches that appeal to pampered, plugged-in voyagers.

You’ll encounter a pool table and speakeasy-style cocktail bar before you even hit the registration desk, where I found a pleasant, smooth and quick transition from stranger to guest. My standard room on the eighth floor (hallways are corridors of blue light) was a white-on-white cube punctuated by pops of navy blue. Exposed bricks on the wall with windows that overlooked Canal Street gave a historical, loftlike feeling to what was otherwise an ultramodern room design. My bed (comfortable king, with nice white linens) with a giant mirror headboard faced a glossy white console-work station with a big TV screen and a slightly forbidding minibar — a $7 bottle of Acqua Panna water (no thanks) and a note that warned me not to use the minibar fridge to save a leftover muffuletta lest I risk a $50 restocking fee for removing its precious contents. Oddly, during my stay, a room down the hall marked “vending” was a mini warehouse of booze and other minibar goodies — it was unlocked the entire time.

The hotel’s workout room was a punitive little thing, and the rooftop bar was still not open. (The Saint opened its doors in January.) There was no TV remote-control in my room, the WiFi was slow, and the sharp corners of the platform bed took a painful dig at my knee.

Still, there was much to like about my room, which reminded me of the sleek design instincts of the Morgans Hotel Group and Thompson Hotels in New York. I especially liked the snug, white, subway-tile bathroom that boasted brilliant lighting, generous Niven Morgan toiletries, a nice-smelling reed diffuser and a glassed-in shower with a rain-can shower head.

The Saint’s location at the corner of Canal and Burgundy puts you within arm’s reach of French Quarter and central business district attractions. The hotel also happens to look smashing. The lobby, a pinball machine of white sheer curtains, modern furniture and funky lighting, looks like ground zero for hipsters. Strange, though: I never once saw a single customer in the lobby restaurant Sweet Olive, whose chef recently gave up his post. The restaurant looks swell, but it had better figure out some new shtick quick, lest the Saint’s halo of hipness is tarnished.

Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the hotel might have some service bumps but definitely is a nice place to hang out (king room starts at $189; $209 for doubles).

The Saint Hotel, 931 Canal St., 504-522-5400; thesainthotelneworleans.com.

The Hotel Modern

Depending on how you look at it, the Hotel Modern New Orleans is either ideally located or frustratingly situated. Ideal? It’s a stone’s throw from several museums, including the National World War II Museum (which also houses a John Besh restaurant), and only blocks from must-do restaurants Cochon, A Mano and Emeril’s. The hotel also boasts its own restaurant, Tamarind, and the bar-of-the-moment thrills of Bellocq with its pre-Prohibition cocktails.

On the down side, the hotel is too far from the French Quarter for most people to hoof it. Forget it if you need a quick cab; they whiz around neighboring Lee Circle but never seem to stop at the doorsteps of this cool hotel that feels more like a private club.

It’s received good buzz; Hotel Modern, like the Saint, was included on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 list of Top New Hotels of the Year.

There’s no check-in desk in the Hotel Modern lobby. Instead, guests are greeted with a glass of wine while they are being registered behind the scenes. In a jiffy, I had my room key and I headed upstairs to a 10th-floor suite that resembled the apartment of a chic, artsy friend with good taste. Real art is on the walls, and real books are on the shelves — both for sale should you become attached.

My entryway gave way to a neat living room with mix-and-match furniture. The snug bedroom featured a comfortable brass bed, iPod docking, two lamps, a large, wall-mounted television and a window looking onto Lee Circle.

The bedroom closet held a safe, robes and the thoughtful addition of an umbrella. But where were the iron and ironing board? The large bathroom with its soaking tub-shower looked inviting until you turned on the light. The wattage was low and emitted a strange yellowish glow. Forget trying to put on your makeup, ladies, or putting a correct part in your hair, gents — you won’t be able to see. There also was no hair dryer. The C.O. Bigelow toiletries were a welcome touch, but why was there Dial soap instead of Bigelow soap?

After a late-night dinner, I stopped by the non-registration desk to ask for a wakeup call. The employee wrote down my request for a 5 a.m. call so I could get to the airport for my 7:30 a.m. flight home. When I got to my suite, I noticed something that I hadn’t when I checked in: The only phone was in the living room, not bedside. I pulled the phone as far as it could go, letting it rest on the floor of my bedroom. I was suspicious about the wakeup call, so I slept with one eye open and woke at 4:30 a.m. to begin packing. Sure enough, the call never came.

At the hotel curb, it again took a while to get a cab even after calling for one. While waiting, I told the doorman about the wakeup call. “That happens,” he said. Well, it shouldn’t, especially in a hard-partying town where people rely on the call to get to the airport.

