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... widow spider statue that leapt out of its hidey-hole in the underground exhibit (well, only Kelsey screamed in terror and nearly ran out of the museum completely). Then, just down the road, we loaded up on popcorn and Diet Coke before watching The Dark Knight Rises in all its Imax glory.
It was about time we heard some real jazz in New Orleans (the musicians on the street weren't quite cutting it anymore, although they were everywhere). ...
... heat. We found a Popeyes to eat at (it is LA chicken as my daughter would say!) and then headed back to the hotel. We came back, swam for about an hour and we all fell fast asleep after we showered. The heat and the pool will take a lot out of you! ;) Overall, a great day. The kids liked it so much, we are already planning our next ...
... font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; ">Extreme heat and no shade, followed by freezing your butt off when the sun goes down and still not being able to go home yet
... to start my blog prior to the trip so others can get an idea of the planning involved before even getting on the plane. Traveling 101 for dummies I suppose.
My March will begin something like this...
Mardi Gras here in New Orleans
Drive across the country to Seattle (over through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Oregon, and into Washington)
10 days in Maui
Flight to ...
... a lot of colorful history to the city, much of which does explain its "free spirit." The guide basically said, "as a city settled by prisoners, pirates, and prostitutes, what else would you expect?" We did get to visit the lower 9th Ward, which saw the worst of Katrina's devastation. I joked as we drove through depressed neighborhoods on the way that the 9th Ward couldn't possibly be any worse. I was very wrong. Six years later, we were ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Soniat House New Orleans
Old world charm and elegance
Stayed ther three years ago. Old world charm and elegance. The way the south and the quarter used to be. Reccomend a room on the courtyard first floor only and some past knowledge of the area. This is an experience you will never forget but make sure you are there for tea and use a cab after dark. Our room was decorated in true old world NO style with 15ft ceilings. Would go back in a minute to sleep in a huge four poster bed. If you like a modern sterilized atmosphere this may not be what you are looking for so keep your thinking cap on and realize you are in the Big Easy.
Not Bad, but wouldn't stay again
Excited about going to New Orleans for the first time, we hopped in a cab at the airport and directed the driver to the Sonait House in the French Quarter. After having extensively researched all of the hotels/inns in the area, this one looked like the best combination of quaint yet nice. Upon arriving in the French Quarter, we were first surprised at how dirty/run down the general area was. I mentioned that it was almost like the city cleaned itself up one day a year and that's when all of the tourism pictures were taken. Anyway, the Soniat was average at best from the outside. The room and grounds were also not as nice as pictured on the website, but I guess they could be considered charming for the area. The "antiques" seemed more like junk and really didn't add anything to the atmosphere of the room. There was turndown service and a breakfast, which was unremarkable and overly priced. The location is a little further away from things than I would have preferred, but it was quiet. If I went back to New Orleans, I would not stay here again, but would try out another inn or larger hotel, such as the W.
Here are the facts that have left us dissatisfied with the Soniat House. Large roaches were found in our friend's room ("although, this is New Orleans"). A concierge convinced us not to take one of the tours we had researched by offering to book us a private tour that the hotel had recommended in the past. The tour guide shows up 20 minutes late, and within fifteen minutes, is muttering to himself and oddly playing with his keys. His stories begin to disintegrate as he takes us to his apartment and asks us to tell him a story. We call off the tour after the next stop is a bar and he cannot pay for his drink- he was the only one to order anything- and the evening is lost. Through our communication with the hotel, we find out that the hotel's policy for recommending tours was broken, and that the concierge lied to us about recommending the tour in the past. We have yet to receive a formal explanation or apology from the hotel in this regard, just this comment from the concierge: "I'm sorry you did not have a good time." The same night, we returned to the hotel to find a pair of prescription eyeglasses missing from our room, where they were last seen (a fact).
They are not found, and the hotel offers nothing. After continued requests of reimbursement for the glasses over the next week and a half, the hotel offers only apologies and we are left with no choice but to replace them out of our own pocket. My opinion is that we not treated as if we were staying at "One of America's Finest Small Hotels." Actually, we were treated as if these problems were our fault and that our business didn't matter.
Excellent lodging choice
We stayed here 3 years ago, via Andrew Harper's Q-Club. We were upgraded to a suite from a deluxe. The service is top-notch. The honor bar is a nice touch. We took the breakfast one day and thought it was overpriced. The rest of our stay we just wanted coffee, and were surprised to find that was complimentary. I especially liked the location a few blocks away from the hustle and bustle of Bourbon Street and Jackson Square--quiet and serene. We have a trip booked for September and are staying at Soniat House this time too and will report on our visit.
