It was time to bring the family to New Orleans. Having travelled there for business several times over the last few decades, the city had always left me with the impression of having left the USA without a passport. A comfortable base of operations was important. We found the Omni Royal Orleans a great choice.
I enjoyed the rooftop fitness center and pool, working off some of the local cuisine. The equipment was of recent vintage, and provided a decent aerobic and weightlifting regimen. Drying off after a plunge in the pool, I was able to survey the surrounding sights.
As one of the taller buildings in the French Quarter, we were afforded an intriguing view from what we had seen at sidewalk level. The imposing St. Louis Cathedral revealed its architectural cleverness, as it seemed less imposing from above.
A real dining treat was the Rib Room, located in the hotel. We had a grand Sunday brunch, replete with a roving three piece jazz ensemble. The fare ranged from the expected to the cleverly indigenous. My daughter’s eggs benedict was filling, my raised-below-theDixie-Line wife enjoyed grits with her egg dish, but I scored with eggs pardou. Comprised of creamed spinach, artichoke hearts and Béarnaise with Pontchartrain blue crab, the ingredients were a creative blend. The chicory coffee paired nicely.
The rooms (all smoke-free) were quiet and spacious, with enough room for the four of us to relax after a day filled with a swamp tour at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and some trad jazz at Preservation Hall. The beds were comfortable, and the bathroom fixtures new and responsive. The chandeliers in the lobby reminded us of the hotel’s storied past.
The challenge when visiting a place that celebrates its history (as does New Orleans righteously) is balancing the heritage with the expectations of modernity. Hotels struggle with this balance perhaps more than any other business. The Omni Royal Orleans strikes this balance with aplomb.