A few weeks ago, I was the guest of The Royal Sonesta New Orleans while doing research for a travel guide for The Taste. This trip was not my first to New Orleans as its blessed proximity to Houston allows me to go there about twice a year; however, it was the first time I have stayed at the Royal Sonesta in the French Quarter since their renovations. Impressed? You could say that. Here are my seven reasons why anyone is lucky to be their guest.
7. The Best Night's Sleep in The French Quarter. Don't get me wrong; being smack dab in the French Quarter is not a bad thing (see #1 on this list!), but at some point you need to catch up on your beauty sleep without being interrupted by raucous revelers still partying on Bourbon Street. By providing guests with complimentary ear plugs (genius), The Royal Sonesta enables its guests to rest soundly undisturbed by exterior noise.
6. Expansive Rooftop Dining Area, Bar, and Pool. While many FQ hotels boast rooftop pool areas, the Royal Sonesta's is one of the biggest and most luxurious, with ample seating, attentive servers, and welcome shade from large umbrellas as well as foliage.
Have a dozen (or two) oysters.
5. Desire Oyster Bar. Want to eat oysters while wearing pajamas? You can at The Royal Sonesta New Orleans because just downstairs from your room is Desire Oyster Bar. In addition to noteworthy bivalve dishes, the restaurant is also known for its well-executed Creole classics such as red beans and rice, jambalaya, po'boys, and shrimp and grits.
4. The Hotel Doubles As An Art Museum. Composed of over 7000 works by artists such as Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Sol Lewitt, Malcolm Morley and others, The Royal Sonesta's art collection will make you stop and stare in a good way as you meander through its corridors.
Many, many machines mean you can work out without the wait.
3. The Biggest Hotel Fitness Room in New Orleans. End-stop. Okay, so most people do not go to The Big Easy to work out but if you, like Bridey, require regular cardio to stay sane (and like to watch The Real Housewives while you get your sweat on), then you will LOVE the Royal Sonesta's very recently remodeled fitness facility with more than 10 ellipticals, treadmills, and standing and recumbent bikes, all equipped with personal televisions.
One of the best gumbos in town.
2. Death By Gumbo at Restaurant R'Evolution. There are a litany of reasons to eat and drink at Restaurant R'Evolution including knowledgeable barkeep Brian, signature cocktails such as the Barbecue Mary and All-Day Old-Fashioned, and the well-crafted menu by Chef Folse. But the most compelling aspect of this establishment is the Death By Gumbo, a decadent, smoky quail broth featuring a whole quail stuffed with oysters, sausage, and rice. You may think you have died and gone to heaven; however, be glad you didn't because now you can order a second helping.
You couldn't be closer to the French Quarter.
1. Location, Location, Location. Within walking distance of the most famous bars, restaurants, cafes, and antique dealerships in the French Quarter, The Royal Sonesta is perhaps the best home base for visitors looking to be where the action is without having to use a car. I mean, what's the purpose of going to a city with loose open container laws unless you're going to walk and sip?