When my husband and I arrived at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans to celebrate our 13-year wedding anniversary in a city that neither of us had visited before, we actually felt a sense of comfort. You see, this was our second stay at a Ritz-Carlton property (the first being in Orlando, which I blogged about here). It was good to “be back” under a roof that we were confident would be clean, lovely and full of excellent service (an extra special treat for busy parents). When you stay at a property of this caliber, you discover what luxury truly is. Some folks may be intimidated by a fancy schmancy hotel (I, on the other hand, am obsessed with them), but I can assure you that intimidation is not a part of staying at The R-C NOLA. In fact, I’d say it’s quite the opposite. The staff was welcoming and warm, and the place was filled with guests from all walks of life.
After we admired the gorgeous holiday decor in the lobby with jaws on the floor, Floyd got us checked in (and later coincidentally checked us out, too), then we headed up to our room on the 12th floor. It was clean and comfortable with a big ol’ King-sized bed, a coffee maker and a cool view of the river, the rooftop and the courtyard. It was a Saturday, and there were multiple weddings to occur at the hotel that evening. Preparations were underway on the roof and in the courtyard, and we were lucky enough to hear a bit of the band’s warm-up.
That rooftop band was the first of MANY we’d see throughout our visit to The Big Easy. Bands are playing on every other corner in The French Quarter, and The R-C NOLA does not disappoint in the music department. In fact, The Davenport Lounge at the hotel is actually named after jazz musician, Jeremy Davenport, whom we were so happy to see perform during our stay. Jeremy and his talented band delighted us with some classics, both Christmas and non, that encouraged a wide variety of patrons to hop up and bust a move on the dance floor (including that cute couple about 30 years our senior – the lady in a hot dress and pearls, the gentleman constantly adoring her).
Speaking of The Davenport Lounge, it’s attached to the hotel’s restaurant, M Bistro, where I had the best fries of my entire life. I’ve had a lot of fries, y’all. But, these fries? Holy crap. They were truffle fries, not too thin, and not too thick, topped with shaved parmigiano regiano and served with cauliflower dip (may sound odd, but it was perfect). We also snagged some delicious seafood gumbo samples in the hotel lobby (seriously, there’s amazing food everywhere). And, to top off our fabulous first night in New Orleans, we were gifted with champagne and chocolate strawberries in honor of our wedding anniversary. (Tip: If you’re celebrating a special occasion, don’t be shy. Tell the hotel and/or restaurant. Many times they want to gift you with a treat to help you celebrate.)
Our Sunday adventures included something that I never thought I would do… meeting a mini pot belly pig. That’s right, y’all. The gal that gets squeamish around bugs and birds met a pig, took a picture with him, and TOUCHED him. #Brave But in all seriousness, Hank was super cute, chillin’ in a stroller and snacking on Cheerios provided by his owner. And in true Ritz-Carlton fashion, Hank’s appearance was a wonderful special event held in the courtyard, complete with hot chocolate, apple cider and pig-shaped cookies. (Tip: Amazing hotels have special events open to the public like this all of the time. Follow them on social media to stay in the know.) For more info on Hank visit his website here.
Monday morning arrived, and with just hours before we had to head back to Houston, we made sure to enjoy some room service (my fave) for breakfast. We ordered the Bourbon St. Breakfast, complete with eggs, andouille sausage, grits and beignets as well as a veggie frittata with sourdough toast. Oh, and coffee…plenty of coffee.
I cannot recommend The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans enough, you guys. AND if you can visit before they remove their sparkly, beautiful, magical holiday decor, DO IT. Seriously, their holiday game is strong over there and extremely Instagram-worthy. But no matter when you stay at this friendly palace with a NOLA twist, tell ’em Britney sent ya. And don’t you leave there without having those fries…and some gumbo…and the grits…and the frittata…
P.S. The nightly turn down service includes little chocolates AND bottled water. Perfection.