With a couple of days between the wedding of your dreams and dashing off on your honeymoon, why not plan a little Big Easy romance? Lucky for you, New Orleans is a place where out-of-towners choose to spend their honeymoons year-round. Follow their lead with a pre-honeymoon staycation right down the street. With plenty of untapped culinary treasures, not to mention those activities you’ve always wanted to try, the Crescent city is the perfect place to bide time before departing to further flung locales — or simply to spend time together without the hassles of far-away travel.
One tends to get in a rut in their own city — eating in the same restaurants, swilling at the everyday bar, perusing well-known shops. To shake up your staycation, have someone else invent the itinerary. Kelley Troia has your back. She’s founder of Clandestine, a bespoke New Orleans concierge company. Her focus goes beyond goes booze and bacchanalia to promote the Crescent City’s higher and more complex echelons. While they proffer tours that range from culinary to Cajun (beginning at $1,250), Clandestine will customize romantic agendas for couples, too. We asked Clandestine to come up with staymoon just for you. Here’s what they suggested:
The Hotel: Soniat House
Reminiscent of something Tennessee Williams had in mind as backdrop, Soniat House delivers you smack into the good graces of blessed-hearts and Southern hospitality. Hewn from three, historic, French Colonial homes in the French Quarter, just far enough from Bourbon Street, this small luxury hotel feels like visiting friends in the warm embrace of their soulful home. For honeymooners, the picturesque courtyard and cosseting bedrooms pamper fancifully — a sanctuary made for decompression and connection.
Arrive to Soniat House to find a bouquet from your wedding already adorning your suite. Next to it, chilled champagne and Sucre chocolates would tempt. Alone, at last, all you want to do is debrief on your event, bubbly flute in hand — and Soniat’s intimate digs promotes that. However much fun you have, do set your alarm to awaken for the homemade biscuits and marmalade, delivered by black-tied staff to your in-town haven for breakfast.
After a good night’s sleep, awaken the next morning to Soniat’s biscuits, followed by an all-New-Orleans-derived brunch (from Cafe du Monde beignets to Stein’s Deli bagels to District Donuts). Once you’ve digested, you’ll be indulged by Clandestine’s two favorite masseuses, who will unravel the wedding-ceremony knots without you ever leaving the privacy of your room. When you’re finally hungry again and ready to emerge, you’ll be delighted with that coveted table Clandestine has snagged for you at a popular place you’ve always wanted to try — perhaps dimly lit Meauxbar, (in a corner booth) — where escargot and pork chops tempt. Dessert could be a VIP table at the Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta — unless you just want to get back to the suite.
If you have another whole day before disembarking on that cruise (or flying to the Maldives), Clandestine has more plans for you. They suggest you awaken late to be piloted by limousine to brunch at Commander’s Palace, where crispy soft shell crab will sate. Next, they urge you to walk it off at Besthoff Sculpture Garden. There, pose in front of the LOVE sculpture — the ultimate metaphor for your mutual adoration (a professional photographer will take your picture). After that perfect portrait, you’ll step into a private gondola for a cruise through City Park. The cheese and charcuterie tray from which you nibble aboard the watercraft comes from St. James Cheese — wait, how did they know Sancerre was your favorite wine? Ready for more? It’s nearly dark when the limo whisks you to a waiting small plane, which you board for a tour of New Orleans’ twinkling city lights. Famished, because love does that, you cap the magic at Bywater’s hidden N7, a sexy French Bistro you didn’t even know existed. clandestinenola.com, soniathouse.com, commanderspalace.com, meauxbar.com