Checking In: International House Hotel
The International House Hotel in New Orleans is a European character that fits nicely in the city, where you’re suddenly surrounded by its unique flair that transports you away from the commercial surroundings of the Central Business District.
It’s not the most high-profile hotel in the city, but it does feel like a secret, especially for the value. Cool and contemporary was our first impression of the property that is an expression of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture, built in 1906 for the Canal Louisiana Bank & Trust Company. Once the first world trade center, the boutique hotel is a joyful tribute to New Orleans today: An ensemble of historic architecture and colorful characters. Nosing into the lobby, you’re suddenly welcomed by bold, European flavor with pops of color and cheerful artwork. The hotel’s mantra is “Here’s to the Creative Ones,” and its lobby includes mixed media paintings of Audrey Hepburn, Nelson Mandela, John Kennedy, and Steve Jobs, created by artist Byron Buchanan. The hotel hosts a tribute series titled “Here’s to the Creative Ones,” honoring talented people.
Guests are a mixed bag: traveling business people taking a break from the usual chains, plus young couples looking for a handy downtown spot. Everyone looks confidently stylish, rather than cutting-edge trendy. It’s artsy without being gimmicky.
The reception staff oozed enthusiasm and were quick with recommendations for nightlife. Check-in was a breeze—there’s a feeling of bright, easygoing efficiency to the whole place. We lost our cell phone charger and the front desk was more than willing to lend us a charger for the duration of our stay at no charge.
Our standard double bed guest room was thoughtful and comfortable. Furniture is stylish, with subtle and ornate touches, a leather-backed headboard, and elegant lampshades over the nightstands. Fast Wi-Fi was also an excellent feature.
The hotel’s Loa bar is a delightful idea in a beautiful, candlelit lounge. It’s perfect spot for an aperitif before heading out to dine. Also the delights of downtown are on the doorstep, with the newly revived CBD and French Quarter all within easy walking distance.
What we loved
This is an atmospheric, evocative property with a European feel that fits New Orleans—something you don’t see too often.
The perky, professional front desk staff were nothing but welcoming.
Post up at the hotel’s Loa Bar for a captivating cocktail experience you won’t find at any other boutique hotel. Their menu draws from our region’s natural bounty and, from Sicily to Senegal, Venice to Vietnam, Haiti and Havana, it employs coastal ingredients and stories from the marvelous mosaic of humanity flavoring New Orleans in every way. The name “Loa” describes benevolent deities or divine spirits in the Voodoo faith tradition.