Select hotels around the country have long chosen to embrace a unique aesthetic style through the display of fine art, and in many cases assuming the role of caretakers and presenters of museum quality works. The collections they choose to integrate into their interiors reflect the culture and individuality of the property and echo the cultural essence of the city itself. I have two favorites in New Orleans. All uniquely set the standard for an uncompromised experience in comfort, service and aesthetics. The Renaissance Arts Hotel and the Windsor Court – both have recognized that the presence of fine art, integrated into the décor and architecture elevates the experience of each guest.
The Windsor Court is a gracious place, recognized as one of the top hotels in the country. For those who appreciate luxury and sophistication you'll find it there... as well as all things English. The Spanish and French influence of the city gives way to stately English quarters as you step foot into the hotel. No matter where you find yourself in the property you will be surrounded by an exceptional collection of period artworks that emphasize British themes. The collection includes works by revered masters as Van Dyck, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Huysman. When you enter the lobby and glance above the ever present voluminous vase of perfect roses you'll be greeted by a front desk clerk, and William Powell Frith's "King Charles II's Last Sunday". A fitting location for this legendary piece of artwork that immediately transitions each guest into Windsor Court ambience. The lagniappe to this visual feast is the option to take in superb dining, libations and entertainment all under one roof. The Windsor Court boasts the 4 Star Grill Room, the Polo Club Lounge (no other venue can top their perfect martini pour!) and you can take in Afternoon Tea in Le Salon. This writer has repeatedly experienced the pleasure of it all.
When I head for the Arts District the distinctive accommodations at the Renaissance Arts Hotel are a great choice. This contemporary, luxury hotel has been stylishly transformed out of 1910 warehouse building. It's enlivened throughout by a mosaic of color and vitality through artworks masterfully created by New Orleans and international artists. The Renaissance Arts Hotel is a portal blending right into the Arts District, housing a ground- floor gallery in a partnership with Arthur Roger Gallery, a sculpture courtyard and artist-designed décor. Celebrated art of New Orleans is a key component of the Renaissance Arts experience. New Orleans heritage based works of John Scott, the exuberant paintings of Ida Kohlmeyer, kinetic sculptures of Lin Emery or glass creations of Mitchell Gaudet are integrated into the ‘expressive design' characteristic of the Renaissance brand. Again, I cannot overlook the palette---no pun intended. La Cote Brasserie is the place to experience creative regional creole seafood guided by the masterful creations of New Orleans native Chuck Subra.
Either of these two venues will redefine your idea of accommodations and set the stage for the plethora of sensory experiences that defines New Orleans.