Layover Hotel Episode 8: The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans Though he admits visitors should be going to the outer neighborhoods of NOLA, our guy is staying with his high-style standby. He's doesn't apologize for his (hypocritical?) ways with the amusingly arrogant, “Many who like me and stay in the Quarter, choose a swankadelic, ‘I'm on TV [bleep] kind of hotel like the Ritz-Carlton.'” Yep. Mr. Bourdain has no shame in his RC hotel game (at $299 per night) at this point.
Honorable Mention: Loft 523 Bourdain bigs up this place for those who want to "avoid the madness, chesticles, and projectile vomiting of The Quarter altogether." This moderately priced (starting at $149 a night)boutique-style hotel is located in the city's Central Business District (CBD)just two blocks (but really a different vibe than the FQ). It's locally owned and comprised 18 studio loft apartments rather than traditional hotel rooms.
Honorable Mention 2: International House Hotel, also in the CBD (and sister to Loft 523) gets a mention for its location in an old Beaux-Arts bank building that’s been been made over into a more modern space. Again, another option if you want to avoid the French Quarter. We remember staying here about two years ago and the place has improved greatly. Lots more color, great design and rates that start at $99 a night, too! Bourdain mentions the lobby bar Loa, also locally owned (no chain bars here!) that’s great for “fans of mixology”. The menu is divided into "potations", "preparations", and even something called "Nieux Classics" in which the drink EYJAFJALLAJOKULL appears and sounds just as scary as it is writing it with Lapsang Sochong infused Eldorado 15 Rum, Port, demerara, and cloves. We don't know what Tony orders, but we think her preferred to go classic NOLA, which is why he ended up here...
Honorable Mention 3-4: Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans This CBD hotel wasn't listed as a place to stay, but for their Sazerac Bar. Here is where you sample the classic cocktail made with rye whiskey, Peychaud's bitters, a touch of simple sugar, and an orange peel garnish. It's said to be the oldest cocktail in the world and one can't leave New Orleans without sampling a Sazerac! Last but not least, Tony found himself sucking down watermelon cocktails in the Royal Street Inn's R Bar in the Faubourg Marigny area. Oh, there's a hotel there, too, though he warns "don't expect anyone to help you with your luggage". And when a place calls itself "sleazy luxury", we definitely give Bourdain a pass. Just this once.
[Photos: Travel Channel/International House Hotel]