We broke our journey to Gulf Shores with two nights in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The Big Easy features a ridiculous number of hotels, so picking one took some research. Originally, we planned on staying on Canal Street. However, I found prices surprisingly low in the Vieux Carre itself, so we switched gears. The big debate in New Orleans always is, chain or boutique? While NOLA has many great chain properties, it also features many unique French Quarter boutiques. Eventually, we spotted the Hotel St. Marie New Orleans offering deluxe courtyard view rooms for $143. That roughly equaled the chains on Canal Street, and would put us in the heart of the French Quarter. So, we chose to go with the boutique.
Hotel St. Marie New Orleans
- 827 Toulouse Street, New Orleans, Louisiana
- Website: http://www.hotelstmarie.com/
- Features: pool, valet parking, on-site restaurant, courtyard, free WiFi
Location: on Toulouse Street, one half block before Bourbon Street. From I-10 eastbound, exit 235A – Orleans Avenue/Vieux Carre. Stay in the left lane, then U-turn at the sign “N. Rampart via Toulouse Street”. Immediately turn right. Then, at the traffic light (Rampart Street), look for the alley-like street veering slightly to the right. This is Toulouse Street. The hotel is 2 1/2 blocks on the left, just past Dauphine Street.
A word of caution: if you’ve never driven in the French Quarter, it can get a bit hairy. Streets are straight, but narrow, and there’s always lots of people about. Avoid driving on Bourbon Street at all times (it’s often closed, anyway). Also, it’s legal to drink alcohol on the street, so don’t assume the person crossing the street is paying attention…
Date of Stay: April 23-24, 2017
Hotel St. Marie New Orleans – Check-in and Common Areas
We arrived at the hotel around 5:00 on a Sunday afternoon. Parking at the hotel is valet only, something I didn’t think about ahead of time, but should have. Why? Because when you travel with a baby, you have a bunch of crap to unload. It only occurred to me on the drive over: how do we unload everything at a valet stand? Luckily, the valet, both on arrival and departure, was exceedingly kind and gave us all the time we needed. In addition, I realized I’d forgotten to request a refrigerator for the room. I asked the valet, who said she’d get that taken care of. Sure enough, it made it to our room after we returned from dinner.
The lobby of the hotel is small, but the centerpiece is a gorgeous chandelier. The replica antique furnishings are in good keeping with the building’s historic character.
We were second in line, and the clerk assisted us promptly. Within a few minutes, she handed us our keys and we headed up to our room.
Narrow corridors do make for a somewhat claustrophobic feeling on the floors. You can also see the historic brick structure through the stucco. Meanwhile, marble flooring provides an elegant look appropriate for the French Quarter.
Hotel St. Marie New Orleans – Guest Rooms
Often, the trade-off for historic character in boutiques involves small rooms. I expected the same here, but the rooms proved to be a pleasant surprise. At least the deluxe courtyard variety, anyway. Though not evident in the first photo, the room was quite large.
Both beds feature a helpful ottoman, with a chair located in the corner. Not pictured: a small work desk to the right of the TV in the photo above.
Here, you get a better idea of the size of the room. Ashok had plenty of room to crawl around, much to his delight.
Like the lobby, the room also featured replica antique furniture. Consider the chair in the corner, at least, Ashok approved.
Plugs are a bit of an issue. The work desk contains one, but the others are inconveniently located, one by Ashok’s chair, and the other by the bed closest to the door. That makes it difficult to keep a computer or phone plugged in and use it while lying on the bed. The hotel provides free WiFi. Though it wasn’t blazing fast, it worked acceptably for what I needed.
As for storage, the room lacks a true closet. However, an open storage area provides room for a couple of suitcases and baby gear. The deep shelf up top proved helpful for keeping computers out of baby’s reach.
Across from the storage area, you’ll find a coffee maker and another storage shelf, along with a large mirror. The shelf came in real handy to dry bottles after washing.
I forgot to take a picture of the bathroom, but it perhaps proved the one disappointing part of the room. That’s mainly because it’s quite small. It features a standard shower/tub combo, with generic amenities.
Now, on to the best part of the room – the balcony overlooking the courtyard. The courtyard itself is a welcoming, relaxing spot to spend a nice spring afternoon. The palm trees in particular provide a soothing, tropical feel (though the humid New Orleans weather certainly contributes).
To the right, a large blooming bush added a pretty splash of color.
Meanwhile straight ahead, you can see the hotel’s outdoor pool. It wasn’t quite pool weather at the time of our visit, so the dozen or so pool chairs remained unused most of the time.
Hotel St. Marie New Orleans – Other Amenities
The only other amenity to speak of is the on-site Vacherie Restaurant. We didn’t have a chance to eat here, though the espresso at the cafe certainly smelled terrific. The restaurant features traditional Southern and Creole cuisine, and seemed reasonably priced.
Well, I guess there is one more amenity. Like many French Quarter buildings, the hotel is allegedly haunted. If you stay in a suite, explore the second floor at your own risk…
Hotel St. Marie New Orleans – Location
The hotel occupies a prime French Quarter location, just half a block north of Bourbon Street, 5 blocks east of Canal Street, and about a 10-minute walk from Jackson Square. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and Louis Armstrong Park lie roughly 5-10 minutes to the north. You can also catch the St. Charles Streetcar to the Garden District at St. Charles and Canal, also a roughly 10-minute walk. In other words, pretty much everything you’d want is either walking distance, or accessible by streetcar. Which is a good thing, because taking your car around the French Quarter is a pain.
Hotel St. Marie New Orleans – Final Thoughts
I found the Hotel St. Marie a good French Quarter option, especially for the price. Large rooms, good service, and an excellent location make it a solid hotel. The hotel does lack some amenities, however, such as a business or fitness center. If those are important to you, you may want to consider staying elsewhere.
This post is part of my trip report series about our first vacation as a family to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Click here for the trip report index and introductory post.