Hotel at a Glance: Royal St. Charles Hotel
Situated just one block from the historic French Quarter, the Royal St. Charles Hotel offers easy access to many of the city’s most famous attractions. It’s a short walk, or you can hop on the St. Charles streetcar line which picks up right outside the hotel. Once there you’ll find time-honored drinking holes such as Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which was built in the early 1700s and is rumored to be the oldest US structure continuously used as a bar, as well as the more modern, boozy haunts of Bourbon Street.
- Sweet stuff: On-site PJ’s Coffee serves java, pastries, and other pick-me-ups throughout the day.
- Play the slots at Harrah’s Casino, located three blocks from the hotel.
- Plan an adventure: On-site concierge services help guests book everything from alligator swamp tours to steamboat cruises on the Mississippi.
- Grand entrance: The dazzling lobby is lit by overhead chandeliers and light panels embedded in the walls, accented by bright, bold colors throughout.
New Orleans’s French Quarter: Let the Good Times Roll
“Stop thinking of New Orleans as the worst-organized city in the United States,” writes author Dan Baum in Nine Lives, his post-Katrina book. “Start thinking of it as the best-organized city in the Caribbean.” Some folks think there is something distinctly foreign about New Orleans, a place where people’s priorities seem inclined toward enjoying life and relishing the moment at hand. Nothing says it better than the town’s unofficial Cajun creed: “Laissez les bons temp rouler,” or “Let the good times roll.”
Historical buildings with intricate wrought-iron balconies line the narrow streets of New Orleans’s French Quarter. Here, street musicians often fill the air with jazz music, their trombones and tubas swinging back and forth. Just off the Jackson Square park and near the towering St. Louis Cathedral, the legendary Café Du Monde serves beignets under heaping piles of powdered sugar, as well as cups of iced or steaming café au lait.
And then there’s Bourbon Street, where neon lights advertise frozen cocktails and crowds gather along 13 city blocks. The nearby Frenchmen Street, just north of the Quarter, provides a slightly less touristy taste of New Orleans nightlife. Some of the city’s most popular live jazz and blues bars dominate this historic two-block district, with each venue hosting world-class musicians nearly every night of the week. Jazz fills the air at the Spotted Cat Music Club, where a sign warns that both drinks and drunks are barred from the piano—but like all rules in New Orleans, it’s one that’s bound to get bent from time to time.