If you've never been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, you're missing out on one of last great authentic American traditions, one you won't soon forget – or likely recover from. The very first Mardi Gras in New Orleans took place in 1699, and it's pretty much been a non-stop celebration ever since. And while the actual date is March 5 this year, the party has already started.
So whether you're making last minute plans for this season's festivities or planning ahead like a responsible reveler, these are six essential hotels you need to know about and book rooms in. After all, you'll need somewhere soothing to stumble back to after indulging in NOLA's biggest party of the year.
1. Hotel Peter & Paul
New Orleans' coolest new property, located in the Marigny, consists of a historic former school house, rectory, church and convent, combined into one of the most unique hotels we've ever seen. And its Elysian Bar, with several parlor-like rooms and a courtyard, has a Chateau Marmont-meets the Crescent City vibe that's as fun and attractive as its clientele.
2. Ace Hotel
The Ace is the spot that ushered in a new era of hip hotels in New Orleans. While it may be an import, and more Instagrammable than most, there's no shortage of fun to be had at its various bars while the rooms are the perfect execution of cool. Pro tip: be sure to check out Friend located off the Ace's lobby, one of the most thoughtfully-curated menswear stores in the country.
3. Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
A pitch-perfect warehouse conversion, the Old No. 77's mellow brick walls make this a warm and character-filled home away from home. An easy walk to the French Quarter, just four blocks away, it's also home to Compère Lapin, one of the city's top restaurants. Pro-tip: if you're looking to splash out the Artist Loft suites are some of the city's coolest hotel rooms.
4. The Roosevelt
The poshest spot on the list, part of the famed Waldorf Astoria collection, the Roosevelt has seen a lot of history. The lavishly-decorated digs were one of Frank Sinatra's favorite haunts in the city and by some accounts the Ramos Gin Fizz was invented here; its beautiful bar is the still the best place in the world to order one (or several) of the intricate cocktails.
5. The Pontchartrain
Located in the Lower Garden District, one of our favorite neighborhoods, the Pontchartrain is super convenient for watching Mardi Gras parades on St. Charles Street and is always a lively scene thanks to its trio of watering holes, Hot Tin Roof, Jack Rose and the Bayou Bar. It's also damn stylish without feeling too stagey.
6. The NOPSI
NOLA's newest boutique hotel is located in the former New Orleans Public Service Inc. building, i.e. NOPSI, the city's gas and electricity provider. However industrial chic is nicely balanced with a calming color palette and well-scaled spaces, plus a rooftop pool perfect for seeing and being seen as well as cooling off after the inevitable Mardi Gras excesses.