This Storied New Orleans Hotel Is a Garden District Gem

The Pontchartrain Hotel is magic.

Within the hotel, which is perfectly situated in New Orleans Garden District, exists a semi-microcosm holding much of what you’d want in a trip to the southern city under one roof. It’s a destination of its own and it had us completely under its spell.

The Pontchartrain is home to great food at three separate and distinct dining locations, unique décor, great views, and live music in an oasis that exists quietly separate — but not far from — hotspots like Bourbon Street and Frenchman Street.

The structure, characterized by a rich burgundy awning and a greenish façade, is impressive. And its interior is special, too. With unique art, muted but rich color schemes and Le Labo bathroom products, a stay at the hotel feels vintage-luxe. Rooms at the Pontchartrain sort of give off a grandma’s living room vibe but chic and elevated — translation: the decor is excellent.

With nearly a century of history, the hotel originally opened in February 1927 as an apartment hotel (a luxury apartment building with hotel-like amenities) named after Count de Pontchartrain — who once served as a member of Louis XIV’s court. In the 1940s, it shifted to become a standard-style hotel. 

In 2013, the hotel was operating as an assisted living facility. But it was purchased in 2015 by AJ Capital Partners which offered a $10 million renovation completed the next year.

While the property was renovated in 2016 to accommodate updated amenities, the hotel holds a sort of vintage charm with unique decor meant to pay homage to New Orleans’ history.

During its tenure as a hospitality hub, The Pontchartrain has welcomed a long list of well-known figures including Truman Capote, Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth, multiple presidents, and The Doors. Tennessee Williams also had a residence at the hotel, during which he wrote “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The New Orleans Saints NFL team was born in the hotel’s Bayou Bar when its creation agreement was signed there over a few cocktails.

The Pontchartrain is conveniently located within walking distance of Magazine Street and other attractions. It’s also easy to reach other destinations, thanks to the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line, which runs parallel to the hotel toward Audubon Park and Tulane University.

New Orleans has a rich food scene, and we definitely recommend a visit to nearby Pêche Seafood Grill and the iconic Commander’s Palace, too, among others.

That said, if you didn’t want to, you wouldn’t need to leave the hotel to eat. Inside The Pontchartrain lives Silver Whistle Café, a greasy-spoon breakfast joint; Jack Rose, an Instagram-worthy fine dining location; Bayou Bar, where live music — including jazz — is regularly scheduled; and Hot Tin, a rooftop bar with sweeping views of New Orleans’ French Quarter and an invigorating cocktail list. 

The Pontchartrain offers everything you’d want in a boutique hotel and more. It’s definitely going to be at the top of our list next time we book a flight to New Orleans.

Top Takeaways

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana 

Star-Rating: Four-Star

The Vibe: Vintage luxury meets cultural hotspot.

Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel? Its dining options. After dining or drinking at every single location on the property, it’s an easy answer – the food and beverage options at The Pontchartrain are amazing.

Food + Drink: Silver Whistle Café, Bayou Bar, Jack Rose, and Hot Tin are all on the property. 

Any Neighborhood Recs? Commander’s Palace, Magazine Street, National World War II Museum, Audubon Park.

Amenities: Le Labo bathroom products, elevators, accessible guest rooms, service animals, premiere event space, and tasseled keys are among the hotel’s amenities. 

What’s Nearby? Commander’s Palace, Audubon Park, Tulane University, St. Charles Streetcar Line, Southern Food & Beverage Museum.

Rooms: 106

Pricing: Start at $159 per night (vary by season and are more expensive on the weekend)

Closest Airport: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

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Maison de la Luz exterior
Credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

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Maison de la Luz lobby
Credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

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