Heading to The New Orleans Jazz Festival? Here's Why You Should Book a Room at the Ritz

Photos Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans

The amazing New Orleans Jazz Festival is fast approaching, drawing thousands of music fans to the fabled city to see the likes of Elton John, The Who, Jimmy Buffett, Tony Bennett with Lady Gaga, John Legend, Keith Urban and more. Many of the fest’s attendees and performers have rooms and suites booked at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, aka the “Crown Jewel of the Crescent City.” The historic hotel on the broad palm-lined avenue of Canal Street adjacent to the French Quarter occupies two edifices: the Maison Blanche and S. H. Kress & Co. buildings. Both were built in the early 1900’s in the Beaux Arts style.

the ritz-carlton, new orleans

The 14-story hotel originally opened in 2000 following a $250-million restoration and renovation. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005 it was closed for 15 months while another $150 million was spent restoring it to its glory. In 2011, a $9 million room renovation was undertaken, and other revamps followed suit in 2013 and 2014. The antique and art-filled décor of the AAA Four-Diamond property is inspired by the Garden District’s gracious Antebellum mansions, making living like an old-school aristocrat while in town, perfectly possible.

the ritz-carlton, new orleans

The most recent renovations saw the creation of the Ritz-Carlton Suite. The 2,800-square-foot digs boast a separate dining room with a butler's pantry, a billiards table, 1.5 baths and the pièce de résistance, a huge terrace with panoramic views of the city and riverfront. Starting at $2,500 per night, the opulent suite is on the hotel’s private access Club Level. The Club Level—a signature feature of the brand across the world—is particularly popular with discerning travelers. Guests are afforded dedicated concierges and continuous culinary offerings throughout the day in well-appointed lounges. The hotel has 527 rooms in all including 37 suites and 74 Club Level accommodations.

the ritz-carlton, new orleans

The property has one of the most beautiful Club Lounges we’ve seen at any Ritz property, combining gracious drawing rooms with richly-upholstered furniture and marble fireplaces, a library with overstuffed leather chairs, dark wood accents and amenities for conducting business meetings or getting some work done while you enjoy your surroundings. The hotel also features a courtyard planted with lush greenery and a soothing fountain, which serves as the background for weddings, cocktails and special events. Also, the 25,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa features 22 treatment rooms, a café, fitness center and boutique. Its experienced therapists perform more than 100 treatments, including some with local flair like the Marie Laveau Voodoo Love Bath and Massage.

the ritz-carlton, new orleans

Of course in such a musical milieu the hotel has its own in-house entertainment. The lobby-level Davenport Lounge is named in honor of the hotel's headline entertainer Jeremy Davenport. The renowned jazz singer and trumpeter toured internationally with Harry Connick Jr.'s Big Band for six years and was a regular on Emeril Lagasse’s cooking show. During the day, the lounge offers a refined setting for afternoon tea, while classic cocktails take over come nightfall.

The likes of Sting, Paul McCartney, and Diana Krall have all been in to see Davenport perform. So has the great Aretha Franklin, who just celebrated her 73rd birthday with a private bash at the hotel. The Duke Ellington Jazz All Stars performed, and guests included Attorney General Eric Holder and record industry impresario Clive Davis.

the ritz-carlton, new orleans

And the Ritz also has the food scene covered. Its M Bistro is overseen by Chef Thierry Connault, formerly Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, Rose Hall in Jamaica. M bistro’s menu is “an indigenous approach to the preparation of the finest meats, seafood and produce from farmers in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.” That means finding fresh, organic, seasonal, local and farm-to-table products on your plate, always. Special reservations are available for one of the eatery’s three semi-private “cheaters’ booths” and its private wine room. For a truly exalted dining experience, try the Blackened Red Fish with dirty rice, black-eyed peas, fried okra, and tomato gravy. As the London Daily Mail noted, “everything about this hotel just oozes class,” but that doesn’t mean no one’s having fun; on the contrary, everyone is.

the ritz-carlton, new orleans

If you miss Jazz Fest, which begins April 24, not to worry, there are some other upcoming NOLA events well-worth attending. The 23rd annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience takes place May 20-23, bringing together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders. And the 13th annual Tales of the Cocktail is coming up in July with all things spirits related. This month, the hotel debuted its first art installation in its new gallery windows to collaborate with artists and events throughout the seasons. The inaugural installation by New Orleans native and award-winning artist Kit Wohl is entitled There's Nothing More New Orleans than a Festival

Jared Paul Stern

Jared Paul Stern, JustLuxe's Editor-at-Large, is the Executive Editor of Maxim magazine and has written for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the New York Times' T magazine, GQ, WWD, Vogue, New York magazine, Details, Hamptons magazine, Playboy, BlackBook, the New York Post, Man of the World, and Bergdorf Goodman magazine among others. The founding editor of the Page Six magazine, he has al...(Read More)

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