Experience the famed Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans. The Garden District location is the ideal setting for the historic hotel with luxurious rooms and award-winning restaurants.
The fabulous Pontchartrain Hotel lives up to its reputation as one of the top spots in New Orleans. You’ll find cozy, well-appointed rooms in this magnificent historic hotel and award-winning restaurants and bars in a perfect Garden District location.
We recently stayed at the Pontchartrain and immediately loved the vibe. Upon entering the dark and cool lobby, I felt an instant respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. The muted jewel tones and luxurious fabrics in the lobby proved to have an immediate calming effect.
At check-in, we began to notice just how charming the hotel was. Instead of card keys, real metal keys lock and unlock each room. I love this historical touch. Keep an eye on your key because you’ll pay $250 if you lose it! The keys are just one throwback to earlier times at the Pontchartrain Hotel.
A Short History of The Pontchartrain Hotel
Originally opened as a luxury apartment building in 1927, all the guest rooms and suites are oversized, in keeping with the elegant and luxurious style. Since the property was converted into a luxury hotel in the 1940s, it’s been known for its southern charm and elevated comfort, all with a dramatic flair. You’ll notice the draped fabrics, plush, textured furnishings, and creative artwork throughout the property.
Experience Comfort with a Vintage Twist at The Pontchartrain Hotel
According to Pontchartrain Hotel general manager Joshua Robichaux, whom I interviewed for this article, the hotel was initially built as a luxury residential apartment building, and the 106 guestrooms and suites are larger than average. Our deluxe queen room was immense. With a separate bedroom and an ultra-comfortable couch in the sitting area, my friend and I had plenty of space to relax. The velvet sofa in our room showcased the comfort, style, and charm we found throughout the property. The papered walls gave the space a European feel that we loved. The trip in the historic elevator up to our floor was a perfect touch, and zigzagging down the angled hallway toward our room only added to the hotel’s charm.
As nice as the guestrooms are, things only get better outside your room. After a long day sightseeing in the French Quarter, we returned to the hotel to relax and unwind. A hot shower pumped some life back into us, and we were ready for before-dinner drinks. I loved the fact that the Pontchartrain had two bars and restaurants onsite. No need to go off-property for eating and drinking if you don’t want to. And these aren’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill hotel eateries and cocktail lounges.
The On-Site Bayou Bar Promises a Good Time
Our sweet bartender at the Bayou Bar whipped up a couple of refreshing gin and tonics as we took in the tiny space on the hotel’s first floor. The rich tones of the refurbished bar stocked with all sorts of bottles and the bare wood floor create a cozy ambiance.
Along one wall is an elaborate eight-by-fifteen-foot mural created by Charles Reinike. This original mural, done in 1975, depicts the bayou country’s beauty. According to the property owners, AJ Capital Partners, Reinike created the mural freehand, not from a drawing. He recreated images from his memory of the bayou and put them on paper. This creative wonder is a stunning addition and adds a creative ambiance to the bar.
This tiny bar space holds no more than 50 people at most, but what tails it could tell. We learned that this is the spot where the New Orleans Saints football franchise was conceived and announced in 1966. This casual tavern was also a hangout for Frank Sinatra and writer Truman Capote from time to time back in the day.
The bar is hopping these days, especially when the band is playing. We tried to stop in after dinner several times, and it was so jammed there was room not even to stand. So my advice is to go early. It’s a lively crowd and looks like a rollickingly good time!
While you’re there, try a Sazerac cocktail. According to our bartender, this is known as the official drink of New Orleans. It’s a little stiff for me, but some people swear by them, and it’s said that the Sazerac cocktail started the entire cocktail movement in the U.S.
