A Cult Hotel Opens in New Orleans
BY SARA RUFFIN COSTELLO
Despite their distinctly local designs, stepping into any of the Ace Hotel’s eight international locations — where moody interiors attract familiar crowds of 30-something hipster types — triggers a bit of déjà vu. Such is the case at the chain’s ninth hotel in New Orleans, which opened last week in a 100-year-old Art Deco high-rise on the outskirts of the French Quarter.
“We are trying to make a cultural shift together,” said Robin Standefer, co-partner of the design firm Roman and Williams, who helmed the project. “It’s beyond just making a living room — and into the territory of cultivating a community.” The notion is that this new addition to a formerly neglected part of the Warehouse District neighborhood will draw in locals as well as tourists.
A roster of Southern creatives crafted nearly everything, from the decor — every room features a colorful armoire, custom-painted Bloomsbury-style by mostly Southern artists — to the food. The culinary partners and Beard-nominated chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, from Memphis’s Hog & Hominy, are behind the hotel’s osteria, Josephine Estelle. And the Pincus brothers — Louisiana natives and masterminds behind Manhattan’s floating raw bar, Grand Banks — are serving oysters in the building next door. A Stumptown coffee bar and rooftop pool with cocktail venue will open in May.
And it wouldn’t be the Big Easy without live tunes. Tucked inside the lobby is the Three Keys music venue, which was inspired by the funky, juke joint look of the city’s legendary Tipitina’s music venue, complete with a viewing balcony. (It’s even soundproof, for the guests’ sake.) Next month, with the help of the local talent Ben Jaffe and his Preservation Hall Jazz band, it will help kick off Jazz Fest with everything from gospel workshops to a jazz history and civil rights panel.