Arrive in the Crescent City and get ready to change your opinion about it. Most people think of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street when they visit for the first time, but the city is so much more than this small pocket of activity, and definitely isn’t centered around drinking. In fact, if you have already been to New Orleans and you only saw Bourbon Street then you missed the best parts of town—the art, food, neighborhoods and most of all, one new hotel that will make families want to hop down as soon as possible.
On the edge of the French Quarter you will find the Le Meridien New Orleans, a new hotel in town that took over the old W Hotel building after the W moved into the French Quarter. The Le Meridien is technically in the Warehouse/Arts district. This is the perfect place for a family to set up who wants to see the historic sights of the French quarter, but also get out to the arts district, trek down to Mardi Gras World, pig out at Cochon, dine at Arnaud’s, explore the museums, shops and galleries, and soak in some of the local life.
A car is necessary to get out to many of the best neighborhoods, but you can walk to the French Quarter and Jackson Square in a matter of minutes. You can also hop on an electric-powered trolley or a bike to explore a bit more on your own without a car.
Le Meridien is so excited about the art scene in New Orleans that your room key also acts as an admission ticket to the Contemporary Arts Center. This isn’t a new idea for them though. Le Meridien has been rolling out these cultural programs across the brand for a while now, as they try to help guests connect to the destination they have traveled so far and spent so much money to visit.
This is a very slow, but increasing trend in the hotel industry. Brands are figuring out that not all families are booking their hotels so they can simply stay at the hotel and swim in the pool. The hotel is the backdrop, the place they dump their bags and rest their head for the night. Families are coming to dive into the educational aspects of town and have a bit of fun too. New Orleans is no stranger to hotels. There are plenty you could book, but the new Le Meridien is upping their game, and here’s why.
Book a corner suite and you will feel like you are in a palatial palace. The kids can take over the living room while mom and dad slide their door close to enjoy some quiet time in their king bedroom. Connecting doors can add even more rooms to your suite if you want to add a double queen room for the kids. Two bathrooms in your suite make it easy for everyone to get ready in the morning, and tiny bladders don’t have to wait for daddy to finish up. Views of the Mississippi on the higher floors make for beautiful sunrise and sunset gazing, as well as checking out the boats passing by on their way to and from port.
Deep blue hues and pops of red/orange bring a new class of décor to this hotel, which you won’t see in many other places. The Global Director of Design Julie Frank wanted you to feel like you were in your home away from home, by adding in pops of color, comfortable tables and chairs, functional TV stands that double as a desk and bed linens that make you melt after a long day of walking through the city.
As previously mentioned, Le Meridien New Orleans is just on the edge of the French Quarter in the Warehouse/Arts district. You can walk to restaurants, shops, Café du Monde for beignets and stroll through Jackson Square looking at the local artist’s work, grab a drink on (or off) Bourbon Street, hop on a trolley or simply stroll along the waterfront. If you are ever at a loss as to what to do don’t hesitate to ask. The doormen always have ideas and the reception team can point you in the right direction no matter what flavors you crave.
Dining and amenities
Breakfast. Grab a full meal at Marche or a cappuccino at Longitude 90 in the Hub to start your morning. The Croque Monsieur at Marche is a hearty way to greet the day and give you energy after a long night on the town or a longer day wander the city with the kids.
Longitude 90. Coffee should never be ignored or forgotten, especially at hotels. Thankfully Le Meridien knows the importance of a good cup of Joe and has even elevated it to an art form. Their master baristas can make you a cup of illy coffee, a latte or a cappuccino to go along with one of their signature éclairs. Sit at the bar or in one of the many seating areas in The Hub, the social area in the main floor that feels more like several living rooms or coffee shops pushed together than a hotel lobby. As day turns to night you won’t find much coffee at the bar, but you will find plenty of signature cocktails.
LMNO. Like to eat? Well you will love LMNO. If the tuna tartare is on the menu, order it immediately. The BBQ Pork Belly is also worth a taste. Really you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Oh and did I mention the Roasted Beet and Grilled Avocado Salad? Yup. That is awesome too. Kids are welcome, but this is a beautiful, French-style bistro that may be better suited for a great date night, or try to arrive early so the kids are in and out before it gets too crowded.
Pool. New Orleans gets hot and steamy in the summer, so having a pool that the kids can unwind in after a day of exploring is key. The Le Meridien rooftop pool offers lounge chairs and three cabanas to relax in all afternoon while the kids’ splash like crazy.
New kids programming. LEGO. Need I say more? In a truly ingenious brand collaboration, Le Meridien and LEGO have teamed up to bring Duplo and LEGOs to every hotel stay. Upon checking in kids will receive either a Duplo set (ages 18 months- 5 years old) or a small LEGO set (ages 5-12). Sorry parents, you don’t quite make the cut for your own set no matter how much you love LEGOs. And no, they will not have the LEGO Death Star of Millennium Falcon (my husband’s dream sets) on hand for you to ogle. Go to the LEGO store for that.
So what’s the catch? No catch. You don’t have to book a specific package or anything else. You simply check in with your children and they are handed their LEGOs. That’s all. And yes, your child gets to keep it.
Brian Povinelli, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Leader for Le Méridien, said in a recent press release that “Our exclusive partnership with the LEGO Group encourages families to unlock their destination through imaginative free play, strengthening bonds and creating memories that are sure to last, and the LEGO amenity sets the tone for this upon arrival at our hotels.”
Personally, I think it was just a smart move to give kids something to do for five minutes while mom and dad unpack or grab a much-needed latte at the bar. Either way, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Le Meridien has more in store for families in their hotels. We don’t have the full details yet, but I’ve been promised that it will be big.
Know Before You Go
- Le Meridien New Orleans, 333 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
- Kid-friendly? Yes.
- Kids Club? No.
- Restaurants on sight: LMNO, Longitude 90, Marche
- Wi-Fi? Free in public spaces, paid in rooms, unless you are an SPG member and book through the SPG site.
- Pool? Yes, but no lifeguards and no life vests are available
- Extra perks: Your room key acts as a museum admission to the Contemporary Arts Center, where artists such as Radcliffe Bailey have been featured. The exhibits are always changing, as there is no permanent collection, so you will see something new with every visit.
- Non-guests are welcome to visit LMNO and Longitude 90 at anytime during operating hours.