It can sometimes be easy to forget that New Orleans is a big city. For a place that’s so identifiable by its intimate neighborhoods—the Garden District, Marigny, Bywater—it’s not difficult to overlook the “bigness” of the Central Business District, with its soaring office towers and somewhat more hurried sense of purpose.
One of those soaring office towers, at 2 Canal Street, just steps from the Mississippi, is now the home of the new Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans. Originally built as an office tower in the late 1960s, the building maintains that same “bigness”—a soaring two-story lobby, huge commercial elevator cars and high-ceilinged upper floors. There’s nothing subtle about this edifice.
That is, until one gets into the guest rooms. One of the luxuries developers have from gutting an office tower and completely redoing it is there’s opportunity to modernize down to the very skeleton of the building. As a result, the guest room interiors are thoroughly modern.
A built-in bedside console electronically controls the drapes, external Do Not Disturb indicator and most importantly, all the room lights, which can be set in four modes from “Off” to “Bright”. A tablet on the nightstand takes care of the rest. Guests can request additional housekeeping, laundry pick-up and room service or chat guest services for anything else they might wish—if they haven’t already linked their reservation on the Four Seasons App for many of the same services.
A focal point for the room design is the white bas-relief above the bed head depicting botanical themes meant to evoke the nearby garden district, lightening the room along with the poofy bright-white of the signature Four Seasons bed.
Guest baths have a standard Four Seasons design, with plenty of marble and light-lined vanity mirrors, and are packed to the brim with amenities. The brand is known for selecting distinct bath amenities for each property that reflect the personality of the hotel, and the almond-scented bath suite from L’Occitane easily fits the space here.
Rainfall showers, available in each room, are luscious and seem large enough to host a small cocktail party, while select rooms have soaker tubs (chat guest services via the tablet or app to be sent a supply of bath salts and bubble bath, also from L’Occitane).
Nespresso machines, a well-stocked mini-bar and huge amounts of closet space (with utterly pinchable shoe and laundry bags) round out room amenities, as do the daily replenishment of two large bottles of SmartWater for rehydration in the city’s often-steamy environs.
It’s tempting to camp out in the guest rooms with their array of goodies, but one can’t help but notice the energy of the Chandelier Bar in the lobby at check-in. The focal point is naturally the eponymous chandelier, which seems to half float above the circular bar. Mixologists turn out both New Orleans classics like the Sazerac and the Hurricane, served in luxuriously weighted crystal glasses, as well as a couple of modern cocktail takes, alongside an impressive wine list. The bar already seems to prove popular with both guests and residents – many evenings during my stay it was well-patronized and brassy with live music at spirited volume.
The chandelier, by the way, has 15,000 crystals imported from the Czech Republic—a masterpiece of modern design making the bar easily one of the most design-forward spaces in the city. The sense of place, however, is maintained with works by local artists, and potted palms suggesting an utterly Jazz Age feel.
The Art Deco sensibility and overall “bigness” continues into the property’s restaurant Miss River by New Orleans chef Alon Shaya. There’s caviar, of course, but other opportunities for conspicuous consumption with an air of celebration abound. A whole buttermilk-fried chicken? Available. Dirty rice theatrically cooked and presented in a clay pot with duck breast, duck egg yolk, pate and scallions? Check. Seafood towers overflowing with the bounty of the gulf? Also check. There’s also a blue crab au gratin that cannot be missed.
At breakfast, expect luscious crab omelets, shrimp and grits and fluffy biscuits in addition to the typical breakfast fare, which includes a chia seed overnight oats and avocado toast among the options.
This already exciting hotel is just getting started. Also in the works is a signature restaurant from local restaurateur Donald Link, planned for the hotel’s fifth floor with sweeping views of the Mississippi River. The fifth floor also houses the hotel’s outdoor heated infinity pool, which was closed (along with the spa and fitness center) during my visit for COVID-19 restrictions but should reopen as soon as conditions allow.
This hotel puts the “Big” in the Big Easy, paying homage to the grandeur and sophistication long inherent in New Orleans that the city doesn’t always wear on its sleeve—a grandeur that’s revived and celebrated in this exciting new hotel from Four Seasons.
I’ve seen rates from $425 per night plus tax. The hotel does not charge a resort fee.
The Chandelier Bar begs to be photographed.
Four Seasons doesn’t have a loyalty program, but spectacular service keeps their guests returning again and again.
Good to Know
Download the Four Seasons app prior to booking—it allows guests to chat with local staff to tailor their stay from arrival to departure.
Valet parking is available.
The hotel is conveniently located at the foot of Canal Street, next to Harrah’s Casino and just steps from the city’s top attractions.