Romantic Stays in New Orleans

New Orleans’ The Soniat House showcases the city’s romantic side By: Cheré Coen
The Grand Suite // © 2010 Small Luxury Hotels of the World<br />
The Grand Suite // © 2010 Small Luxury Hotels of the World

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The Details

The Soniat House
1133 Chartres St., New Orleans
Like a theater mask showing half comedy and half tragedy, the French Quarter of New Orleans offers two distinctly separate personalities. On one side, it is the place to party, yell for beads and drop all inhibitions. A few blocks away, it is quiet romance at its best.

The French Quarter is actually a working neighborhood filled with residences, schools, corner groceries and shops. Although it may have its bawdy side — and always has — people go about their day in the Vieux Carre much like any other part of town.

For those who prefer listening to the bells of St. Mary’s Church and the sounds of horse-drawn carriages slipping by at sunset, there’s The Soniat House, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, located on the residential side of the Vieux Carre, next to the historic Ursuline Convent and Francis Parkinson Keyes House.

The property consists of three original Creole townhouses dating back to the 1830s, two on one side of Chartres Street and another directly across the street. The first set of townhouses was built by Louisiana planter Joseph Soniat for his large family in the early 19th century, and his eldest son built the larger addition. The hotel boasts graceful staircases, common sitting areas, cobblestone carriageways and a feline resident who is always happy for some company.

Both sides of the hotel contain the romantic cobblestone courtyards that New Orleans is known for, with fountains, brick walls and lush tropical foliage. Guests can relax outside in the evening with a cocktail courtesy of the hotel’s honor bar or enjoy an elegant breakfast of fresh strawberry preserves, hot, homemade biscuits and New Orleans’ own chicory coffee.

The guestrooms range from 12 comfortable suites offering sitting areas and wrought-iron balconies overlooking Chartres Street and 18 smaller rooms that front the courtyards. All include antique furnishings, Egyptian-cotton linens and goose-down pillows, elegant baths, Internet service, cable television and complimentary use of the New Orleans Athletic Club.

Because the French Quarter is limited in parking spaces, The Soniat House offers what Louisiana residents call “lagniappe,” or a little something extra — valet parking right outside of the hotel. Parking in the secured lot costs only $25 a day, an inexpensive cost that is a rarity for the French Quarter. As a small luxury hotel, the entire property is large enough to accommodate small business parties, family reunions and girlfriend getaways, in addition to romantic stays for couples. The entire hotel rents for $5,000 a night or half the property for $2,500 a night, with individual rooms ranging from $240 to $295 a night with suites $425 to $625 a night. The hotel offers romantic weekend escapes that include amenities such as champagne upon arrival and dinner at local restaurants. Agents should check the website for details.

The hotel offers a 10 percent discount to agents and tour group operators except during holidays and special occasions, with deeper discounts during mid-week and the off season.

With the exception of the hotel’s resident cat, pets are not allowed at the Soniat House and children are allowed only if they are age 10 or older, unless the hotel is reserved for a family reunion or a meeting. 
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