Hotel review: NOPSI, New Orleans: ‘A wow moment’

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Effortlessly stylish with wonderfully classy service, our home for the last three nights of an Atlanta to New Orleans road trip was worth the wait.

Inexplicably, I’d decided to book more comfortable and inevitably expensive rooms as we went along, starting at the should-have-known-it-would-be-terrible seemingly massive bargain end.

A stay in a grubby Chattanooga motel, irritable from a nine-hour flight, followed by 120 miles in an unfamiliar (huge) hire car on daunting rush-hour highways, quickly proved a big mistake.

Thankfully our hit and miss bookings improved and by the time we got to nine nights in, NOPSI became an unforgettable highlight.

Built in 1927 and formerly used as the New Orleans Public Service Inc headquarters, NOPSI’s meticulously restored surroundings are a joy to spend time in. If you’re anything like me you may want to imagine prohibition era New Orleanians paying their electricity bills at the desks in its grand lobby – a bit reminiscent of a scene from It’s a Wonderful Life – erm, but not in a bank and almost 20 years earlier.

Stepping into the roomy foyer, with its marble floors and vaulted ceilings, subtly decorated with pristine pale colours, I couldn’t help but give a big ‘wow’ and smile.

Where is it?

Baronne Street, in the Central Business District.

What’s nearby?

Within walking distance of the iconic French Quarter and Bourbon Street. A fantastic deli around the corner which drew us back a few times. We enjoyed heading out towards the Mississippi for predictable but loved time on a steamboat . My partner also visited the World War II museum easily from here.

Rooms

There are 217 rooms on nine floors. The view from our small standard double was underwhelming as we looked out directly to an office building across the road. Other rooms have a more enticing view – of the city’s skyline. Furnishings were understated and great quality.

Food and drink

Public Service Restaurant

Chic is the word I am looking for. Also, costly to us. We didn’t eat here, preferring to explore more down to earth cafes and restaurants.

Plenty of locally sourced options. Has proved a favourite haunt for locals as well as tourists so don’t let my reluctance to splash the cash put you off if you want to savour a distinguished dining experience.

Henry’s Gin Bar

Yes – gin, gin and more gin. (I don’t like gin.) Also cocktails, other spirits and soft drinks of course. A stunning feature of the lobby with a relaxed atmosphere.

Above the Grid

Cocktails, drinks and light snacks at the rooftop bar. Diet Coke for me – really pushing the boat out.

Fitness facilities

A well-equipped fitness centre. Rooftop pool. (It was gorgeous and I was there like clockwork each morning.)

Service

Really lovely at every encounter. Remarkable.

What we loved

Beautiful decor. Great service. Overall ambiance and attention to detail.
I was sometimes the first up and swimming in the rooftop pool and lounged around it, a lot. I even convinced my ‘ants in his pants’ partner to sit and do nothing much but read a book in the 32-degree autumn heat for a whole day, which, take it from me, is unheard of.

 

What weren’t we so keen on?

There wasn’t anything really negative. I’m sure some people would prefer to be away from a flourishing business district with a busy pavement outside, but that’s not something the hotel can control.

Cost per night:

From $110 a night (prices checked June 2024) booking direct from hotel.

More information: https://www.nopsihotel.com/

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