Just then a cab pulled up and discharged its fare. Well, he discharged himself. As the taxi passenger attempted to get out of the car he fell straight to the ground. The cabbie helped him to his feet, and he staggered into the hotel. I jumped in (making sure there were no surprises left on the seat or floor) and began a fascinating chat with the cabdriver, who told me that the inebriated man had no money.

It happens, he said: “I could call the cops, but it would take two hours and that’s more lost money. What are you going to do? It happens. This is New Orleans.”

The Hotel Modern, 936 St. Charles Ave., 504-962-0900; thehotelmodern.com (special summer rates $125 to $165).

Home Décor, Summer Scents, and Much More…

When you think of a summer home, you think of fresh-cut flowers in beautiful vases, comfy couches, and the light that splashes through the windows imitating beach waves. Some may remember homes by the smells, the feelings, or even the simple party decorations sitting on the patio tables.

 

A home always has a smell, whether that is the rich blend of beach and BBQ, the sweet mixture of watermelon and fresh-squeezed lemonade, or a refreshing scent of San Miguel Lime and Bougainvillea.
 
 

When you wash your hands from the beach sand or the gardening that has had your attention from dusk to dawn, you want your hands to feel as clean and soft as stepping out of a candle-lit bath. Dive into our pleasurable Tarroco Orange and Lavender Hand Set to give you a glimpse of what true lasting summer refreshment is supposed to exemplify.
 
 

Topping it all off, summer parties are meant to establish a sense of family and friendship as well as light up the night with laughter and joy. Ideas for this summer include beautiful pastel decorations that could accompany tissue paper balls hanging from a white tent outside to fun enveloped invitations to your grand party.  Casa Sugar: Trend Spotting For Spring and Summer 2012

May Traveling Inspirations

Every month I do what I can to travel to as many wonderful and new places as possible. I have decided to keep a record of them on this blog for the sheer knowledge of telling the stories behind the Niven Morgan Collections. In May I had the pleasure of traveling to one city in Oklahoma and a few lovely places in Arkansas. These places all are so different and unique, but each played a major role in my inspiration for scents, fragrances, and aesthetics. Take a journey with me each month as you see the travel diary of yours truly.

Luxe Objects-Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Luxe Objects created a very opening and warm environment! I just loved the Matouk Pillow and the custom-made pouf (they also do custom monograms). The bench was decked out with faux ostrich and was displaying a local Dallas designer’s book, Jan Showers. The colors reminded me of the clean and fresh scent of our signature Lavender candles.









French Shoppe - Jonesboro, Arkansas

Taken back to the times of hand-made furniture and iron kitchen chairs, the French Shoppe gave me a little inspiration for a vintage look and feel of beauty. Our Gold Scent products are a mixture of what you would find in the midst of looking through The French Shoppe, clean and nostalgic with the timeless presence of class.










Capital Hotel - Little Rock, Arkansas

I was inspired by this wonderful hotel for its amazing room detailed with bright lamps, hardwood furniture, and Frette Linens and robes. The unbelievable service made for this to be the perfect inspiration for a future Niven Morgan product line.
 










Creative Kitchen - Ft. Smith, Arkansas

Who doesn’t love a vintage set of bingo? When you visit Creative Kitchen, you have to check out this bingo set, its perfect summer game with friends and family. Creative Kitchen specializes in specialty foods, desserts, gifts, and of course, the beloved local items.
 









Tipton Hurst, Little Rock, Arkansas

Although known for flowers and small gifts, Tipton Hurst exquisite taste in their baby collection section inspired me to relate to my youth and the clean and fresh scent of our signature Lavender candles.

To sum up all my travels, I have to admit my recent food indulges. If you ever go to the Capital Bar and Grill you have to try the Parmesan Herb Fried Potatoes with truffled Bearnaise as a starter and then the chicken fried steak or the Cuban with smoked ham and Gruyere.

Great food, beautiful stores, all equals a full month of inspiration by yours truly.

Niven 

Summer is Here!

It’s hot outside! The weather is calling for Updo’s of all kinds like side braids, cute ponytails, and the infamous “Messy Bun.” With all these options, it’s a wonder we ever make a decision.

ELLE did a great job of putting together a slideshow of popular celebrity Updo’s that give us the impression of beautiful elegance with a touch of beachy fun! The right ingredients are always needed for these perfect “dos”:

1. A handful of bobby pins
• Bobby Pins are a great invention for the female, whether using it to pin back hair or pull your pants together, they are the perfect tool to have around.