The Hot Tin RoofTop Bar is Tops at The Pontchartrain Hotel
While the Bayou Bar is located on the main floor of the Pontchartrain, another bar is located up at the top of the hotel. The iconic Hot Tin Rooftop Bar is known far and wide as a New Orleans experience not to miss. We went to the space for late-night cocktails and walked into a crowded scene where it was elbow to elbow at the bar. The crowd brought a vibrant energy that made things super fun. I wouldn’t want to go to an empty bar!
The Vibe at the Hot Tin RoofTop Bar
Designed by Andrew Alford, the Hot Tin is a hot ticket for hotel guests, tourists, and locals. We learned a little backstory: playwright Tenessee Williams lived at the hotel while writing a portion of A Streetcar Named Desire. The Hot Tin name and design are a nod to Tennessee Williams and that period in American history. The style of the bar captures the look and feel of a 1940’s artist loft. The space is warm and inviting, with period decor and furnishings combined with new elements, so it has an edgy feel.
According to hotel management, the vibe of the bar shifts throughout the day. In the early afternoons, people are there to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and watch the sunset. On weekdays, guests can easily connect with the bar team and discuss the finer points of craft cocktails. Weekend days are busy with the after-brunch crowd, while weekend nights are bustling with guests enjoying live music.
Fabulous City Views
The big draw when we were there was the fantastic rooftop patio. We grabbed our cocktails from the bartender and went outside to take in the amazing views. We were a little late to watch the sun go down, but we enjoyed seeing the city lit up. It’s a gorgeous view no matter what time you get there.
Delish Dining and More at The Jack Rose
More gorgeous views can be found in the award-winning Jack Rose Restaurant. We were impressed even before we tasted a bite of food at Jack Rose. The restaurant is stunning, with a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns everywhere you look.
There are plenty of places to look and get lost at Jack Rose. Each time you visit, it can be a different experience depending on where you spend your time. Visit the lounge for drinks and small plates. Venture to the patio for outdoor seating, or grab a table in one of the dining areas.
Discover Multiple Dining Enclaves at The Pontchartrain Hotel Flagship Restaurant
The dining areas include the Rose Room, The Jack Room, The Mile High Pie Club Room, and the Living Room. They’re all beautiful and distinctively decorated. The live plants, mirrors, colorful portrait gallery, and layered design elements give the restaurant a whimsy, fun, and cozy atmosphere. The way the restaurant incorporates plants is brilliant and only adds to the charm. Chef Brian’s mother, Debbie Landry, is the talent behind the plants for Jack Rose and also manages the holiday decorating.
According to the restaurant management company, Jack Rose is meant to be a fun, celebratory restaurant. A disco ball is hanging from the ceiling among the ferns in the dining room. Jack Rose is on my shortlist for one of the most creative and distinctive restaurant spaces I’ve ever visited.
Founders Emery Whalen and Brian Landry, both veterans of the New Orleans hospitality scene, came up with the concept and are involved in the day-to-day running of the restaurant. You’ll often find Emery working in the host stand and Brian in the kitchen.
Dig into the Creative Menu at Jack Rose
Brian Landry is the venue’s Executive Chef and, as a native of New Orleans, is a passionate supporter of regional foodways and a dedicated conservationist of Gulf seafood. According to the hotel’s team, his passion for local seafood began in childhood due to frequent family fishing trips.
This passion could be why my seafood-heavy dinner was so tasty. Everything was expertly prepared and ultra-fresh, starting with the Seafood Arancini and ending with the Gulf Fish with walnut Agrodolce. The small yet varied menu will appeal to seafood lovers, pasta lovers, and carnivores. Next time, I’m trying the best-selling duck and andouille gumbo. I also want to try the super popular weekend brunch.
Your Stay at the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans
There’s so much we loved about the Pontchartrain Hotel. It’s a plush, visually stunning, historic property in the heart of the New Orleans action. If you like a vintage vibe with a modern flair and want plenty of food and drink options on-site, this is the place for your next stay in New Orleans. Let Wander With Wonder be your guide to more to see in Louisiana or when looking for luxury accommodations anywhere.