If you’re an art enthusiast, head to the Lower Garden District. The Henry Howard Hotel, named after the renowned New Orleans architect who built the 1860s Greek Revival mansion, features 18 luxe rooms calling your name. The hotel includes gorgeous galleries with walk-through windows, a curated mix of vintage and custom-designed furniture, commissioned artwork and custom iron beds, plus a parlor bar and a backyard courtyard that is perfect for enjoying with a drink in hand. Stylin’! Overnight rates from $189, henryhowardhotel.com
An edgy new hotel known as Moxy New Orleans recently opened in the heart of the Central Business District, with 108 tech-enabled rooms. Moxy Hotels is Marriott International’s new millennial-focused brand; the New Orleans location is only the second to open in the United States (after Tempe, Ariz.). The boutique hotel sports an industrial-chic aesthetic with polished concrete floors, exposed concrete columns and open ceilings; mobile check-in and check-out; internet TVs; and vibrant lobby spaces. Cool local DJs and acupuncture happy hours are de rigueur. Overnight rates $129-$299, moxyhotels.com
Ace Hotel New Orleans recently arrived on the scene in the popular Warehouse District. The lobby features a palette of dark grays, greens and eggplant; custom and found lighting; restored terrazzo flooring; and bespoke furnishings inspired by the art deco building, which was originally built in 1928. The 234 guest rooms feature bespoke sofas, large shuttered windows, area rugs and full wet bars. The hotel also features a courtyard, Josephine Estelle (an osteria-style restaurant from James Beard Award-nominated chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman), Three Keys (a happening music venue), Alto (a rooftop garden with poolside dining, cocktails and panoramic views of the city), Stumptown Coffee Roasters (a classic cafe) and a gallery space. Next door to the hotel (and part of its offerings) is Seaworthy, featuring a variety of oysters from the Gulf Coast, East Coast and West Coast, plus a seasonal selection of sustainably sourced seafood and handcrafted cocktails. Overnight rates from $149, acehotel.com/neworleans
Another new boutique hotel to debut in the CBD is the Catahoula Hotel, featuring 35 rooms in a restored creole townhouse that was originally built in 1845. Here you’ll find custom beds, vanities made from Louisiana cypress wood, exposed brick and plaster walls, flat-screen TVs and bath products by Aveda. The Catahoula features a rooftop terrace with wooden deck and pergola, lounge furniture, large palms and skyline views of the city. There is also a cafe with an attached courtyard in which to enjoy the hotel’s boutique coffee program from PT’s Coffee. The food and beverage program includes a Peruvian-themed menu and pisco cocktails. Overnight rates from $129, catahoulahotel.com
Local artist Ashley Longshore (ashleylongshore.com) describes herself as an “urban hippie,” which shines through in her pop art paintings. From Jesus surrounded in Louis Vuitton to Kate Moss depicted as a nun, Longshore’s art is bold and brave. Big names who are counted as her collectors include Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Eli Manning and Penelope Cruz. Stop by her new gallery on Magazine Street, and be sure to check out her famed Audrey Hepburn portraits.
Another new gallery is Frank Relle Photography (frankrelle.com), which recently opened on Royal Street in the French Quarter. Relle, a New Orleans native, is known for his photographic views on the beauty, culture and history of New Orleans and the surrounding region. His work is included in the private collections of Wynton Marsalis, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Brees, Sheryl Crow and Kanye West.
One of the best new restaurants in town is Kenton’s (kentonsrestaurant.com), an American whiskey bar and restaurant that recently opened on Magazine Street near Audubon Park. The resto features a brass-wrapped oyster bar; an 18-seat white marble main bar; a spacious dining room with generous booths and banquettes; and a space for private events, which doubles as a second dining room. The menu highlights American food anchored by a wood-fired grill that produces smoked, grilled and charred dishes (mostly seafood) that pair well with bourbon. Did we mention the beverage menu has upward of 150 different American whiskeys?
Located on Freret Street is the new Bar Frances (barfrances.com), a modern bistro that brings elevated dining to this burgeoning corridor of New Orleans. The 85-seat indoor-outdoor restaurant features an impressive selection of French-focused wines, a variety of classic cocktails and New American cuisine with modern French influences. Small plates (from $7) include tasty tidbits such as red snapper crudo ($12). Meanwhile, the seasonal entrees are locally sourced and include options such as a pan-seared duck breast ($24). Bar Frances features Italian Carrara marble set against warm woods for a cozy ambience.
Head to Trinity (trinityrestaurantneworleans.com), a hot new restaurant in the lower French Quarter with a menu that defines Louisiana cuisine. With a $1 million makeover, the multilevel space features a wraparound food bar that overlooks the open-air kitchen, an upstairs dining room and an outdoor balcony situated above the bustling French Quarter. Start your night at the expansive marble bar, and try one of the boozecentric cocktails such as the SRP Punk ($10) made with house-infused roasted-peach rye, lemon, basil, sugar, peach bitters and salt. Then choose from an assortment of oysters (from $9), appetizers such as crawfish and fontina beignets ($11) and entrees such as Gulf Coast frutti di mare ($31).
Set in a historic plantation home built in 1881 on Magazine Street, Cavan (cavannola.com) is a coastal American restaurant serving rustic, hearty cuisine. Expect seafood dishes, such as seared scallops over cheddar grits ($29), as well as a 14-ounce prime rib-eye ($52) and a grilled duck breast ($25). The interior design boasts ornate plasterwork, oversize chandeliers, wide pine floors and floor-to-ceiling windows. The two-story restaurant features a dining room and bar on both floors, plus an outdoor courtyard.