With its French and Spanish architecture, dyed-in-the-wool Jazz pedigree and distinct Creole cuisine, there is no other city in North America quite like New Orleans. And with an enviable combination of location, Southern elegance, and timeless charm there is no hotel in the Big Easy quite like the Royal Sonesta New Orleans. It’s 483 recently refurbished guest rooms, traditional Southern hospitality, and dedication to the art of food will ensure that your stay at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans is a memorable one.

What and Where Is The Royal Sonesta, New Orleans?

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Situated on Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, the Royal Sonesta New Orleans is a AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel built on a Louisiana landmark dating back to the 1721 origins of New Orleans. When Adrien de Pauger, a French military engineer, first revealed his plan for the city, the 300 block of Bourbon Street where the Royal Sonesta now sits was filled with houses, carriageways, and courtyards. After Bourbon Street became a flourishing commercial powerhouse in the 19th century, the American Brewing Company set up shop over the entire block. And when the Sonnabend’s, owners of the Sonesta food brand, turned that block into a sprawling hotel in 1967, they cemented the legacy of the Royal Sonesta New Orleans.

Art Collection

Dating back to the Sonesta’s origins in the 1960s, the Sonesta Art Collection is a corporate pioneer in the collecting of works by acclaimed American and international artists. Numbering over 7000 pieces, the collection consists of tapestries, prints, sculptures, and original paintings by both up-and-coming and well-known contemporary artists.

What Are 5 Fun Things to Do at the Royal Sonesta, New Orleans?

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Restaurant R’evolution

Once you taste the traditional Cajun and Creole flavors concocted by Chefs Rick Tramonto and John Folse, you may not want to take another step outside the hotel. Just across the courtyard from the hotel entrance, this lobby-level restaurant boasts a jaw-dropping combination of French Quarter architectural motifs and modern detail, not to mention a choice of five historically-accented dining rooms available for private booking.

Bar R’evolution

Fall in love with the chef-inspired seasonal drinks, expansive international wine list, and unique menu highlighting the best of the restaurant at Bar R’evolution. You’ll think you’ve been transported back to the mid-19th century in this gaslit atmosphere. Be sure to take a moment and check out Chef Folse’s carefully composed Liquor Library, a selection of culinary oddities from his own collection.

Desire Oyster Bar

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Desire’s master shuckers are on hand to prep your finely concocted plate of fresh Gulf oysters, half-shelled or char-grilled. With a refined blend of classic and modern design, the Desire represents another aspect to the Royal Sonesta New Orleans’ fleet of in-house eateries. Desire also proves there’s more to life than oysters, as it features Shrimp & Grits, the Creole Trio (jambalaya, red beans, and rice gumbo) as well as a crawfish and fried green tomato Benedict.  Open every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Jazz Playhouse

No reservations, no cover! Enjoy some the best live jazz New Orleans has to offer without leaving the Royal Sonesta, New Orleans. Top-notch talent, killer cocktails, and tasty finger foods are all available in this luscious, smoke-free environment. The Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta New Orleans opens every day at 4 pm. Situated on the lobby level very close to the hotel’s main entrance, you’ll come for the jazz, and stay for the jazz!

Le Booze

You need only to meander through the main level courtyard and veer off the carriageway to find this preeminent whiskey destination on historic Bourbon Street. Join the seasoned locals and knowledgeable staff in sampling from one of the finest whiskey collections in New Orleans. If straight bourbon isn’t your thing, Le Booze also boasts a comprehensive cocktail menu. Accompany your chosen restorative with a little something from a selection of delectable appetizers. Come on a Sunday and watch the NFL Saints play on Le Booze’s 60” flatscreen TVs.

What Should I Do If I Only Have One Day to Spend in New Orleans?

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Walk Frenchmen Street

For those seeking an authentic experience without the tourist traps of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, the vibrant Frenchmen Street could be your answer for a day’s worth of fun in New Orleans. Hugely popular with the local population, Frenchmen Street is composed of four blocks of restaurants, bars, clubs, galleries, and live music. Not only will you find fewer crowds on Frenchmen Street, but the cuisine and cocktails will also be less expensive and the music will be better. Some call Frenchman Street the cooler cousin of well-known Bourbon Street.

