Who doesn’t love a good makeover story? It wouldn’t be quite fair to cast the old Henry Howard House Inn in the role of ugly duckling, but the transformation of this Greek Revival mansion, at the hands of a pair of New York hotel developers, was a dramatic one. Now, the historic building gets its star turn, reopening its doors as the Henry Howard Hotel, an 18-room boutique that’s every bit as graceful as you’d wish from a long weekend stay in the Big Easy.
Henry Howard, the man, was the Irish-born architect behind the mansion, and half of New Orleans, in fact, particularly here in the Garden District. And as you can tell from a block away, Howard was no minimalist: he was known for his dramatic Roman arches and grand Corinthian columns. So it’s no surprise that Henry Howard Hotel works better as a high-end boutique hotel than it did in its more budget-friendly incarnation. Inside, the mansion practically drips with twinkling chandeliers and original oil paintings in heavy gilded frames; elegant crown moulding shapes the spacious rooms, the wood floors are so carefully polished you can see your own reflection in them. But the old-world charm is set off by a smart urban aesthetic: boldly patterned wallpaper, monochromatic drapery, musical instruments mounted, like sculptures, on the walls.
Guest rooms and suites, too, mix modern and traditional. Some furnishings are custom-made, but many are antiques — you’ll find a tongue-in-cheek painting by a New Orleans artist above a delicate writing desk, and a hand-painted dresser or an old-fashioned armoire beside the geometric canopy bed. It’s a historic mansion, so room sizes and layouts vary, but standard features include free wi-fi, gourmet snacks, and gorgeously revamped bathrooms with all-natural products by Beekman 1802. Many rooms have separate seating areas, ideal for sipping iced tea on a hot afternoon. Book the Penthouse Suite or the Royal King Gallery, with its private balcony, and you’ll be tempted to stay in all day — but at the very least, come cocktail hour, you’ll have to make your way down to The Parlor.
Text Courtesy of Tablet Hotels