Hidden away from the bustle and noisy crowds of Bourbon Street, there’s a gate to a narrow, tree lined sidewalk, leading to New Orleans first saltwater swimming pool.
During our stay in New Orleans for what’s purportedly the world’s largest cocktail convention, we had the opportunity to stay at the Audubon Cottages, a recently renovated set of seven unique one and two bedroom private entrance suites that offer guests privacy, luxurious accommodations, and a ‘French Quarter Butler’ that can attend to your every business or vacation need.
The central courtyard is dominated by a small, shallow saltwater pool, reported to be the oldest pool in New Orleans. Surrounded by aged brick pavers, the pool is a refreshing break from business meetings or the hubbub of social activities that New Orleans has to offer.
Upon our arrival to the cottages, we were quickly greeted by Michael, the onsite concierge, and Roderick, the ‘butler’. We were tired, hot, and seriously in need of a bit of respite before the week ramped into high gear. Michael showed us around the space, and explained the ‘hidden’ refrigerator – an old armoire made up of old exterior doors, complete with worn paint and patina, with a beverage station and drawer system refrigerator and freezer (which was quite useful during the week).
We freshened up quickly, and scurried out to our first meeting within the hour, and returned just before dinner time to a cold bucket of ice and champagne, compliments of Roderick.
As part of the New Orleans Hotel Collection, Audubon Cottages’ interpretation of a butler does not involved someone to shop for you, drive you about town, or take you to the beauty parlor, but he is fully capable of making reservations, suggestions on where to eat and drink in town, and for the one night that we decided to stay in for a team meeting, he chose a great pizza restaurant for an in room delivery.
The suite that we stayed in had it’s own private courtyard, with a latched gate, high walls covered in creeping fig, and a gargoyle wall fountain with water lilies that bloomed each morning.
Our cottage was made up of a fully appointed two bedroom, two bath space, with a shared living room. Each room had a king size bed, with white sheets and duvet, and more pillows than you’ll likely ever need. The closet spaces in our unit were made up of a built in closet in one room, and an armoire in the other, each with a pair of robes and slippers for lounging. Wood floors in the main and sleeping areas carry through to black marble tiles in the bathroom, and walk-in showers in each. We’ve recently noticed that many new homes and other hotels that we have come across are now deciding to use walk-in showers. It must be a new trend. There must be a lot of plumbing issues that need to be sorted before installing them though, just like with any bathroom renovations. This can be easily resolved though as if you decide to find a plumbing company in St Clair, or one that is local to you, these issues should be resolved in no time; giving the guests the opportunity to have a good shower during their stay.
Hair dryers and irons were in each side of the unit, and each side also had their own temperature control – highly important when you’re sharing a space. We had a bit of a challenge the first few nights with ceiling fans and hot water, but given the recency of renovations (the cottages have only been open for 3 mos), and the fact that the buildings were historical, we let it pass.
Furnishings in the main area are beautiful, if not rather petite. Thankfully the majority of our team was female, so comfort did not present too much a problem.
We were able to take a dip in the salt water pool one afternoon and one evening during our stay. It was refreshing and clean, and beautiful-looking – it’s certainly going to be a few years before they need to think about pool deck resurfacing. The only thing missing would have been poolside snowballs or a champagne/gin cocktail and fruit service.
Both Michael and Roderick were an absolute pleasure to work with, and Michael made sure that our continental breakfast (delivered from their sister hotel, the Dauphine) of pastries, fresh fruit, and a large carafe of hot, black coffee were promptly set up on one of the two sets of wrought iron tables in our courtyard each morning. Chicory or not, there’s something about New Orleans coffee that wakes you up, puts a smile on your face, and gets you ready to face the day.
Roderick was also incredibly helpful with sourcing materials and shipments for us at the end of our stay. As media attending a highly product heavy conference, it can be a real challenge getting shipments back in one piece. He, and the team over at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel, were able to accomplish all of our shipping coordination quite brilliantly.
At a regular rate of $950/night and up, this ultra-luxury destination may not be in the budget for the typical traveler. However, if you are in New Orleans, want your privacy, and need a space away from the noise and chaos that the French Quarter presents, the premium you’ll pay for convenience, luxury, and seclusion is well worth it at the Audubon Cottages.
You can make reservations for your stay Audubon Cottages at www.auduboncottages.com, or by phone at 504-586-1516.
509 Dauphine St.
New Orleans, LA 70112