2. Enough mouse and product to overcome any hair catastrophe
• Mouse is a girl’s best friend in the summer, whether curly or straight hair, it can help turn any crazy “do” into a beautiful “Updo” ☺

3. The perfect shampoo/conditioner - AKA Niven Morgan ;)
• Shampoo/Conditioner is a girl’s most used product, especially in the summer. Whether beach, pool, or sweaty curls, there is always a need for a wash!
• Try the Blue Shampoo! It’s perfect for summer and will leave your hair sleek and smooth.

Use this slideshow to give you ideas to make that summer hair turn into a beautiful “do” in a few seconds, but don’t forget the perfect ingredients! Don’t forget to pick up the perfect shampoo and conditioner from Niven Morgan for your Updo!

When the Saints Come Marching In

 

The Saint Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana is one that is chic and features classic Beaux Arts architecture on the outside. On the inside, contemporary designs bring back the bright times of the golden age of jazz. While you’re staying there, you can soak up the sights and sounds of the bustling city at the opulent Burgundy Bar. Just as the name suggests, this bar is decorated with rich and deep shades of burgundy, red crystal and sparkling chandeliers and lush velvet drapes. Another option is to dine on authentic American Cuisine in the Sweet Olive restaurant and then enjoy some cocktails on the Halo Rooftop Bar. The Saint Hotel is located in the historic French Quarter and is within earshot of some of the best jazz and nightlife the city has to offer. It’s right in the heart of Mardi Gras, the French Quarter Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Essence Music Festival. Once you’ve spent a day full of sightseeing and traveling, you can relax in The Saint’s stylish and chic rooms that offer luxurious amenities. Such amenities include marble baths and showers, 46-inch HDTVs, in-room spa robes, and Niven Morgan signature toiletries and fragrances. When you enter the lobby, the ultra-modern décor is filled with character and an ambiance that oozes jazz. The all white-and-indigo blue rooms with an exposed brick wall are sleek yet cozy so guest can enjoy a restful night of sleep.

Via Raine Magazine

Mustique 1958 by Niven Morgan Takes Your Body and Mind to the Fantasy Island

Fruity Lashes
April 25, 2012 

The island of Mustique located in south Caribbean is known as part of the Grenadines, a private and resort villa founded in 1958 by Colin Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner. Today, it is privately owned and managed up to an upmost caliber. It has perfect climate for all season touring and getaways for those that seek privacy and quiet relaxation. Some of the island animals you might come across are tortoises and herons roaming freely on the crystal clear beaches. Celebrities and royal families are some of the more notable individuals seen on the island. Mustique is an island of luxury and true paradise for full relaxation.

 

To capture everything about the island and more, Niven Morgan has presented the line Mustique 1958. The line makes you feel the sea breeze and island like climate along with floral essences. For the line, the scent is so smooth and fresh to the nose because of the bit of woodiness mixed in with citrus. The sparkling citrus scent reminds me of champagne and the breeze from the islands on Hawaii (even though we are talking about Mustique).

Starting off with the hand products, Niven Morgan has a set of hand soap and lotion that is made to smell not only nice and clean, there is also a richness to the silky hand lotion.

The hand soap provides a quick and easy wash for the hands, where it leaves them squeaky clean with a nice refreshing scent. Even though it turns your hands into completely squeaky clean, it isn’t drying. Just apply a pump or two and lather up then rinse. Afterwards, nourish the hands with the hand lotion where it contains a non-greasy formula that’s light but ulta hydrating. It leaves the hands flawlessly smooth like silk with a protective thin layer of cream. You could actually feel it!

Let’s talk about the products for the body now. For showering, there is a body wash from the line that provides an extremely rich foaming gel where if you use a pouf , you will know what I mean. Anyways, if you smell bad after a long day or if you’re tired, this stuff is like mojo where it will anew you after use almost instantaneously.

In the shampoo, there is an infusion of aloe vera, willow bark, and sugar cane. YES SUGAR CANE! It left my hair silky smooth and cleansed. I was surprised when I first used this because I never tried sugar cane in shampoos. As moisturizing as the shampoo is, the conditioner adds an extra layer of richness giving hair protein (soy) what it needs from the root to the tip. You can use this conditioner everyday and it is color safe too!

As nourishing and luxurious the body lotion is, it has high quality ingredients that are organically grown. There is aloe vera, shea butter, cucumber, and algae. The body lotion absorbs quite quickly and refreshes the skin. I think the cucumber is such a nice ingredient in contrast with everything else. Your body will become smooth and soft with the lotion. After use, you will notice that it doesn’t leave any traces of those pesky like stickiness at all. The absorption is phenomenal.