Start in the morning at the Palace Market, where you’ll find a veritable shopping mecca in which locals hock their handmade jewelry and works of art. Try lunch at the colorful Dat Dog (hot dogs and sausages) or The Praline Connection (Southern soul food and homemade pralines) before heading to the New Orleans Jazz Museum, just off Frenchmen Street on Esplanade Avenue. Take in some great jazz by talented musicians during your evening meal at The Spotted Cat or The Three Muses. With their extensive drink menus and good food, you’ll wrap up the perfect day in New Orleans the right way.

Discover the French Quarter

Here is your one-of-a-kind, quintessential New Orleans experience. This colorful neighborhood has so much to do you may require more than a day in which to do it, but if you’ve only got one you won’t have a single dull moment. Also called the Vieux Carre, or “Old Square,” the French Quarter is the heart and soul of New Orleans and is a National Historic Landmark. The French Quarter is the site of the first French colony in the area, established in 1718. With street names still proudly displayed in their original French, narrow cobblestone streets, and classic Creole architecture, you’ll think that you’ve been transplanted two or three centuries back in history.

The biggest attraction in the French Quarter is undoubtedly Bourbon Street, where you can find street busking, fortune tellers, and ruckus bars around every turn. Try the day tour on a mule-drawn carriage beginning on Decatur Street at Jackson Square. No matter what, you’ll be smitten with the local architecture: baroque balconies, ornate cloisters, and rushing fountains abound.

Visit the Garden District

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If you travel just three miles southwest of the French Quarter, you can explore the Garden District and have a gander at some of the city’s grandest houses. A neighborhood steeped in history, this tree-covered and ivy-covered sector of New Orleans could be the peaceful break you need from the crowds on Bourbon Street.

At the intersection of Prytania Street and Washington Avenue, you’ll find shops and cafes where you can relax and savor the grandeur of historic New Orleans. Try taking the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, or go on a guided walking tour. At the end of the day, catch a carriage to trendy bistro Coquette for new American-style cuisine, or Joey K’s for homestyle Cajun food and enormous mugs of beer.

Take a Cemetery Tour

With many cemeteries built above ground to guard against high water levels, the tombs in New Orleans’ “Cities of the Dead” are often adorned with intricate designs influenced by French and Spanish architectural styles. Some of the older cemeteries are charmingly dilapidated, with crumbling stone and patches of wild grass embellishing a quaint spectral atmosphere.

Even though they are situated in more distressed parts of town, The St. Louis Cemeteries are the most frequented. You can find them just south of the Treme neighborhood. St. Louis Cemetery Number One is named on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to the remains of a truly unique cast of New Orleans characters, Bernard de Marigny (infamous playboy and once the president of the Louisiana Senate) and Marie Laveau (the New Orleans “Voodoo Queen”) among them. Cinephiles will appreciate Lafayette Cemetery Number One, located south of Central City, as it was used in the film “Interview With a Vampire.”

Ride on the Steamboat Natchez

The one remaining New Orleans Steamboat, the Steamboat Natchez began its career in 1975 as a classic sternwheeler craft that carries visitors on a tour of the mighty Mississippi River. The Steamboat Natchez tours will take visitors back to the age of refined steamboat travel. The captain will even address his guests using an old-fashioned megaphone, as ragtime floats through the air.

A jazz dinner cruise and a jazz harbor cruise are just two of the options available on the Steamboat Natchez tour list, as well as a Sunday jazz brunch tour. Make sure to reserve your tour with ticket prices starting a $34 for adults. All tours will launch and dock at the Steamboat Natchez Lighthouse Ticket Office at the junction of Toulouse Street and the Mississippi River.

Final Words

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Only one place in America can boast of colonial European architecture, Creole cuisine, and the best jazz in the world: New Orleans. And only one hotel is perfectly located in the heart of the popular French Quarter and home to some of the best local food and drink: the Royal Sonesta New Orleans.

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