Imagine it: you’re sitting on a vibrant yellow couch, back to the street, Sinatra playing on the radio as you hear the humming and clang of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar passing by. Surrounding you is the glamour and sophistication of the 1950s, but you’re not in the ‘50s, it’s 2016 and you’re sitting in one of the 106 rooms of the newly renovated Pontchartrain Hotel. The exquisite, newly restored, recently reopened hotel has hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Jim Morrison and sitting presidents for decades and now you have the opportunity to add your name to the guest list.
Situated right on St. Charles Avenue in the Lower Garden District, the Pontchartrain Hotel offers visitors and easy and comfortable “homey” feeling, with 21st century amenities. Not only is the space great for a staycation in the city or a night out, but it also provides couples a multitude of wedding festivity options. There are so many options, in fact, you many never have to leave the building.
Because of its status as a historic building, many of its original elements had to be left as is or restored, in lieu of being changed, leaving a distinct sense of the past. On each side of the quaint, yet somehow also grand lobby sits the Bayou Bar and the Silver Whistle café. Continue down the hallway and take a left to access the lounge area and Caribbean Room.
Award-winning celebrity chef John Besh appointed Chris Lusk, formerly of Restaurant R’evolution, executive chef. Besh Restaurant Group announced in November 2015 its deal with the hotel’s owners, AJ Capital Partners, to provide food and beverage service for the hotel, according to The Advocate. Each of the property’s four restaurants and bars offer a couple and their entourage various noshing options to complete their stay.
The Silver Whistle cafe takes the part of the charming 50s style diner. Open for breakfast and lunch, the 35-seat eatery, with the smell of original roast coffee and blueberry muffins in the air, is the perfect backdrop for after-wedding brunch or a bridesmaids breakfast before Big Day pampering.
The Bayou Bar oozes style and masculinity with the matching wood floors and bar and dark hued ceiling and banquets. Frank Sinatra was a visitor and Jim Morrison of The Doors even has a version of the iconic Moscow Mule named after him: the Morrison Mule (crafted with bourbon instead of vodka). In 1969, the bar was the sight of the christening of the New Orleans Saints and this year it can make history as your go-to bachelor party spot. Snack on frittes, sip on a Dorignac’s 75 (the Pontchartrain’s yummy version of the famed French 75) and make memories to the tunes of the hotel’s original piano player Paul Melancon.
The largest of the restaurant locations is the lounge, Caribbean Room and Founders Room area. The Caribbean Room is the main dining room of the Pontchartrain Hotel. Chefs Besh and Lusk have teamed up with the goal to keep the eatery as nostalgic and close to the original restaurant as possible. The existing Charles Reinike murals are complimented by palm leaved patterned carpet and white rattan furniture and tablecloths. The Founders Room gives contrast, as it is smaller and coupled with rich red walls – perfect for an intimate rehearsal dinner.
On the other side of the Caribbean Room is the bonus lounge area. Filled with plush seating areas and works of art up to the ceiling – like the already iconic Lil Wayne portrait by local artist Ashley Longshore – the lounge is perfect for the first stop bachelorette party or after rehearsal dinner drinks.
If the first floor amenities aren’t enough, the Pontchartrain Hotel goes a step further with one of the greatest views in the city: on the roof. Hot Tin is the hotel’s rooftop bar. Quickly gaining in popularity, the modernized rooftop location, matched with vintage knickknacks features light colors and plush seating making for a peaceful experience in the Big Easy clouds. Catch a quick drink after work or bring your whole party there for a wedding afterparty.
Each of these bar and restaurant options can be rented out, around their respective business hours, to complete your Big Day and all the other wedding festivities. Between breakfast, dinner and a nightcap, you’ll never want to leave the hotel.
And you won’t have to while staying in one of the hotel’s 106 rooms. As a nod to the Pontchartrain’s original roots as a residential building, the rooms and suites offer visitors a different, but homey experience. Cozy seating areas, big closets and subway-tiled bathrooms give you the feel of a home away from home rather than a typical, homogenous hotel.
The suite options throughout the hotel offer brides the comforts of home with the space to prepare the day of the wedding. In rooms like the Melpomene and the Calliope suites, two of general manager Cody Bertone’s favorites rooms in the whole hotel, provide large seating areas and multiple rooms allowing for hair stylists, makeup artists and bridesmaids galore to move around comfortably while pampering for the day’s events.
Room blocks are available for couples wanting all of their bridal party and friends and family on-site. Rates vary throughout the year, but if you book early enough, your wedding experience will be complete right on The Avenue.
Pontchartrain Hotel. 2031 St Charles Ave, New Orleans. 800-708-6652. email@example.com