Historic Hotel a Few Steps from the St. Charles Streetcar
A cluster of five antebellum homes makes up Maison St. Charles—the same types of buildings that can be found all along St. Charles Avenue, a remnant of New Orleans’s pre-Civil War decadence. The hotel’s interior likewise evokes the splendor of yesteryear; there are exposed brick walls, stone floors, and high ceilings lit by crystal chandeliers. Original murals depict scenes of New Orleans and southern Louisiana, courtesy of local artist Robert Dafford. Outside, three redbrick patios outfitted with wrought-iron furniture and burbling fountains provide plenty of spots to enjoy some fresh air.
The hotel is located in the lower Garden District, a quiet, genteel section of the city that’s at a remove from the crowds of Bourbon Street but still within reach of the top attractions. It stands right across the street from a pair of St. Charles streetcar stops. One takes you through downtown and the French Quarter; the other runs west toward the Audubon Zoo.
In the morning, the Maison St. Charles serves a free continental breakfast with fresh fruit and pastries in the sun-dappled parlor. Guests enjoy access to an outdoor pool and hot tub ringed by tropical palms.
New Orleans’s Garden District: Historic Neighborhood with Gorgeous Antebellum Mansions and Green Spaces
In the years before the Civil War, New Orleans was a hub of international commerce, thanks to its strategic position along the Mississippi River. This made it one of the richest cities in the country. American merchants flocked here to make their fortunes—and when they did, they built elegant neoclassical mansions with two-tiered porches supported by tall white columns.
Today, you can still see these monuments to wealth throughout the Garden District (located 2 miles west of downtown), mainly along St. Charles Avenue. The oak-lined street boasts one of the best collections of historic mansions in the south. Take a self-guided tour aboard the vintage St. Charles streetcar, which has been running for more than 150 years. It cruises through the Garden District and downtown New Orleans before reaching the French Quarter.
A few blocks south of St. Charles Avenue lies Magazine Street, the neighborhood’s main shopping and dining zone. Named for a string of 18th-century warehouses (magasins in French), the six-mile-long stretch offers some of the best antiquing in the city amid a mishmash of Greek Revival and Victorian buildings. You also might want to pay a visit to one of the many green spaces and public squares for which the Garden District was named. Coliseum Square, a particularly lush spot, is lined with concrete walking trails leading to a central fountain.