Finally, here is the Eau de Parfum which has a nice citrusy scent laced with woodiness to it. The pleasant scent will leave you awake the entire day. I sprayed it around my neck and wrist, it lasted a good 3 hours before the scent started waning down a bit.

Mustique’s scent and the whole line are a lot different than any others from Niven Morgan. It gives a pure sense of luxury and resort like feeling. The hand soap and lotion feel especially nice leaving hard working hands super soft and moisturized. Also, whether you’re in the shower or out of the shower, you can feel just as great with the rest of the products.

Pictures from Mustique, Wishing You Were There!

I recently returned from a trip to Mustique, and wanted to share some pictures of this beautiful paradise. Hope you enjoy them.


Our first night in Mustique as I welcomed guest to a dinner on Macaroni Beach


Dinner on the beach


Getting our charter boat ready for our trip to Tobago Keys to swim with the sea turtles.


Not our boats…but still beautiful


Private spa villas in Canouan on our way to Tobago Keys


One of the most beautiful and largest private yachts we passed on the way to Tobago Keys


The sides open up and inside were the toys…jet skis etc


Tobago Keys was so natural and beautiful.  The water was so clear it made it easy to
swim with the sea turtles.


Our private picnic at Tobago Keys. There is nothing else on this small Island but the picnic tables.


Our own outdoor beach club


Sunset at Fire Fly in Mustique


Lunch with friends and the setup is built into the rocks


The view from our lunch


Getting ready to board the plane to leave Mustique


The view leaving Mustique


Bon Voyage Mustique
 




Scentsational Scoop.....Niven Morgan's New Orleans candle

Via The Uptown Acorn

As you already know, I adore Niven Morgan candles and products. Way back in January, I blogged his Paris candle, a warm & inviting scent perfect for the winter months.

Today, I feature one of my springtime favs, Niven Morgan's New Orleans candle.

The New Orleans candle is the perfect scent of spring filled with throws of both jasmine and gardenia. Niven captures the breezes and gardens of a New Orleans spring perfectly.

The candle is described as "distilling the dreamy ambience of the Vieux Carre'- the nightscented jasmine-covered gates that open to secluded courtyards and candle-lit salons where all things are possible." Doesn't that sound inviting? I think so.

The New Orleans candle can be purchased locally at Little Miss Muffin in Lakeview.

Niven Morgan Jean Baptiste 1717 Home Fragrance

By Fruity Lashes - Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

As an extension to the Jean Baptiste 1717 Body Wash and Sheer Body Oil (featured here), the same great “Seductive and Alluring” scent can be found in the home fragrance.

This glass bottle sports a red wax insignia with a sleek silvery bright cap. The overall design pretty much resembles the entire Jean Baptiste 1717 line.

After spraying this scent in the air, you could immediately notice the seductiveness of it. It is young and sweet with hints of floral. One of the dominating scents is jasmine but other scents include tuberose, wild rose, and princess lily. The sweetened factor can be found from vanilla and caramel.

Each spray from this bottle creates a sensual intimacy to the surrounding areas and it lasts for hours before it finally wanes out. The concentration of the scent is quite extensive making it a sophisticated one with traces of multiple notes. For lovers of something alluringly sweet and seductively sexy, this scent brings right on.

For more information including buying please visit www.NivenMorgan.com.

This post contains a sample product sent for consideration by PR. All reviews are expressed with complete honesty. For more information, please read my full disclosure here.

Saint Hotel: Philippe Stark, Lee Harvey & Niven Morgan

Divine Intervention

What do Philippe Starck, Lee Harvey Oswald And Dallas’ Niven Morgan have to do with the Hottest New Hotel in New Orleans? To find out, we go marching into The Saint.

By Christopher Wynn | Photography by Carter Rose

Trumpets blast, drums pound and heads turn. A marching band is stomping up Canal Street in New Orleans. The pavement is wet with rain, but that doesn’t slow down their leader, wobbling along on a pair of stilts. It’s just another Wednesday night in the French Quarter. The band, presumably practicing for Mardi Gras, incites a mini flash-mob of followers as it parades past the buttoned-up Ritz-Carlton to stop directly in front of the Ritz’s adjacent neighbor: The Saint hotel, open less than two weeks on this night.

The hotel’s two Dallas-based owners, Mark Wyant and his mother, Jana, could hardly have scripted a better showcase for their new property. The 103-year-old building rises eight stories into the air, still crowned by its original beaux arts stone scrollwork.