If your credit card can stand the whack (this place ain't cheap, my friend) , Soniat House is definitely the best place to stay in the French Quarter, and probably the best hotel in New Orleans. With a terrific location, a charming if faded elegance (oh so typical of New Orleans), a world-class staff, rooms filled with genuine antique furnishings, a great honor bar, those seductive breakfast biscuits, AC that really works, a great courtyard that is candlelit in the evenings, wonderful art on the walls (some of it on loan from the museum), Soniat House is hard to beat. We had a great time and, with the exception of one crabby and unhelpful guy on the nightdesk, we have nothing but praise for Soniat. If you go, be sure to get a table at Stella!, which is a restaurant that's practically across the street. When we ate there in late June 2003, it was far better than Emeril's or Commander's.
I want to haunt this place when I die
This place feels like it has a spell over it, from the second you walk inside the courtyard and the heat and noise from the Quarter are instantly replaced with cool air emanating from the stones and a light trickling sound from the fountains. The service is invisible and ever-present. You WILL NOT be able to figure out how the staff knows you need something-- they appear out of nowhere as soon as you realize you need something. The rooms are individually decorated in antiques and art on loan from the museum of art. I stayed in a semi-suite, across the street from the main hotel-- smaller courtyard, sloping balconies, random stairways and corridors-- tons of character. As for the breakfast, I have eaten breakfast at Soniat House and I have eaten breakfast at Cafe du Monde; both are fantastic, but I wouldn't say not to eat at Soniat House just because it costs much more. The previous reviewer failed to mention that the juice is fresh-squeezed and the jam is homemade. Also, the coffee is a large pot of strong French coffee with scalded milk on the side, and what would you do with more than two large biscuits each, anyway? Regarding baths, I had no problem with hot water, and the tub was huge. Finally, to anyone deciding between here and Windsor Court: I had tea at Windsor Court and it was beautiful, but it could have been anywhere. Their website actually likens it to an English country house. Soniat House is in New Orleans, and there's no mistaking that.
Great service at a steep price
My wife and I are frequent guests in small inns and bed & breakfasts. This was our first trip to New Orleans. Having read such wonderful comments about the Soniat House, we wanted to stay at this inn. The service was excellent -- felt that everyone from the porter to the innkeepers were very available and knowledgable. We stayed in a courtyard room which was very quiet and romantic. One negative was that my wife ran out of hot water and I had a cold shower. For over $200 a night, hot water should not be a luxury item. Additionally, the continental breakfast was overpriced. For two people ($24.76 incl. tax) we received four biscuits, two glasses of juice and a pot of cafe au lait. The biscuits were burned and for that same price, the next morning, I walked the five blocks to Cafe du Monde, and purchased two orders of beignets, two bottles of water, and two t-shirts for less money. So my recommendation is to skip the Soniat breakfast and get the beignets for $1.47 for three. Overall, it was an average experience, next time we are in New Orleans, we will try another inn, but as mentioned before, the service was fantastic.
Wonderful and truly elegant, the Soniat house exceeded our expectations. The physical beauty of the courtyard, the garden, and the room we stayed in will appeal to the toughest of critic and most travled of visitor - be forwarned, this is NOT the place to go if you like high activity or expect 24 hour room service or a lively bar/lounge. Rather, go here if you appreciate class, charm, and sincere (but not gushy) attention to detail.
Ahhhhh.......Nothing Better in NOLA
After much deliberation, my friend and I stayed here on our first trip to New Orleans. I could not have been more pleased. It is quiet, inconspicuous, and beautiful all around. The courtyard is more stunning than any garden I have visited, and it's all yours. The rooms are spacious, with antiques and paintings, and the softest bed you have ever slept in. Even the bathroom has the nicest shower you've ever taken. They have turn-down service at night! (classy!) The staff is there at your every whim, and are super nice. If you are looking to get away from the lights and smell of Bourbon Street, I highly recommend the Soniat House. You will not be disappointed.
The most perfect place in New Orleans
The classiest, cleanest, most lovely hotel in the French Quarter. A+++++ I love it. NOthing is better than coffee and biscuits in that courtyard or drinks there in the evening. This is THE only place I'll stay in New Orleans. Here you get the true feel of the heart of the quiet, classy, old world New Orleans.