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Ace of the South

Art Deco Meets Hipster Chic in NOLA’s Warehouse District

By Jordan Staggs | Photography courtesy of Ace Hotel New Orleans

In the growing world of carefully curated experiences, Ace Hotel has perfected the art. The trendy chain has properties across the United States, including locations in New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Chicago, to name a few, and has expanded its offerings to London and Panama City, Panama, since its inception in 1999. Ace’s luxury digs in the New Orleans Warehouse District offers guests a retreat just steps from all the excitement of the city—but tucked far enough away from the action to create an oasis for those looking to relax after a busy day (or a long night).

Ace Hotel New Orleans opened in March 2016 with 234 guest rooms, fine dining, a rooftop bar and pool, a coffee shop, and, in true New Orleans fashion, its own live music venue. The art deco building, within walking distance of the city’s famed French Quarter, was once a department store but now houses Ace Hotel’s simple yet refined persona. The guest rooms come in many shapes and sizes, including suites, but all feature beautiful hand-painted armoires, midcentury-style Smeg refrigerators, custom bedding, and luxury bath products by Rudy’s and Pearl+. The decor was carefully selected by New York–based design firm Roman and Williams, known for its modern yet functional approach. Many rooms come equipped with Martin acoustic guitars, turntables, and a vinyl collection, allowing guests to get a taste of the city’s famous music scene before they even step out the door.

Many rooms come equipped with Martin acoustic guitars, turntables, and a vinyl collection, allowing guests to get a taste of the city’s famous music scene before they even step out the door.

In the lobby is a music scene all its own, as no Ace Hotel in the Big Easy could possibly be complete without a performance venue. Three Keys offers almost nightly entertainment, from jazz to soul to disco and even the spoken word. Shows are open to the public and most are free with an RSVP, so be sure to check out the offerings during your stay. Three Keys’ checkered dance floor is steps from the supple leather furnishings and low ambient lighting of the Lobby Bar, where craft cocktails, wine, and beer are available.

Continuing its curation of quintessential New Orleans experiences, Ace Hotel delivers when it comes to dining. Its crown jewel—or perhaps shining star—is Josephine Estelle. Memphis natives and James Beard–nominated chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman fuse Italian favorites with Southern culture in this beautiful art deco–inspired dining room and bar, open for all three meals, plus weekend brunch and happy hour. Reservations are recommended for dinner and are worth it—try starting out with the charcuterie board or Poole’s beets (or both!), then enjoy any of the pasta dishes “to nourish” your appetite, and choose from several simple but classic mains such as the pompano, the pork chop, or the ribeye. As you feast beneath the palm-leaf mosaics and the Edison bulbs that evoke the feel of a Jazz Age lounge, sip signature cocktails with appropriate names like the Things Remembered (sparkling wine, cranberry, rosemary, and orange), the Tailored Fit (vodka, cinnamon, satsuma, and sparkling Riesling), the Creole Apothecary (rye, Peychaud’s Aperitivo, ginger, and lemon), and more.

For another spectacular brunch option, late-night cocktails, dinner, or fresh oysters, head just down the block to Seaworthy, Ace’s casual hideaway with an extensive bar menu, a nautical theme, and a charming courtyard perfect for enjoying mimosas or Bloody Marys on the weekend.

After brunch, visit Ace Hotel’s “neighbors,” three uniquely curated shopping experiences, each featuring New Orleans–based artists and brands. Defend New Orleans (DNO) offers a collection of branded merchandise such as T-shirts, caps, and accessories like tote bags and collectible enameled pins, plus music and artwork from locals. Sales from DNO often support local nonprofits, are used to host artistic events, or go toward production of new creative content in the community. Next door, Freda describes itself as a collection of “makers” from Louisiana, Texas, and beyond coming together to form “a high desert gem of a lifestyle boutique.” Its assortment of goodies is interesting enough to keep shoppers occupied for an extended length of time for such a small space, as they sift through handcrafted jewelry, apparel and accessories, artwork, books, vinyl records, apothecary items, and more. The original Freda was founded in tiny Marfa, Texas, by accessories designer Susannah Lipsey, who brought her unique style to Ace—and New Orleans—last year; she has already made a splash creating headbands and other whimsical pieces perfect for Mardi Gras. Last but not least, stop in at Friend for contemporary menswear and accessories, plus books, artwork, music, and other lifestyle products. If Freda is the desert hippie who wandered into the big city, Friend is her laid-back yet street-savvy big brother who’s always down to check out the new band performing at Three Keys or the new art installation over on Magazine Street. Be sure to pop into all three unique shops during your stay to find the best souvenirs and gifts for friends at home.

Although you won’t want to leave Ace Hotel’s gorgeous interiors and friendly staff behind, rest assured that upon checkout, you’ll find yourself planning your next trip to New Orleans.

Back at the hotel, punctuate your leisurely afternoon of strolling through the Garden District with a rest at Alto, Ace’s ultimate happy hour oasis and rooftop garden. Lounge near the pool and enjoy views of the Big Easy while you sip craft cocktails and savor a seasonal menu of small bites curated by Chefs Ticer and Hudman. (The hotel also has 24/7 room service, in case you’re wondering.) Or grab a pick-me-up at an Ace staple, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which opened at the hotel’s Portland location in 2007 and has been a guest favorite ever since.

Although you won’t want to leave Ace Hotel’s gorgeous interiors and friendly staff behind, rest assured that upon checkout, you’ll find yourself planning your next trip to New Orleans—or perhaps to one of the hotel chain’s other nine locations—for another carefully crafted stay.

— V —


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