Dec 16, 2012

Scenes from the Place d’Armes Hotel

View of the French Quarter courtyard at the Place d'Armes Hotel

I’ve stayed at the Place d’Armes Hotel in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter more times than I can count.  It has to be my favorite hotel in the Big Easy, and it’s my first recommendation for any first-time visitor to the city or anyone who plans to spend most of their time in the Quarter. 

What’s to like about the Place d’Armes Hotel?  For starters, location, location, location.  Essentially located on the corner of St. Ann and Chartres, the Place d’Armes is directly adjacent to all the action on Jackson Square and right across the street from the Presbytere, which is next to the St. Louis Cathedral and houses part of the Louisiana State Museum.  To give you a better idea, here’s the view of Jackson Square from the small balcony that’s accessible to all guests (you have to know how to find it, and fortunately, I do).

Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral in the background

I know ... I should be smiling.  

Even the view directly across from the balcony is quintessential New Orleans.  Imagine living in one of these apartments …

The most picturesque part of the Place D’Armes, however, has to be the courtyard and outdoor pool area.  It’s filled with lush tropical trees and plants and has many seating areas for you and your friends to gather or quiet nooks near a fountain where you can enjoy the morning’s coffee and newspaper with privacy. 

I've always wondered what the adjacent courtyard looked like over the wall ...
The courtyard is especially spectacular in the spring when many of the flowers are in bloom, particularly the magnolia trees that hang over the pool.  But even in November, when these photos were taken, I think it’s quite impressive.    

The 84 guest rooms are divided among eight buildings that surround the courtyard area.  As you might expect, the rooms with a balcony overlooking the streets and the courtyard rooms are the most expensive and sought after.  Truly, because of the layout, no two rooms are alike, and when I’m not picky or want to save a little money, an interior room inside the main building works just fine.  And sometimes, you get lucky and the interior room is larger than you expected.  Here’s the two bedroom room I got last time. 

It really only shows about half of the room’s size. Opposite to the beds was a chair, small table and TV cabinet, all furniture antique reproduction s that fit nicely with the hotel’s historic charm.  A small bathroom with tub and shower was adjacent to the living/sleeping area, although the sink was on outside of the bathroom.  Our room was also on the second floor, at the end of the hallway and next to the elevator – very convenient and kind of cool, considering it’s one of the few interior rooms to have windows.  In fact, our window overlooked the sign at the hotel’s entrance. 

Here’s what our room looked like from the outside … my friends and I are all such hams when it comes to the camera.

The hotel does a very good job with other amenities as well.  It has a nice parking garage adjacent to the check-out area, with in-out privileges if needed.  A desk clerk and concierge are available 24 hours.  In the morning, they open up a breakfast room for a continental breakfast of various pastries, juice and coffee.  Their croissants are my favorite.  It’s a nice option in case you don’t have the energy just yet to walk a block over to the Café du Monde.  Plus, you can take your breakfast outside to the courtyard area and enjoy a quieter start to your morning. 

One final attraction about the Place d’Armes Hotel – it’s notoriously haunted.  It’s on the site of the first boys’ school in Louisiana, which infamously was destroyed by a fire that took the lives of many of the students.  Those children reportedly haunt the property today.  And they love playing with today’s technology and gadgets.  I first found out about the haunting on my first stay at the hotel.  My ex-wife and I were taking a haunted history tour on our first night there, and the first place the tour stopped was in front of our hotel. 

I’ve experienced enough unexplainable things while staying here that I tend to believe the legend.  Of course, if you’re like me, it only adds to the charm and experience of staying there.  Then again, some of the strange things that happen at the Place d’Armes may be more attributable to the spirits you find on nearby Bourbon Street. 

Consider the location, convenience, historic charm, decent prices and other amenities, and it’s all why I always look at the Place d’Armes (or one of its sister properties – the Prince Conti Hotel just off Bourbon Street is another great find!) when I book a New Orleans vacation.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had Room 218, right next to the secret public balcony.....I know how to find it.....

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

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