Hotel Monteleone: Grand Dame of New Orleans’ French Quarter
We are very well aware that luxury baby boomer travelers love the grand historic hotels of yesteryear. Being firmly in that camp ourselves, we spent a few nights in the grand dame hotel of the New Orleans French Quarter, the Hotel Monteleone.
The Hotel Monteleone carries a “gold” rating with the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, and has also earned the AAA Four-Diamond Award consecutively since 2003.
Further adding to the Hotel Monteleone’s distinctions, the hotel is designated as an official literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association. Only New York’s Plaza and Algonquin hotels share this honor.
Antonio Monteleone was an industrious nobleman who was operating a very successful shoe factory in Sicily when he heard great things about America. The call of adventure motivated him to pack the tools of his trade and head for “the land of opportunity.” Antonio arrived in New Orleans circa 1880 and opened a cobbler shop on Royal Street, the busy thoroughfare of commerce and banking in America’s most European city.
In 1886, Mr. Monteleone bought a 64-room hotel on the corner of Royal and Iberville streets in New Orleans’ world famous French Quarter. The setting was ripe for Antonio to spread his entrepreneurial wings when the nearby Commercial Hotel became available for purchase. That was only the beginning of an amazing historical landmark that is one of the last great family owned and operated hotels in the city. Since 1886, four generations of Monteleone’s have dedicated themselves to making their hotel what it was and still is- a sparkling jewel in the heart of the French Quarter.
The Hotel Monteleone has long been a favorite haunt of distinguished Southern authors and many of them immortalized the grand dame of the French Quarter in their works. Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner always made 214 Royal Street their address while in the Crescent City. While in the Carousel Bar, Truman Capote used to boast that he was born in the Monteleone. (He wasn’t. Though his mother lived at the historic hotel during her pregnancy, she safely made it to the hospital in time for Truman’s debut.) The list doesn’t stop there; Anne Rice, Stephen Ambrose and John Grisham also joined the ranks of literary guests over the years.
Not only does the Hotel Monteleone have a grand facade, but walking into the hotel’s lobby is certain to illicit a few oohs and aahs as well.
Also found right inside the front door is the world-famous Carousel Bar (story link).
Originally installed in 1949, the 25-seat carousel bar turns on 2,000 large steel rollers, pulled by a chain powered by a one-quarter horsepower motor. While the bar always rotates at the same speed, visitors who have imbibed for a while often claim that the bartender has turned up the motor’s speed.
The Hotel Monteleone features 600 guest rooms, including 55 suites. The photographs above are from our suite (room 810). At night, we could look out our window and see the lights from nearby Bourbon Street.
Hotel Monteleone also offers guests a delightful rooftop pool. We found it a wonderful respite in the late afternoons to soothe our tired feet.
With its location in the French Quarter, we also enjoyed walking out the front door and finding ourselves within easy walking distance of most of New Orleans’ major attractions.
In our humble opinions, if you’re coming to New Orleans to experience the historic French Quarter, then you certainly must complete the experience with a stay in the stunningly beautiful, historic Hotel Monteleone.
We promise, you’ll be glad you did!
Disclosure: our experience was provided by the kind folks at Hotel Monteleone.