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It had been 35 years since I last visited New Orleans, and I eagerly anticipated an extended stay in the city after disembarking a Mississippi River cruise.
When I began searching for a lodging option that would meet my high standards, I was indeed fortunate to discover an enclave of seven newly renovated Audubon Cottages. Although they are barely a block from the excitement of Bourbon Street and a mere five-minute stroll from the famous restaurants of the French Quarter, they feel like they are a world away.
Hidden behind a high brick wall with its own private gate and a row of ancient crepe myrtles, Audubon Cottages — a member of the New Orleans Hotel Collection — is a secluded retreat in the heart of the Quarter. It even has its own gracious butler, Roderick, who gave me his cell phone number and encouraged me to contact him with any request.
The antiques and vintage reproductions in the seven French Creole cottages reflect the charm of old New Orleans while offering modern amenities such as Wi-Fi access, flat-screen televisions and refrigerators. They share a central courtyard with a heated pool that is one of the oldest in the French Quarter.
Each cottage has a parlor and garden patio. Five cottages have two bedrooms, two are one-bedroom and one offers three bedrooms.
My cozy cottage, Number One, with exposed brick walls and beams, had two bedrooms and baths, a spacious living room and a dining area. It had been John James Audubon’s home as he completed his “Birds in America” series in the early 19th century. As I turned the key in the gate each evening after a full day of exploring, I actually felt as though I were living in the French Quarter.
When I peeked out the living room window each morning, a vacuum pot of steaming hot coffee and a continental breakfast tray were waiting on my patio’s table. A daily continental breakfast is also served at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel on Dauphine Street, just one block away, which is where cottage guests check in.
Whatever your clients are looking for — comfort on a business trip, a family reunion, a girlfriends’ getaway or a romantic weekend — this unique property will give them bragging rights back home.
New Orleans Hotel Collectionwww.neworleanshotelcollection.com