Inside the soaring lobby, the look is anything but period. Clear “Ghost” chairs go toe-to-toe with baroque banquets and mod chandeliers. A niche above the front doors houses a mirror-mosaic mannequin, hands on hips, that owner Mark bought as-is at Dallas Market Center. (In rustic contrast, a pair of carved-wood angels above the reception desk was a flea-market find in Forney, Texas.) The voluminous entry hall feels ethereal with sheer white drapes dangling 22 feet from ceiling to floor. Seem familiar? It’s a direct nod to designer Philippe Starck and his infamous, now-shuttered Starck Club in Dallas.

“I’ve been obsessed with the Starck ever since I first walked through the door in 1984,” says Mark, clad in a black turtleneck and jeans. His fixations grew over the years from dance clubs to exotic sports cars (still a thing) to jet airplanes. He’s been a pilot since 1990 for American Airlines.

Mark’s other defining passion is hotels. He’s third-generation in the business, which began when his late grandfather first opened a place in East Texas. Since the ’70s, Mark and his mother have owned and operated more than a dozen hotels in Texas and the Southwest, and he still owns the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort on the Galveston coast. But his dream was always a boutique property.

Everything fell into place in 2010 when bad weather forced him to cut a family vacation short and land his private plane in New Orleans for a layover.

Mark went for a walk with his wife, Lorenda, and stumbled onto the historic

Audubon Building at the corner of Canal and Burgundy. It happened to be for sale. Built in 1909, the property had mostly served as an office building. Investors once tried to convert it into a Hilton, but Hurricane Katrina put a stop to that in 2005 and it had sat abandoned since. Poking around out front, Mark saw plywood covering the doorways and broken glass everywhere, but the proverbial bones were intact. He called his mother back in Dallas and told her to get on the next plane.

Jana, a whirlwind of energy in her 70s with a mod haircut and perfectly done makeup, still recalls her reaction the first time she saw the place: “I stood inside the doorway and looked around at the most ugly, gross, stinky thing you ever saw. Oh, and all of that space. I looked at Mark and said, ‘What in God’s world are we going to do with all of that space?’”

Turns out, quite a bit.

  The Wyants spent a year and a staggering $40 million-plus on renovations. Mark hired architects for the heavy lifting — former offices were reconfigured into guest rooms; bathrooms had to be built into each one — but tackled all of the finish-out and interior design himself. (And talk about a family affair: Mark’s well-manicured wife painted most of the pressed-tin tiles underneath the building’s reconstructed iron awning.) The hotel’s 166 rooms are now furnished with sleek, white-lacquered furniture and jumbo-graphic-print carpets. The ceilings are slathered in indigo paint because, as a pilot, Mark says you should “keep the blue side up and the brown side down.” Many of the rooms also have original exposed-brick walls. Every bathroom is stocked with lotions, potions and spa robes by Dallas scent prince Niven Morgan. (Morgan was a natural choice since he’s also a Louisiana native.)

Mark is working to finish dressing the building’s eighth floor, where he’s adorning the hallways with historic photos of Dallas and John F. Kennedy from 1963.

The reason? Mark discovered while researching the building with the Library of Congress that Lee Harvey Oswald was once interviewed on the eighth floor by an anti-communist group that officed there.

In fact, the property is even named in the legendary Warren Report.

For The Saint’s signature restaurant, Mark partnered with celeb New Orleans chef Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette in the Garden District to open Sweet Olive near the main entrance. The best way to order here is the four-course tasting menu, which

pairs dishes such as Louisiana crab meat with quail eggs and pickled Gulf shrimp with the perfect wine. (If you’re with a group, try to snag the marble banquette table in the front window for the best people-watching.) Across the lobby is a cozy space dressed in scarlet Venetian chandeliers, dubbed the Burgundy Lounge (pronounce it like a local: bur-GUN-dee), which serves up cocktails from a menu organized by “Seven Godly Virtues” or “Seven Deadly Sins.” This spring, you can get more libations on the hotel’s coming rooftop lounge, Halo.

“The whole idea is the saint and sinner. Good and evil. Naughty and nice,” says Mark. “We’re trying to present a playful atmosphere that relates back to the city. The food is excellent and rich, maybe a little more than you should eat. And, of course, everyone knows about Bourbon Street.”

  Mark even tried to infuse that NOLA atmosphere into the music. He created a hotel playlist that, from 6 to 10 each night, is composed of vintage jazz tunes by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, who grew up two blocks away. Later at night, expect to hear more eclectic tracks, including bands lifted from Starck Club days: Vicious Pink, Book of Love.

According to Mark, a hotel is theater. “Like a Broadway play, all of the piece have to be in place: music, sound, smell, sight.

This is about having an experience.” 


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